Sokolov Explains - Middlegame Pawn Structures GM Simon Williams

21 October 2014

Tagged: Products, Middlegame

Within this DVD the viewer will learn a great deal about middlegame pawn structures. Ivan looks at isolated pawns, symmetrical pawns and a vast array of other structures, whilst teaching us some valuable lessons. Ivan does this by first building up the position from its bare roots and then adding material, so each aspect of the position is understood.

I (Simon Williams!) learnt a lot from Ivan’s clear yet in depth knowledge of the game and we are sure that you will feel the same after watching this DVD.

In this DVD Ivan mainly concentrates on four areas relating to Pawn Structures:

The ‘Karpov’ Pawn Structure

This part of the DVD was something completely new to me, this shows that even GMs have a lot to learn!

Sokolov explains pawn structures based around the position on the left.

This position was reached in Karpov vs Georgiev, 1994. How should White respond to Black’s last move …a5?

Should White:

  1. Capture on a5?
  2. Push on with b5?
  3. Support the White b-pawn with a3?

Sokolov gives us an in-depth explanation as to what is the best approach for White. It is worth noting that this type of pawn structure often occurs from the opening moves 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5.

The Isolated Pawn

How should you play with the isolated pawn and how should you play against the isolated pawn? I found the next position especially fun.

This was reached in Beliavsky vs Illescas Cordoba, 1990. What did Black play?

Illescas, who was a world leading expert in this type of isolated queens pawn position, now played the excellent move …Re5!!! Threatening …Rh5 with a big attack.

Ivan was particularly impressed by what Ivanchuk played in the next position against Aronian. Buy the video to find the correct approach for White!

The d5 Pawn Break

Check out Ivan’s best ever game, where he won a brilliancy prize in 2003 by defeating Judit Polgar. In the following position.

Ivan now played the typical break d5!! to gain a strong attack.

Here is the whole game:

Pawn Symmetry - ‘One side is more equal than the other’

Even when things look equal, danger still lurks. Ivan shows us what to watch out for when playing symmetrical positions. One famous example he uses is from the following game:

Taken from Kasparov’s last win in his famous world championship match against Karpov. The position may look harmless but Ivan tells us why Kasparov is virtually winning.

Ivan also has a brilliant sense of humour as we can see in this next video clip…

About the Author

GM Simon Williams

Ginger GM supremo Grandmaster Simon Williams is the brains behind the Ginger GM operation.