The Backward Pawn:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 1) and the
Chess Strategies Guide (Section 2: Studying the Pawns)

The Backward Pawn
Point Count Chess: [-]

With each Backward Pawn you see, you should ask yourself:

  1. Is the formation permanent or transient?

  2. Can it be capitalized by any foreseeable process in the midgame?

  3. What are the chances that pieces can be swapped off to bring about an endgame?

So, with that in mind, we return to our Diagram 1, from above:

Backward Pawn, Image 1, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 1 (repeat): Black's Backward
b7-Pawn. Is it: Tolerable, Neutral,
Irrelevant, Strong, or Weak?
Here's what H&M-S say about this situation (page 82, paragraph two):

"The Black king cannot leave this side until the pawns have been entirely dissolved, so that the White king, unimpeded, can march to the queen-side and capture both Black pawns there. White need only time his play so that the Black king cannot get over to the queen-side soon enough to draw against the queen rook pawn."

In other words, this is a Weak Backward Pawn formation, since, regardless whose turn it is to move, White can always get across to pick off the Backward Pawn, leaving Black in an even worse situation (which, in this case, sees White promote the a-Pawn, to win the game). For example ...

The first sequence, which you can play through (below), shows how it could turn out, if it's White to move first:
... while, the second sequence, (below), shows how it could turn out, if it's Black's turn to move:

Moving On: PCC Examples, The Backward Pawn (Page 3).

Return to the Index of Disadvantages
Return to the Chess Strategies Guide,
Studying the Pawns (Weak Pawns)
← Back to the Chess Glossary (Backward Pawn)
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