GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #3:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

GW-KW, Point Count Chess,
Raw Discussion, May 24th 2011,
What I Needed Ken To Clarify,
[-] Hanging Pawns

May 24th 2011, additions to that discussion ...

Referring to Ken's May 19th comments, most of which relates to the YouTube video, " presents: The ups and downs of "Hanging Pawns" - Kasparov and Fischer examples", on that May 19th page, from 27:36 on the timeline ...

(GW, May 24th) Wait a second ... when/how does the Hanging Phalanx turn into Hanging Pawns?

Ken's Comments ...

In my view, when there is a transfer of weakness (discussed at length below).

(GW, May 24th), I see that, when Black's f-Pawn leaves its file to capture White's Knight on e6, this Pawn forms the base of a newly-formed Chain, giving support to the d5-Pawn ... but, doesn't the c5 Pawn just advance to be at the head of the Chain - that wouldn't make it Hanging, right? ...

Ken's Comments ...

The c5 pawn can't advance, Black would lose his Queen. The pawn is pinned. And because the formation is stationary, the pawns are "Hanging". "Hanging" what, is the topic below.

(GW, May 24th), That would then make the d5-Pawn "Backward", since it couldn't advance without being captured by White's e3-Pawn. But, providing Black's e6-Pawn doesn't advance, the d5-Pawn would remain protected, so not weak.

Ken's Comments ...

A pawn cannot be Backward when it is supported by another pawn. By definition, a Backward Pawn is one that is not supported by a pawn on an adjacent file.

(GW, May 24th), My (current) view would be that the e6-Pawn is the weakest, being at the back of the chain, without a friendly Pawn on the f-file to support it.

Ken's Comments ...

I agree with you.

(GW, May 24th), Ken, would you mind being kind enough to give my head a kick in the right direction, with this one?

Ken's Comments ...

I'll try to kick away.

Why I'm even thinking this way is because if you go back 3 or 4 minutes from the timeline listed above (27:36), the commentator (I can't remember his name, though I've listen to several of his videos), says several times that Fischer is transposing one weakness for another.

So, now that we have come this far, I ask myself, what are the two weaknesses according to Point Count? When the Knight on d4 takes on e6 and Black retakes, I see the change from Hanging Phalanx to Hanging Pawns. Before timeline 27:36, I see a Hanging Phalanx (two pawns side by side), a definite and countable weakness. So what does it transpose into? Well, yes, there's a backward pawn on e6 supporting d5, but the rest of the Hanging Phalanx still stands. But now one side is supported, where a move ago it wasn't.

So what is this new animal? What would H&M-S say it is? As they say in the summary (quoted in my May 18th comments) "but connection on one side does not guarantee safety of the pawn on the other side", so one pawn can be the advanced pawn of a chain, with the other pawn next to it.

Ok. So those definitions listed above clearly put this in the Hanging Pawn category. The c5-pawn is definitely under attack, as if it moves, the White Queen will take Black's Queen. A new weakness has appeared on e6 (and in some sense the weakness on d5 has been transfered to e6). Because of the transfer of the weakness, the fact that now the one of two pawns in the Hanging Phalanx (that were both weak before)is not weak any longer (I think this is where the Hanging Phalanx no longer is one, because of the transfer of the weakness), yet the transformation has produced a set of pawns that are isolated from their compadre pawns, we would have to call this new formation a Hanging Pawn structure.

So the Point shifts from a Hanging Phalanx, where both pawns are vulnerable, to Hanging Pawns, where two pawns are vulnerable, but not the same pawns as before.

So that begs the question, shouldn't the weakness on e6 be classified as a Backward Pawn? I would agree a point should be awarded for that if it is under attack. If it is not under attack, the pawn formation is still weak, but different than a Phalanx, so I'll call that weakness Hanging Pawns.

This is definitely not H&M-S clearest chapter as far as differentiating between the two. The glossary has Hanging Pawns as "a phalanx on the fourth rank, not connected on either side (I believe they mean by that, not connected to the 2nd rank on either side in a full pawn chain); Broadly, any pawn group that is under frontal attack and cannot safely be advanced" (PPC, p.336). The c5-pawn is definitely under attack in this example in the video.

The difficulty we as the reader encounter, is that H&M-S include both Hanging Pawns and Hanging Phalanx in their table on page 8, immediately after one another, so they must see a difference. The definition uses the term "Broadly" and "any pawn group" (implying that it can be more than two pawns). If we are to keep the entire list on page 8, how else would we define hanging Pawns verses Hanging Phalanx? I would be open to your interpretation, and welcome a different way of looking at it. The way I see it, while all Hanging Phalanx's are (a subset of) Hanging Pawns, not all Hanging Pawns are Hanging Phalanx's!

Thus I am disagreeing somewhat with the Commentator at the timeline above (27:36), in that he talks about them no longer being hanging pawns. He also says that d5 is now weaker (I don't see that, I see d5 as stronger because of the supporting pawn, at least temporarily).

I think it is semantics somewhat, but H&M-S are trying to put everything into its own box. You could call what is there (the 3 pawns) a "Pawn Island" (this term is used a lot elsewhere), or we could label it a "Hanging Pawn Island", but I don't think that would be any better than Hanging Pawns and Hanging Phalanx.

Forgive my ramblings here, but to me, when there is a transfer of weakness, there is a different structure. What we call both structures is up for debate, I'll admit. From my reading and thinking, I think H&M-S leans this way too. But I am willing to be proven wrong. There is only one Point at stake here, whether Hanging Pawn or Hanging Phalanx. Two Points would be too much for the position (unless the Backward Pawn is under attack, then a Point for it; basically a Point for each weakness under attack).

Hope that helps. That's how I wrap my head around this issue.

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