GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #4:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

GW-KW, Point Count Chess,
Raw Discussion, May 25th 2011,
What I Needed Ken To Clarify,
[-] Hanging Pawns

May 25th 2011, additions to that discussion ...

Following on from the final paragraph of Ken's comments, May 24th ...

(KW, May 24th) ... 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.

... and, referring to that Video, "The ups and downs of Hanging Pawns", which Ken and I discussed on May 24th ...

(GW, May 25th) In the video @ 27:38, those two Pawns are in Phalanx formation AND are Hanging (so, it should make sense to refer to them as a Hanging Phalanx) ... yet, the guy in the video refers to ALL Hanging situations as Hanging Pawns - no mention of the Hanging Phalanx whatsoever.

Ken's Comments ...

Phalanx seems to be an older term, although it does, as you mention below, help to differentiate between it and chain. Today, everything seems to have blurred into all Hanging Pawns.

(GW, May 25th) On timeline 25:42, the guy in the video declares that's when "we get the proper Hanging Pawns" ... they're in Phalanx formation, but both are declared as Hanging. So, one might assume that the modern chess player isn't aware of, or doesn't bother to define two friendly Pawns, side-by-side, as in Phalanx formation.

Personally, since reading H&M-S's book, I appreciate knowing the difference between a Phalanx and a Chain (with the former being an attacking formation; the latter being a defensive formation - well, that's how H&M-S differentiate between the two). As you pointed out, H&M-S must have thought it necessary to define the Phalanx and Chain formations, else why bother to list them together in their Point Count table.

Taking another look at the position @ timeline 25:42 if the d5 Pawn weren't there, the c5 Pawn would be Isolated, but would it also be declared as a Hanging Pawn, since it wouldn't have a friendly Pawn on either adjacent files and it's currently under frontal attack from the c1-Rook (and also from Black's Queen, in front, along the diagonal).

However, if the c5-Pawn weren't there, the d5-Pawn would currently just be an Isolated Pawn, but it would NOT be a Hanging Pawn, since it's not being attack by anything, let alone a frontal attack. The d5 Pawn would only become a Hanging Pawn, by definition, if for example White's c1-Rook moved to d1 (as it would then be attacking the solitary d5-Pawn from the front.

Ken's Comments ...

If it (d5) were just a single pawn, it would be an Isolated Pawn, by its definition (PCC, p.336).

(GW, May 25th) Those last two paragraphs, if correct, would help define a Hanging Pawn (singular). Whereas, the position seen @ timeline 25:42 - since the Pawns are in Phalanx formation - would surely have H&M-S declaring a Hanging Phalanx situation. I think it might be more efficient all-round to state that "they're Hanging Pawns, in a Phalanx formation" - then you get the best of both observations. And, if there were two Hanging Pawns, they'd just be Hanging Pawns (plural), but no mention of the Phalanx ...

... and, if there's just one Pawn, with no friendly Pawn on an adjacent file AND it's currently under attack from the front, then it would be a Hanging Pawn (singular). Have I made sense (or, better still, can you cobble it into making sense - proving the essence of what I've said is correct?

Ken's Comments ...

Again, a single pawn is an Isolated pawn. It would be countable as such if it is under immediate attack, or if it takes a number of pieces to defend. My comments on May 24 above about timeline 27:36 were about 3 pawns in a formation. On the bottom of page 115, referring to No. 81, H&M-S refer to a similar situation as at the timeline 27:36 as a Hanging Phalanx.

One last comment, rereading the chapter on Hanging Pawns, the only other formation discussed is in No.'s 84a,b,c. On p. 120, paragraph 2, he says, "White's pawns hang." This formation, which is the backwards (inverse) version of timeline 27:36, is the only time I can find where he refers to a formation other than a phalanx as "Hanging Pawns", although there is a phalanx, and they are on the 4th rank.

This appears to be a Hanging Pawn formation, so I am still wondering about its inverse on timeline 27:36. If one way is hanging, shouldn't the other way be as well? I don't think we will ever get a definitive answer to this question. It is just how do we want to count? Hanging Pawns are the same as Hanging Phalanx, or separate, as 27:36 and No.'s 84a,b,c being Hanging Pawns? Now that we have discussed this in depth, what's your verdict?

On page 118 (PCC), we have something regarding Center Control (under Shaky Center Pawns) to help us get into the next phase. "So long as the opponent has center or wing pawns 'yet to be heard from,' the center control remains in abeyance".

(GW, May 25th) One more query ... @ timeline 25:38, Black's a6-Pawn (a) doesn't have any friendly Pawns on the adjacent b-file and (b) is being attacked frontally by Black's Queen: Isolated Pawn or Hanging Pawn?

Ken's Comments ...

Good question. It is an Isolated pawn under attack, and it is Hanging because it can be guarded by pieces only. As H&M-S only talk about Hanging PawnS (not singular), I think the point would have to go to the Isolated pawn. In this situation, as it is White's turn, if Bxa5 Nxa5, White would not retake with the Queen for at least two reasons:
  1. retaking with the Queen (Qxa5) would lose the Queen to Rxa5; and
  2. it would release the pin on c5.
Besides this, taking a pawn with a good Bishop, only to be retaken with a Knight would be poor, even if White could retake with another piece. Black cannot capture the Bishop, as Qxa8 loses the Rook and wins the exchange. Black would have 3 pawns Hanging (Phalanxing?) to boot. While the pawn is under attack by Queen and Bishop, it is perfectly safe, but does tie up the Black QR and QN, so it is a Point (Summary, p. 113, paragraph 1).

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