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

The Hanging Phalanx
Point Count Chess: [-]

About This Article...

Advanced Beginners Chess Teaser pccThis article includes my notes, additional images and interactive chess positions from my study of Horowitz & Mott-Smith's book, Point Count Chess.

Point Count Chess,
Chapter 10. Hanging Pawns

Point Count Chess, Examples:
  • A Connected Phalanx Can Hang

This could get a bit confusing, since Hanging Pawns are already two Pawns in a Phalanx formation, on the fourth rank and under frontal attack.

However, H&M-S differentiate the Hanging Phalanx as the two Pawns, both of which are Backward, having to be guarded by pieces (not pawns), with neither of the two Pawns, in the Phalanx formation, being able to advance without serious disadvantage.

So, the key difference is thus:
  • Hanging Pawns:
    4th Rank Phalanx, where one of the Pawns is Backward.

  • Hanging Phalanx:
    4th Rank Phalanx, where both of the Pawns are Backward.

Diagram 1, below, reproduces the position found in PCC, page 116, NO.81, Patay v. Reti, 1923. Here, we've highlighted the two Pawns, that are said to be the Hanging Phalanx ...

Hanging Phalanx, Image 1, Advanced Beginners Chess Guide
Diagram 1: White's Connected
Hanging Phalanx (the d4 & e4 Pawns).
Remember, both Pawns are said to be 'Backward', unable to move without serious disadvantage (to White, here). Now, the disadvantage doesn't necessarily have to be to the Pawns themselves; the problem could be passed on to one of the other Pawns or Pieces, or provide the enemy (Black, in this case) an opportunity to gain a more advantageous position (such as a Strong Outpost, inside enemy territory).

In this particular position, as seen in Diagram 1, we can see immediately that, if White played d4-d5, the disadvantage would be the loss of White's dark-Bishop, without compensation. But, is that all - could it get worse, for White? Playing through the following sequence shows one possible outcome ...

What if, instead, White were to move the e-Pawn? Afterall, that would double the protection for White's dark-Bishop. So, where would the disadvantage possibly come from? Again, you can play through the following sequence, to see "dynamically," a possible outcome from White playing e4-e5 ...

So, while not realized immediately, playing e4-e5 serves to accelerate the loss of the two Pawns, in the original Hanging Phalanx formation, leaving Black's Rooks in command of the d-file which, in turn, leads to White having to resign, shortly after.

Play through the following Interactive Examples, to see how a Hanging Phalanx can occur ...

Moving On: PCC Examples, The Hanging Phalanx (Page 2).

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