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Doubled Pawns
Acceptable Doubled Pawns

Point Count Chess, NO.188, p269
Schwarz v. Tarrasch, 1932

H&M-S describe Doubled Pawns as "the least of all weaknesses."

They list two situations where it's acceptable to incur Doubled Pawns:

  1. To gain a Half-Open File
  2. To gain the Bishop Pair

This example, No.188, reveals a third situation, where Doubled Pawns may be considered acceptable:

  1. To exchange a Bad Bishop, for your opponent's Good Bishop
Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.269 No.188, after 7.Bd3
  2. Result of Acceptable Doubled Pawns.
  3. Summary of Acceptable Doubled Pawns.
  4. PGN

Acceptable Doubled Pawns
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.269 No.188, after 7.Bd3

After: 1.e3 d5 2.f4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.d4 Nf6 5.c4 c6 6.Nc3 O-O 7.Bd3

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Page 269
After: 7.Bd3

1. Black's light-Bishop becomes a Bad Bishop

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 1...d5
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 1...d5
After 1...d5, Black's d-Pawn is developed onto a light-square (d5).

It will also need Pawn support, meaning more light-squares will be occupied, which in turn can block the mobility of Black's light-Bishop, causing it to become Bad (this is what happens, over subsequent moves).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 2...g6
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 2...g6
After 2...g6, Black's g-Pawn advances (2...g7-g6) to halt further advance by White's Kingside Pawns.

This is okay for Black's light-Bishop, as it doesn't block its diagonal path toward White's territory, on the light squares.

However, Black's g6-Pawn is now in position to become Doubled on the f-file, when it completes the exchange of (what will be) Black's Bad light-Bishop, for White's Good light-Bishop.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 5...c6
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 5...c6
After 5...c6, Black's light-Bishop is arguably Bad, at this point, as Black's c-Pawn advances (5...c7-c6) to support Black's d5-Pawn.

This impacts on the mobility of White's light-Bishop, which cannot use the long diagonal (a8-h1) to attack or defend.

Sure, Black's light-Bishop can be moved to the f5-Outpost, supported by Black's g6-Pawn. However, a possible 6.h2-h3 & 7.g2-g4 would force it to flee (don't expect White's Nb1 to still be there, so Black wouldn't be able to exchange his light-Bishop, on b1).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 7.Bd3
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 7.Bd3
After 7.Bd3, White's light-Bishop seeks to further decrease the Black light-Bishop's mobility, by taking away its safe occupation of the f5-Outpost, and also the d4-square. This further increases the badness of Black's Bad Bishop.

2. Black incurs Acceptable Doubled Pawns, on the f-file

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 7...Bf5
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 7...Bf5
After 7...Bf5, Black chooses to get rid of his Bad Bishop, by the very act of sending it to occupy the f5-Outpost, despite the threat posed by White's Bd3.

Black identifies the opportunity to exchange his Bad Bishop, for White's Good Bishop (Bd3). Although, it will lead to his g-Pawn becoming Doubled on the f-file.

H&M-S speak of Tarrasch's thinking: "He (Tarrasch) considers that to exchange his Bad Bishop for White's good bishop is worth the doubled king bishop pawn."
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 8.O-O to 11.fxe5
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 8.O-O to 11.fxe5
After 8.O-O to 11.fxe5, it's telling that White has, so far, made no attempt to exchange light-Bishop, preferring instead to take-on Doubled Pawns himself, on the e-file.

White obviously sees a potential strengthening of Black's position, if he incurs Doubled Pawns, on the f-file.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 11...Nd7 12.Bxf5 gxf5
Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 11...Nd7 12.Bxf5 gxf5
After 11...Nd7 12.Bxf5 gxf5, White incurs Acceptable Doubled Pawns, on the f-file.

After Black gets his Knight to safety (11...Nf6-d7), it would appear White could no longer delay the exchange of light-Bishops, as he strikes first, the very next move (12.Bd3xf5).

As Black's g-Pawn completes the trade (12...g6xf5), it becomes Doubled, on the f-file.

Why they are acceptable, is discussed in the Result, below ...

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

The Result of Acceptable Doubled Pawns...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 12...gxf5
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 12...gxf5
After 12...gxf5, the weaknesses around Black's Kingside position (Holes at f6 & h6; potential access through the g-file, to Black's King) are offset by the strengthening of the Center, in Black's favor, due to Black's g-Pawn "capturing toward the Center."

It would appear this is the reason for White's long delay in exchanging the light-Bishops, as commented on by H&M-S:
"White evidently agreed with this estimate, for he delayed exchanging until forced to do so."

3. Black makes use of his Acceptable Doubled f-Pawns

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 13.cxd5 cxd5
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 13.cxd5 cxd5
After 13.cxd5 cxd5, White follows up the Doubling of White's f-Pawns, by exchanging Pawns, on d5 (13.c4xd5 c6xd5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 14...f6 15.Nxd5 fxe5
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 14...f6 15.Nxd5 fxe5
After 14...f6 15.Nxd5 fxe5, Black dissolves his Doubled f-Pawn structure, and temporarily incurs Doubled Pawns on the e-file.

Black's original f-Pawn is pushed forward (14...f7-f6), to attack White's e5-Pawn. White's response is to capture Black's d5-Pawn, with his remaining Knight (15.Nc3xd5). Perhaps White is trying to tempt Black into capturing the Knight (...e6xd5), as it would leave Black with two Isolated Pawns (d5 & f5).

Black ignores White's Nd5, and immediately captures White's e5-Pawn (15...f6xe5). While this dissolves his Doubled f-Pawns, it creates Doubled Pawns on the e-file (however, this turns out to be temporary, as Black gets to dissolve this Doubling, as well).

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 16.Nb4 a5 17.Na2
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 16.Nb4 a5 17.Na2
After 16.Nb4 a5 17.Na2, White's Knight is pushed around the board, by Black's Pawns.

First, it has to flee from Black's e6-Pawn (16.Nd5-b4), and then the advance of Black's a-Pawn (16...a7-a5) forces it to flee once again (17.Nb4-a2).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 17...exd4
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 17...exd4
After 17...exd4, Black dissolves his Doubled e-Pawns, with the leading e-Pawn moving across onto the d-file, as it captures White's d4-Pawn (17...e5xd4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 188 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, Acceptable Doubled Pawns, After 18.exd4 Bxd4+
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
Acceptable Doubled Pawns
After 18.exd4 Bxd4+
After 18.exd4 Bxd4+, we see the legacy of Black's Acceptable Doubled f-Pawns, as Black's former, original f-Pawn is captured by White's e-Pawn (18.e3xd4), which enables Black's first attack on White's King, with his dark-Bishop (18...Bg7xd4+).

[Jump to ChessFlash Viewer]

Summary of Acceptable Doubled Pawns...

  1. Doubled Pawns are an Acceptable consequence of exchanging your Bad Bishop, for your opponent's Good Bishop. In this game, Black's light-Bishop became a Bad Bishop. He chose to exchange his Bad light-Bishop, for White's God light-Bishop.

  2. To get rid of his Bad light-Bishop, Black posted it onto the f5-Outpost, supported by Black's g-Pawn, from g6. When it completed the trade of light-Bishops, Black's g-Pawn become Doubled on the f-file. But, it served to strengthen Black's position in the Center, which is why White delayed exchanging light-Bishops, for as long as possible.

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PGN

[Event "Munich"]
[Site ""]
[Date "1932"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Schwarz, A"]
[Black "Tarrasch, Siegbert"]
[Result "0-1"]
[NIC "VO 25.8"]
[ECO "A00"]
[PlyCount "84"]

1. e3 d5 2. f4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. d4 Nf6 5. c4 c6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. Bd3 {PCC p.269 No.188} Bf5 8. O-O e6 9. a3 Nbd7 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. fxe5 Nd7 12. Bxf5 gxf5 13. cxd5 cxd5 14. Qf3 f6 15. Nxd5 fxe5 16. Nb4 a5 17. Na2 exd4 18. exd4 Bxd4 19. Kh1 Qh4 20. Bf4 Nc5 21. Rac1 Ne4 22. g3 Qf6 23. Rc2 Rac8 24. Nc3 Bxc3 25. bxc3 Rxc3 26. Rxc3 Qxc3 27. Qxc3 Nxc3 28. Bd2 Nd5 29. Re1 Kf7 30. Bxa5 Ra8 31. Bb4 Nxb4 32. axb4 Ra4 33. Rb1 e5 34. Rb2 Ke6 35. Kg2 e4 36. Kf2 Ke5 37. h4 h5 38. b5 f4 39. Rc2 f3 40. Ke3 Ra3 41. Kf2 Rb3 42. Rc5 Kd4 0-1

End.

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