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Mobile Pawn Wing
A Typical Morphy Attack

Point Count Chess, NO. 47A to NO. 47C, p73-74

Remember: In order to have a Mobile Pawn Wing, you must have both of the following:

As we look at the position, below, after 8...O-O, White (Morphy) meets both criteria that gives him a Mobile Pawn Wing advantage (on the Kingside, in this case), and is now ready to advance them towards Black's position ...

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of all three positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.73, No. 47A, after 8...O-O
  2. PCC, p.74, No. 47B, after 14...h6
  3. PCC, p.74, No. 47C, after 18...Qf8
  4. End of the Mobile Pawn Wing;
  5. Result of the Mobile Pawn Wing.
  6. PGN

A Typical Morphy Attack
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.73, No. 47A, after 8...O-O

After: 1.e4 e6 2.d4 g6 3.Bd3 Bg7 4.Be3 Ne7 5.Ne2 b6 6.Nd2 Bb7 7.O-O d5 8.e5 O-O

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a - Page 73
After: 8...O-O

The diagram (above) shows the position just before White advances the first of his three Kingside Pawns that are his the Mobile Pawn Wing.

Now study the three diagrams, below, to get an understanding of why White has qualified for the advantage of a Mobile Pawn Wing ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a - Morphy Superior Development
1. Morphy (White) has
Superior Development
Diagram 1 of 3, left, shows that White meets the first of two criteria required for being able to claim the advantage of a Mobile Pawn Wing: Compare like-for-like Pieces to determine which army has the Superior Development ...

First, look at the Major Pieces and the Castled Kings. They're in identical positions, so there's no real imbalance, here, that would enable us to say that one side has been developed better.

Okay, so, now we turn our attention to the Minor Pieces ...

  • All of White's Minor Pieces cooperate well together, for the benefit of attacking the Center, while they also defend each other without having to be moved on again. This is super-efficient development!

  • Black's Minor Pieces, by comparison, are spread out and don't cover nearly as much of the Center as those of White's army. Black's Nb8 hasn't even been moved from its starting square! Meanwhile, if you look at both of Black's Bishops, they look like they candidates for being Bad Bishops.

It's clear that White has the Superior Development. But that's only one part of the analysis. To determine if White's Pawns qualify as a Mobile Pawn Wing, he must also have Control of the Center ....

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a - Morphy Control of Center
2. Morphy (White) has
Control of the Center
Diagram 2 of 3, left, shows that White meets the second of two criteria required for being able to claim the advantage of a Mobile Pawn Wing: Compare the positions of the Pawns of the Expanded Center to determine which army has Control of the Center ...

  • White's Pawns (d4,e5) have locked out the Center, in an Advanced Chain that spills over into enemy territory. It's worth noting that H&M-S consider this Chain to be virtually indestructible, as they say it "cannot be destroyed" (p74)

  • Black's Pawns (d5,e6) are in an inferior position, with the lead Pawn (d5) only attacking as far as White's 4th Rank (c4,e4), whereas White's e5-Pawn attacks Black's 3rd Rank (d6,f6).
Black doesn't have the opportunity to mount an attack against White's Center Pawns (e.g. ...c7-c5 to attack d4; or ...f7-f6 to attack e5), as it's White's turn to move.

From this short comparison, we are able to determine that White's Center Pawns have the superior position, as they combine to attack deeper into enemy territory from their static positions.

As he meets both criteria, White CAN claim to have the advantage of a Mobile Pawn Wing ...
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a - Morphy Mobile Pawn Wing Kingside
3. Morphy (White), therefore, has
a Mobile Pawn Wing (Kingside)
Diagram 3 of 3, left, shows the three Kingside Pawns that make up White's Mobile Pawn Wing.

Look at the amount of Space ahead of White's three Pawns; It's virtually identical ... I assume White could choose either set of Flank Pawns to be his Mobile Pawn Wing, but with the prospect of ripping open the Pawn Guards of Black's Castled King (on the Kingside), it makes sense to claim White's Kingside Pawns as the Mobile Pawn Wing -- they're the ones Morphy uses, in any case.

Best practice may be to advance the Wing without delay, as the Mobile Pawn Wing advantage may not last for long ... It seems like this sort of advantage could be lost if one were to delay capitalizing on it for too long -- the enemy may get sufficient time to move their troops to dent any prospects the Mobile Pawn Wing may have had.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a - 9.f2-f4
Kingside Mobile Pawn Wing
After: 9.f2-f4
As shown in the diagram (left), in the game, Morphy certainly didn't hang about, launching his f-Pawn up to f4, by playing 9.f2-f4 on his very next move.

The result is that White's f4-Pawn now defends the e5-Pawn (creates an Advanced Salient, in fact), while it also serves to Control the g5-square, taking it away from Black (who never once manages to get anything onto g5 throughout the rest of the game).

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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p.74, No. 47B, after 14...h6

After: 9.f4 f5 10.h3 Nd7 11.Kh2 c5 12.c3 c4 13.Bc2 a6 14.Nf3 h6

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47B - Page 74
After: 14...h6

The next Pawn to move, in the Mobile Pawn Wing, is White's h-Pawn (see the next diagram, below). Instead of moving the g-Pawn to g3, to reinforce the f4-Pawn (the first mover of Morphy's Mobile Pawn Wing), White's h-Pawn is shuffled just the one place forward, onto the h3-square.

Besides equalizing Control over the g4-square (against Black's f5-Pawn), playing 10.h2-h3 appears to accomplish two other things -- specific to this particular position, of course! ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47b - After 10.h2-h3
After: 10.h3 ... Two things White's
h3-Pawn appears to accomplish.
  1. White's h3-Pawn: denies Black's Nb8 (red square) the opportunity to get onto what its effectively an Outpost Station, which Black's f5-Pawn would otherwise provide;

  2. White's h3-Pawn: provides a support point for White's g-Pawn, the third Pawn in the Mobile Pawn Wing, to launch itself into attacking Black's f5-Pawn, via g2-g4, which is what Morphy did in the game (see Position #3, below).

Another key move, within this portion of the entire Mobile Pawn Wing sequence, appears to occur after White's 14th move (14.Nd2-f3). The next diagram, (below), shows White's Knight on f3 (red square), plus the response from Black (14...h7-h6), which definitely benefits White's army ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47b - 14.Nd2-f3 h7-h6
After: 14.Nf3 h6
Whether it was intentional or not, Morphy's move (14.Nd2-f3) has caused Black to further weaken the Pawn Guard in front of his Castled King.

Surely anticipating / fearing that Morphy was aiming to put his Nf3 onto the g5 Outpost Station, the reactive play of 14...h6 leaves Black's g6-Pawn vulnerable ...

Note: If Nf3 gets onto g5, then Ng5xe6 removes the Base of Black's Advanced Chain (e6,d5,c4), and is in a safe position as it attacks Black's Qd8, Rf8 & Bg7 in a Relative Knight Fork, and White "Wins the Exchange" by capturing a higher-value Piece (Black's Rook) with a lower-value Piece (White's Knight), after Black is forced to save his attacked Queen.

This could be the tactic that Black spotted, forcing him to weaken his g6-Pawn.

The key point is Morphy has given himself TWO options for attacking Black's potential Weak Pawns (e6 & g6) and unfortunately-positioned Pieces (Qd8, Rf8 & Bg7).

Anyway, following 14...h6, Black's g6-Pawn is now Weak, which makes it a genuine target to be attacked, because:

Black's g6-Pawn is arguably a Backward Pawn, and you have to credit White (Morphy) for being proactive in helping to create this Weak Pawn in Black's army.*

* My notes from Yasser Seirawan's Winning Chess Strategies book, include ideas for targeting and attacking Weak Pawns.

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Position #3, My Analysis
PCC, p.74, No. 47C, after 18...Qf8

After: 15.g4 Kh7 16.Rg1 Rg8 17.Qe1 Nc6 18.Nh4 Qf8

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47C - Page 74
After: 18...Qf8

There are a few key moves before the game reaches this third and final position (in the diagram, above) ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 15.g2-g4
After: 15.g4
Morphy launches the last of the three Kingside Pawns that make up his Mobile Pawn Wing, as seen in the diagram, (left).

In this situation, it seems critical for White to have got his g-Pawn onto the g4-square, quickly, before Black had a chance to advance his h6-Pawn down onto the h5-square, at which point White would be facing TWO Pawn threats at g4 (from f5 & h5, respectively) ...

Instead, the immediate g2-g4 ensures White's g-Pawn only has to face the reduced threat from Black's f5-Pawn, which isn't likely to attack (with 15...f5xg4) because the resulting 16.h3xg4 would give Black the weaker Pawn structure, consisting of two Pawn Islands (1: a6 to e6; 2: g6,h6), versus White's single, solid 7-Pawn island (1: a2 to g4).

In the actual game, Black doesn't capture White's g4-Pawn with his f5-Pawn, and the position moves on to the next focal point: The build-up to White's Combination against Black's vulnerable Kingside position ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 15...Kh7 to Rg8
After: 15...Kh7 16.Rg1 Rg8
After 15...Kh7 16.Rg1 Rg8, as seen in the diagram, (left), Black is throwing his available Pieces into defending his Backward g6-Pawn.

Meanwhile, White has begun to marshal more pieces into position that are key to his Combination working: White sets up the Rook (Rg1) that's involved in the Discovery Attack component of the Combination, along with the g4-Pawn, which is already in position.
I've highlighted the two adverse Rooks (yellow squares), as they're not directly attacking/defending the g6-Pawn, but they are performing a special, tactical attack ...

Both Rg1 and Rg8 are performing X-Ray Attacks through their pieces, but for different reasons:
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 17.Qe1 to 18.Nh4
After: 17.Qe1 Nc6 18.Nh4
After: 17.Qe1 Nc6 18.Nh4, as seen in the diagram, (left), White has moved the last Piece into position and is ready to unleash his Combination.

White's Nh4 is to be sacrificed in this Combination attack, and will be the first mover in the attacking sequence.

Note: H&M-S question playing 17...Ne7-c6, with Black's Knight being moved away from the mounting pressure against Black's Kingside position (PCC, p74).

Focusing on White's pieces, the Combination is a complex series of moves, unleashed in quick succession, and for it to work, it requires each component piece to be in position, first:

  1. White's g-Pawn @ g4, has to be in position (15.g4), as it's involved in the Discovery Attack with White's Rg1. After it captures Black's f5-Pawn (g4xf5), it will subsequently be in position attacking the Weak positions in the vicinity of Black's King (e6 & g6, respectively).

  2. White's Rook @ g1, has to be in position (16.Rg1) to attack the position where the g6-Pawn currently is. As soon as the g4-Pawn moves to f5, White's Rg1 will be Dis-covered and clear to attack whatever is in its path along the g-file.

  3. White's Queen @ e1, has to be in position (17.Qe1) to support White's Nh4, before the Knight is moved to h4.

  4. White's Knight @ h4, has to be sent to the h4-square (18.Nh4) to be in position to attack the vulnerable g6-Pawn.

With those four units in position, White (Morphy) is ready to strike at Black's Weak, (Backward) g6-Pawn, just as soon as Black has made his next obligatory move (18...Qd8-f8).

The two images below, laid out side-by-side, show the positions before and after White unleashes his Combination against Black's vulnerable position ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 18.Nh4
Before White's Combination
18.Nh4
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 18...Qf8 to 20...Kf7
After White's Combination
18...Qf8 19.Nxg6 Kxg6 20.gxf5+ Kf7

White's Combination claims Black's g6-Pawn -- the Weak Pawn Target, and has immediately flowed into TWO new attacks:

  1. White's f5-Pawn is attacking Black's e6-Pawn;
  2. White's Rg1 is attacking Black's Bg7 in a Relative Rook Pin, after having been Dis-covered.

Despite having to make the former Nh4 expendable for the material trade of a Pawn, it was a Sacrifice worth making to gain the post-Combination position, with Black's King exposed on the wrong side of his pieces ...

Not only that, but the resulting position of the Kf7 with his Nd7 makes them both vulnerable to an Absolute Pawn Fork, after (21.fxe6+), which is what Morphy did in the game.

And that brings us neatly onto the point when the Mobile Pawn Wing finally ceases to exist...


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The End of White's Mobile Pawn Wing...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47c - 21.fxe6+ End of Mobile Pawn Wing
The End of White's
Mobile Pawn Wing
(After: 21.fxe6+)
Finally, White's Mobile Pawn Wing is dissolved after 21.fxe6+ ...

The diagram (left) highlights the positions of White's Pawns when the Mobile Pawn Wing no longer exists (yellow squares).

The green squares just highlight where they originally were when White's three Pawns first qualified as a Mobile Pawn Wing.

But it's over; gone; it is no more.

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The Result of White's Mobile Pawn Wing...

The objective of the Mobile Pawn Wing is to convert the advantage of the mobility of the Pawns (in the Wing) into another advantage.

Let's compare positions, from when the Mobile Pawn Wing was deemed to have started, and when, as we've just seen, it ended ...

Note: There are two sets of the same images, below: one with the positions of the pieces highlighted; the other set with no highlights getting in the way (as you'd see it in the actual game).

The pieces highlighted are those that get moved during the Mobile Pawn Wing sequence (White's = green; Black's = red).

The Pawns of White's Mobile Pawn Wing are highlighted with yellow squares, throughout.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 8...O-O - Mobile Pawn Wing Starts - No Highlights
(START) Mobile Pawn Wing,
After: 8...O-O
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 8...O-O - Mobile Pawn Wing Starts
(START) Mobile Pawn Wing,
After: 8...O-O
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 21.fxe6 -  Mobile Pawn Wing Ends - No Highlights
(END) Mobile Pawn Wing,
After: 21.fxe6+
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 21.fxe6 - Mobile Pawn Wing Ends
(END) Mobile Pawn Wing,
After: 21.fxe6+

The Converted Advantage: White has converted the advantage of the Mobile Pawn Wing into the advantage of an Advanced Salient (d4,e5,f4), when it was previously just an Advanced Chain (d4,e5), as can be seen in the two diagrams, below ...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 8...O-O - White's Advanced Chain
(START) White's Advanced Chain,
After: 8...O-O
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 47a to 47c - 21.fxe6 - White's Advanced Salient
(END) White's Advanced Salient,
After: 21.fxe6+

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PGN

[Event "American Chess Congress"]
[Site "New York, New York"]
[Date "1857.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Paul Morphy"]
[Black "Alexander Beaufort Meek"]
[ECO "C00"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "60"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 g6 3. Bd3 Bg7 4. Be3 Ne7 5. Ne2 b6 6. Nd2 Bb7 7. O-O d5 8. e5 O-O {...(START) White's Mobile Pawn Wing begins ... PCC p.73 No. 47A}9. f4 f5 10. h3 Nd7 11. Kh2 c5 12. c3 c4 13. Bc2 a6 14. Nf3 h6 {PCC p.74 No. 47B}15. g4 Kh7 16. Rg1 Rg8 17. Qe1 Nc6 18. Nh4 Qf8 {PCC p.74 No. 47C}19. Nxg6 Kxg6 20. gxf5+ Kf7 21. fxe6+ {... (STOP) White's Mobile Pawn Wing ends ...} Kxe6 22. f5+ Ke7 23. Qh4+ Ke8 24. f6 Bxf6 25. exf6 Rxg1 26. Rxg1 Nxf6 27. Bg6+ Kd7 28. Bf5+ Ke8 29. Bxh6 Qh8 30. Rg7 Ng8 1-0

End.

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