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The Backward Pawn
The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit

Point Count Chess, NO.53A to NO.53B, p83-84
Capablanca v. Teichmann, 1913

In a variation of the Queen's Gambit, Black's c-Pawn becomes a Backward Pawn while in the process of trying to support his Pinned Nf6, and trying to clear some space to develop his hemmed-in light-Bishop (Bc8).

Black ends up trading-in his weak Backward c-Pawn, but White's play helps turn Black's d5-Pawn into a new weakness, as it becomes an Isolated Pawn.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the two positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.83, No.53A, after 7.Rc1
  2. PCC, p.83, No.53B, after 12.Qe2
  3. Result of the Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit.
  4. Summary of the Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit.
  5. PGN

The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.83, No.53A, after 7...b6

After: 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.e3 Be7 6.Nf3 O-O 7.Rc1 b6

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - Page 83
After: 7...b6

1. How Black gains a Backward Pawn in the Queen's Gambit

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 1.d4 d5 2.c4
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 1.d4 d5 2.c4
After 1.d4 d5 2.c4, we reach the position of the Queen's Gambit, played by White (2.c2-c4).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 2...e6
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 2...e6
After 2...e6, we reach a position of the Queen's Gambit Declined, played by Black (2...e7-e6), who declines the Gambit.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 3.Nc3 to 4...Nbd7
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 3.Nc3 to 4...Nbd7
After 3.Nc3 to 4...Nbd7, the Pin by White's dark-Bishop (4.Bc1-g5), has caused Black to develop his Queen Knight (4...Nb8-d7), to support the Pinned Nf6.

BUT, this has created problems for the development of Black's light-Bishop (Bc8), which plays a significant role in Black's c-Pawn becoming the Backward Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 5.e3
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 5.e3
After 5.e3, the development of White's e-Pawn (5.e2-e3), supports White's d4-Pawn (against a potential ...c7-c5 attack), while it also prepares for the development of White's light-Bishop (Bf1), which will emerge to b5, after White's c4-Pawn has gone to force an exchange of Pawns, on d5.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 5...Be7 to 6...O-O
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 5...Be7 to 6...O-O
After 5...Be7 to 6...O-O, Black prepares to Castle (5...Bf8-e7); then Castles Kingside (6...O-O).

White just develops his Knight (6.Ng1-f3), in preparation to Castle Kingside.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 7.Rc1
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 7.Rc1
After 7.Rc1, White develops his Queen Rook (7.Ra1-c1), in anticipation of the c-file becoming Open, judging by two factors:
  1. Due to the tension around the d5-square, with the potential for an exchange of Pawns onto d5. This would turn the c-file into a Half-open File.

  2. White knows Black must advance his b-Pawn (...b7-b6), to enable the development of his light-Bishop. White is aware this will turn Black's c-Pawn into a Backward Pawn.

    At some stage, Black will have to decide whether to leave it Backward, and at risk from a frontal attack (by White's Rc1); or, advance the c-Pawn into a confrontation with White's d4-Pawn. This would turn the Half-open c-file, into a fully Open File, and White's Rc1 would be left patrolling it.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53A - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 7...b6
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 7...b6
After 7...b6, Black's c-Pawn becomes a Backward Pawn, in the Queen's Gambit, after Black's b-Pawn had to be developed (7...b7-b6), to enable the development of Black's light-Bishop (...Bc8-b7).

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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p.83, No.53B, after 12.Qe2

After: 7...b6 8.cxd5 exd5 9.Bb5 Bb7 10.O-O a6 11.Ba4 Rc8 12.Qe2

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53B - Page 83
After: 12.Qe2

2. White prepares to capitalize on the Weakness of Black's Backward c-Pawn

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53B - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 8.cxd5 exd5
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 8.cxd5 exd5
After 8.cxd5 exd5, the c-file becomes Half-open, as White forces an exchange of Pawns on d5 (8.c4xd5 e6xd5).

Now, if Black brings out his c-Pawn, to attack White's d4-Pawn, the exchange of Pawns will leave Black's d5-Pawn Isolated.

But, if Black leaves his Pawn at home (on c7), not only will it remain weak (Backward), it will also Cramp Black's Queenside position.
H&M-S say: "The swap looks paradoxical, because it gives the Black queen bishop an avenue to the king-side. But 7...P-QN3 (7...b7-b6) has left the queen bishop pawn backward; by opening the queen bishop file for his rook, White obtains powerful play against it."
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53B - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 9.Bb5 and 10.O-O a6 11.Ba4
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 9.Bb5 » 10.O-O a6 11.Ba4
After 9.Bb5 » 10.O-O a6 11.Ba4, White develops his light-Bishop (9.Bf1-b5), to enable Kingside Castling (10.O-O).

When attacked by Black's a-Pawn (10...a7-a6), White's light-Bishop (11.Bb5-a4) can maintain its attack on Black's Nd7.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53B - The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 11...Rc8 12.Qe2
The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 11...Rc8 12.Qe2
After 11...Rc8 12.Qe2, when Black sends his Queen Rook behind his Backward c-Pawn (11...Ra8-c8), this is possibly the signal that he intends to advance and dispose of his weak c-Pawn.

This will ensure Black will also have a Rook on the c-file, if/when it becomes Open. It's made possible by White's Nc3, which prevents a Rook exchange.

White prepares for an exchange of Pawns, on c5, to leave Black's d5-Pawn Isolated: he gets his Queen out of the way (12.Qd1-e2), so one of his Rooks can take up position on d1 (Black will have the more-vulnerable Queen defending the d5-Pawn, versus the less-valuable, thus less-vulnerable, White Rook).


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The Result of the Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53 - (RESULT) The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 12...c5
(RESULT) The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 12...c5
After 12...c5, with the Queen Rook on the c-file, Black decides to get rid of his Backward c-Pawn, by thrusting it out to confront White's d4-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53 - (RESULT) The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 13.dxc5 Nxc5
(RESULT) The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 13.dxc5 Nxc5
After 13.dxc5 Nxc5, Pawns are exchanged on c5 (13.d4xc5 Nd7xc5), as Black's Backward c-Pawn is removed from the board.

However, while this gets rid of one weak Pawn, it has created another weak, Black Pawn: d5 is Isolated.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 53 - (RESULT) The Backward Pawn, The Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit, After 14.Rfd1
(RESULT) The Backward Pawn,
The Queen Bishop Pawn
in the Queen's Gambit,
After 14.Rfd1
After 14.Rfd1, White turns his focus to attacking Black's new weakness: his Isolated d5-Pawn, by applying more pressure to it, with his King Rook (14.Rf1-d1).

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Summary of the Queen Bishop Pawn in the Queen's Gambit...

  1. The Queen's Gambit Declined can lead to Black's c-Pawn becoming Backward. It happens due to:

    1. The decision by Black to decline the Queen's Gambit, with his e-Pawn (2...e7-e6);

    2. Due to the need for Black to defend his Pinned Nf6, with his Queen Knight (4...Nb8-d7);

    3. The need for Black to advance his b-Pawn (7...b7-b6), to get his light-Bishop developed (9...Bc8-b7).


  2. The advance of Black's b- & d-Pawns (1...d7-d5 & 7...b7-b6) turns Black's c-Pawn into a Backward Pawn.

  3. In this particular example White gives Black two Weak Pawn options:

    1. Keep the Backward c-Pawn, but cause difficulty in moving Pieces around, due to the Cramp it will create in Black's Queenside position;

    2. Get rid of the Backward c-Pawn, by exchanging Pawns at c5, but at a cost of leaving Black's d5-Pawn Isolated.

    Whichever option Black chooses, White's focus will be to build up pressure against the Weak Pawn. In this example, Black chose to dispose of his Backward c-Pawn (12...c7-c5 13.d4xc5 Nd7xc5), and White's focus went toward applying pressure against Black's Isolated d5-Pawn (14.Rf1-d1).

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PGN

[Event "PCC, p83-84 Diagram NO.53A to NO.53B"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1913"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Capablanca"]
[Black "Teichmann"]
[Result "*"]
[PlyCount "27"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 Be7 6. Nf3 O-O 7. Rc1 b6 {PCC, p83 Diagram NO.53A} 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Bb5 Bb7 10. O-O a6 11. Ba4 Rc8 12. Qe2 {PCC, p83 Diagram NO.53B} c5 13. dxc5 Nxc5 14. Rfd1 *

End.

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