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Doubled Pawns
File-Opening

Point Count Chess, NO.64, p96
Kostic v. Capablanca, 1919

This example serves as a warning to the player about to force their opponent to take on Doubled Pawns.

H&M-S say: "...you pay a certain price almost every time you double an adverse pawn -- by opening a file for your opponent."

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the position featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.96 No.64, after 6.Qb3
  2. Result of Doubled Pawns, File-Opening.
  3. Summary of Doubled Pawns, File-Opening.
  4. PGN
Additional analysis includes the:

Doubled Pawns, File-Opening
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.96 No.64, after 6.Qb3

After: 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.c3 Qb6 6.Qb3

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 64 - Page 96
After: 6.Qb3

1. The threat of Doubled Pawns, on the b-file.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 64 - Doubled Pawns, File-Opening, After 1.d4 to 6.Qb3
Doubled Pawns,
File-Opening,
After 1.d4 to 6.Qb3
After 1.d4 to 6.Qb3, there's a stand-off between the adverse Queens, on the b-file.

Neither sides wants their Queen to be the first to capture the opposing Queen, because, while it will cause their opponent to form Doubled Pawns on the b-file; it will also give their opponent the benefit of the Half-Open a-file, with their Queen Rook bearing down against the enemy Pawn, at the other end of the a-file.

2. Black gets Doubled Pawns, on the b-file

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 64 - Doubled Pawns, File-Opening, After 12.Qxb6 axb6
Doubled Pawns,
File-Opening,
After 12.Qxb6 axb6
After 12.Qxb6 axb6, White's Queen captures Black's Queen (12.Qb3xb6), forcing Black's a-Pawn to complete the trade (12...a7xb6), leaving Black with Double Pawns on the b-file.

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The Result of Doubled Pawns, File-Opening...

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 64 - (RESULT) Doubled Pawns, File-Opening, After 12.Qxb6 axb6
(RESULT) Doubled Pawns,
File-Opening,
After 12.Qxb6 axb6
After 12.Qxb6 axb6, for the cost of Doubled Pawns on the b-file, Black gets the benefit of the Half-Open a-file.

The extent of Black's situation is explored in the Comparison, below.

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Summary of Doubled Pawns, File-Opening...

  1. When an opponent incurs Doubled Pawns, they also receive the benefit of the File being opened.

  2. Caution must be exercised, when attempting to force Doubled Pawns on your opponent, as the File that's opened may be of greater value than the Doubled Pawn structure also incurred.

  3. In certain cases, the Doubled Pawns will become a weakness that can be exploited. In other cases, the opponent can benefit from the opening of the file.

  4. The key to success or failure, from inflicting a Doubled Pawn structure on your opponent, is to determine the value of the file that will be opened as a result. H&M-S say: "...many times it is negligible."

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Comparison of the Value of Files that are Opened,
as a result of Doubled Pawns....

Here, I just wanted to do a quick comparison between No.63 and No.64, to get a rough idea of when it may be okay to force Doubled Pawns on your opponent, and when not to: when the File that becomes Half-Open will be of greater value to the opponent, than the Doubled Pawns that they also incur.

In No.63 (after 6.bxc3, below-left), the Half-Open b-file appears to have little value, for White.

Black is able to defend against White's Queen Rook coming to the Half-Open b-file (Ra1-b1), in the process of developing his own Queenside forces.

For example:

Another reason the Half-Open b-file is of little value to White, is the effort it would take to build his forces for such an attack. H&M-S say: "A White rook on the file bites on granite unless White can engineer a full-scale queen-side attack -- in contravention of his natural king-side attack based on P-K4 (e2-e4)."

Note: While this focus has been on the Value of a File being Opened, it's worth the reminder that H&M-S have pointed out that White's Doubled b-Pawns do contribute towards strengthening White's influence in Center.
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, White's Doubled c-Pawns and Half-Open b-file -- Diagram 63
White's Doubled c-Pawns
and Half-Open b-file,
No.63, After 6.bxc3
Point Count Chess - IE - Comparison, Black's Doubled b-Pawns and Half-Open a-file -- Diagram 64
Black's Doubled b-Pawns
and Half-Open a-file,
No.64, After 12.axb6

In No.64 (after 12.axb6, above-right), despite having Doubled b-Pawns, the Half-Open a-file appears to be of value, to Black.

Black's Ra8 applies frontal pressure down the Half-Open a-file, against White's a2-Pawn.

Black's Ra8 also has the potential to take up posts at either a5 or a4 (supported by the leading Doubled b-Pawn, in both cases), for a positional advantage.


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PGN

[Event "Havana m"]
[Site "Havana"]
[Date "1919"]
[EventDate "1919.03.26"]
[Round "4"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Borislav Kostic"]
[Black "Jose Raul Capablanca"]
[ECO "A46"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "107"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 6. Qb3 {PCC p.96 No.64} d5 7. Nbd2 Bd7 8. Be2 cxd4 9. exd4 Bd6 10. O-O h6 11. Bh4 Nh5 12. Qxb6 axb6 13. Rfe1 g5 14. Bg3 Nxg3 15. hxg3 f6 16. g4 Kf7 17. Nh2 Na5 18. Nhf1 b5 19. a3 Nc4 20. Nxc4 bxc4 21. Ne3 Ra6 22. g3 Rb6 23. Ra2 Ra8 24. Bf3 Ra5 25. Kg2 Rab5 26. Re2 Be8 27. Rd2 Kg7 28. Bd1 Bg6 29. Ba4 Ra5 30. Bc2 Bxc2 31. Rxc2 Kg6 32. Re2 Rab5 33. Nd1 Bf8 34. Ra1 h5 35. f3 hxg4 36. fxg4 f5 37. gxf5+ exf5 38. Rc1 Rf6 39. Rcc2 Bd6 40. Re8 Kf7 41. Re1 f4 42. g4 f3+ 43. Kf2 Rh6 44. Kxf3 Rh3+ 45. Ke2 Rh2+ 46. Nf2 Bg3 47. Rf1 Rb6 48. Kf3 Bh4 49. Re2 Rf6+ 50. Ke3 b5 51. Rd2 Ke7 52. b4 cxb3 53. Nd3 Rxd2 54. Kxd2 0-1

End.

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