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Hanging Pawns

Point Count Chess, NO.80A to NO.80B, p114
Zukertort v. Taubenhaus, 1887

Determining whether a 4th Rank Phalanx is Hanging or not means looking to see whether the Pawns can defend themselves by forming into a Chain.

In this example, Black incurs Hanging Pawns, on the c- & d-files.

White focuses on attacking the Black units trying to defend the respective Hanging Pawns, before capturing the least-defended of the Hanging Pawns, which leaves the remaining one as a weak Isolani.

Beneath the ChessFlash viewer, you'll find my analysis of the two positions featured in Point Count Chess:
  1. PCC, p.114, No.80A, after 12...O-O
  2. PCC, p.115, No.80B, after 22...Qd7
  3. Result of the Hanging Pawns.
  4. Summary of the Hanging Pawns.
  5. PGN

Hanging Pawns
My Analysis

Position #1, My Analysis
PCC, p.114, No.80A, after 12...O-O

After: 1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 Bd6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 b6 7.Nf3 Bb7 8.Rc1 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bb5+ Nbd7
12.O-O O-O

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80A - Page 114
After: 12...O-O

1. How Black incurs Hanging Pawns, on the c- & d-files

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5
Hanging Pawns,
After 1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5
After 1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5, White's c- & d-Pawns are formed into a Phalanx (1.c2-c4 » 2.d2-d4) on their fourth rank, while Black's d- & e-Pawns are formed into a Chain (1...e7-e6 » 2...d7-d5), that blockades White's d4-Pawn and attacks White's c4-Pawn.
I've highlighted the two Black Pawns (b7 & e6), as they're the ones that becoming Black's Hanging Pawns, on the c- & d-files, respectively.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 3.Nc3 to 5...Be7
Hanging Pawns,
After 3.Nc3 to 5...Be7
After 3.Nc3 to 5...Be7, both side continue development with dark-Bishops and a Knight each.

White's Queen Knight (3.Nb1-c3) comes out to attack Black's d5-Pawn, which is given additional protection from Black's King Knight (3...Ng8-f6).

For some reason I'm not sure of, White plays what seems to be an intermediate move (4.Bc1-f4) prior to moving to Pin Black's Nf6, after it comes under attack from Black's dark-Bishop (4...Bf8-d6 5.Bf4-g5).

White's dark-Bishop then forces Black's dark-Bishop to interpose itself between Qd8 and Nf6 (5...Bd6-e7), to dilute the effect, or strength of the Pin by White's Bg5.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 6.e3 b6
Hanging Pawns,
After 6.e3 b6
After 6.e3 b6, both sides prepare for Black to advance his c-Pawn, to c5.

White's e-Pawn develops (6.e2-e3) to support White's d4-Pawn.

Black's b-Pawn develops (6...b7-b6) to support the advance of Black's c-Pawn, to c5.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 7.Nf3 Bb7 8.Rc1
Hanging Pawns,
After 7.Nf3 Bb7 8.Rc1
After 7.Nf3 Bb7 8.Rc1, both sides continue to reinforce the Pawns at the center of the tension on the c- & d-files.

White's King Knight develops (7.Ng1-f3) to support White's d4-Pawn (it also gives support to White's Bg5).

Black's light-Bishop Fianchettoes (7...Bc8-b7) to support Black's d5-Pawn, and also to be in position to attack White's Nf3, along the a8-h1 diaonal, if/when it becomes clear.

White's Queen Rook develops (8.Ra1-c1) ready for the aftermath of the imminent Pawn exchange on the c-file.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 8...c5
Hanging Pawns,
After 8...c5
After 8...c5, Black decides it's time to send in his c-Pawn (8...c7-c5), choosing to do it now, before Castling and before completing the development of all his Minor Pieces (Black's Nb8 still hasn't been developed).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 9.dxc5 bxc5
Hanging Pawns,
After 9.dxc5 bxc5
After 9.dxc5 bxc5, Pawns are exchanged first onto the c-file, initiated by White's d4-Pawn (9.d4xc5 b6xc5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - Hanging Pawns, After 10.cxd5 exd5
Hanging Pawns,
After 10.cxd5 exd5
After 10.cxd5 exd5, Black incurs Hanging Pawns on the c- & d-files, as the Pawns are exchanged onto the d-file (10.c4xd5 e6xd5).

Note: in both cases, it was White who forced each Pawn exchange, being the one who wants Black to incur Hanging Pawns, which White can then target.

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The Result of the Hanging Pawns...

2. Determining whether a 4th Rank Phalanx is Hanging or not

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 10...exd5
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 10...exd5
After 10...exd5, H&M-S determine whether the 4th Rank Phalanx is Hanging or not ...

H&M-S ask: "Can the phalanx form a chain for self-defense?"

Answer: For this, we need to assess both Black Pawns individually ...

Verdict: Black's 4th Rank Phalanx (c5 & d5) ARE Hanging Pawns.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After After 10...exd5
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After After 10...exd5
After 10...exd5, we'll take a look at the status of Black's Hanging Pawns are in ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 1x (Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 3x (Bb7, Qd8 & Nf6).

3. White attacks the Black units defending Black's Hanging Pawns

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 11.Bb5+ Nbd7
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 11.Bb5+ Nbd7
After 11.Bb5+ Nbd7 ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 1x (Be7, *).

* the Pin removes the defence from Black's Nd7

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 2x (Bb7 & Nf6).

White's light-Bishop develops, attacking Black's exposed King, in the process (11.Bf1-b5+).

Black decides to interpose with his Queen Knight (11...Nb8-d7), to get his King out of Check. However, this puts Black's Nd7 into a Pin, and also blocks its Queen (Qd8) which cuts off support to the Hanging d5-Pawn.

At this point, White's light-Bishop (Bb5) attacks the Black Nd7, that's defending Black's Hanging c5-Pawn; while White's dark-Bishop (Bg5) attacks the Black Nf6, that's defending Black's Hanging d5-Pawn.

Both attacks reduce the effectiveness of the Black Pieces as they try to defend their respective Hanging Pawns.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 12.O-O O-O
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 12.O-O O-O
After 12.O-O O-O ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 2x (Nd7 & Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 2x (Bb7 & Nf6).
Both sides take the opportunity to Castle Kingisde. For Black, this serves to break the Pin on its Nd7, which now helps to defend Black's Hanging c5-Pawn.
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 13.Bxd7 Qxd7
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 13.Bxd7 Qxd7
After 13.Bxd7 Qxd7 ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 1x (Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 3x (Bb7, Qd7 & Nf6).
White removes one defender from Black's Hanging c5-Pawn, using his light-Bishop to force an exchange, that takes-out Black's previously Pinned Nd7 (13.Bb5xd7).

As Black's Queen completes the trade (13...Qd8xd7), she regains the ability to defend Black's Hanging d5-Pawn.

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 14.Ne5 Qf5
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 14.Ne5 Qf5
After 14.Ne5 Qf5 ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 1x (Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 2x (Bb7 & Nf6).
White removes one defender from Black's Hanging d5-Pawn (the most heavily guarded of Black's Hanging Pawns), by using his King Knight (14.Nf3-e5) to attack Black's Queen, forcing her to flee (14...Qd7-f5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 15.f4 to 17...Qc8
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 15.f4 to 17...Qc8
After 15.f4 to 17...Qc8 ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 0x;
» Defended 2x (Qc8 & Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Nc3 & Qd1);
» Defended 3x (Bb7, Rd8 & Nf6).
White's f- & g-Pawns continue to attack Black's Queen, forcing her to flee up to c8 (15.f2-f4 » 16.g2-g4 Qf5-e6 17.f4-f5 Qe6-c8), where she adds a second unit of defence to Black's Hanging c5-Pawn.

White can console himself with an Advanced Chain (f5,g4) that Cramps Black's development, at e6 & g6.

During the Pawn attack on Black's Queen, Black's King Rook (15...Rf8-d8) is sent to resume a 3-unit defence of Black's Hanging d5-Pawn.

White now directs his attack against the least-defended of Black's Hanging Pawns (c5) ...

4. White captures the least-defended of Black's Hanging Pawns

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bd6
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bd6
After 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bd6 ...
Status of Black's Hanging Pawns

Black's Hanging c5-Pawn
» Attacked 2x (Na4 & Rc1);
» Defended 2x (Qc8 & Be7).

Black's Hanging d5-Pawn
» Attacked 1x (Qd1);
» Defended 2x (Bb7, & Nf6).
White attacks Black's Hanging c5-Pawn, twice, with a single Discovered Attack (18.Nc3-a4), which finally uncovers the attack from White's Bc1, in addition to White's Na4.

Black's Queen maintains support for the Hanging c5-Pawn, but steps forward (18...Qd8-d7) to attack White's Ne5, which causes White's light-Bishop to remove its attack on Black's Nf6, to support White's Ne5 (19.Bg5-f4).

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 20.Nxc5 Bxc5
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 20.Nxc5 Bxc5
After 20.Nxc5 Bxc5, White takes-out Black's Hanging c5-Pawn, leaving Black's d5-Pawn a weak Isolani.

Black's dark-Bishop, not Queen (Qd7), completes the trade (20...Be7xc5).
Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80 - (RESULT) Hanging Pawns, After 21.Nd3 to 22...Qd7
(RESULT) Hanging Pawns,
After 21.Nd3 to 22...Qd7
After 21.Nd3 to 22...Qd7, White forces Black to sacrifice his dark-Bishop, for a lowly Pawn, with a Discovered Attack on Black's Queen. White unleashes a second Discovered Attack, from his dark-Bishop (Bf4) on Black's Queen, as his Ne5 goes to attack Black's Bc5 (21.Ne5-d3).

Black is forced to sacrifice his dark-Bishop, to save his Queen, but does take-out White's e3-Pawn, in the process (21...Bc5xe3 22.Bf4xe3).

Black then moves his Queen onto the d-file (22...Qc7-d7), into a Battery formation with the Rd8, to support Black's former Hanging d5-Pawn, which is now a weak Isolated Pawn.

From here, White continues to attack those Black units trying to defend the Isolated d5-Pawn. White swaps Pieces (including both Rooks) to Simplify the position, while his Queen continues to maintain pressure against Black's Isolated d5-Pawn.


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Position #2, My Analysis
PCC, p.115, No.80B, after 22...Qd7

After: 13.Bxd7 Qxd7 14.Ne5 Qf5 15.f4 Rfd8 16.g4 Qe6 17.f5 Qc8 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bf4 Bd6 20.Nxc5 Bxc5 21.Nd3 Bxe3%2B 22.Bxe3 Qd7

Point Count Chess - IE - Diagram 80B - Page 115
After: 1.x

H&M-S say: "White has won the queen bishop pawn in return for his king pawn." and "The Black weakness persists in the form of a weak isolani."


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Summary of the Hanging Pawns...

  1. Black incurs Hanging Pawns, on the c- & d-files. White's c- & d-Pawns are formed into a Phalanx (1.c2-c4 » 2.d2-d4) on their fourth rank, while Black's d- & e-Pawns are formed into a Chain (1...e7-e6 » 2...d7-d5), that blockades White's d4-Pawn and attacks White's c4-Pawn. After 6.e2-e3 b7-b6, both sides prepare for Black to advance his c-Pawn, to c5. Black decides to send in his c-Pawn (8...c7-c5), choosing to do it before Castling and before completing the development of all his Minor Pieces (Black's Nb8 still hasn't been developed). Pawns are exchanged first onto the c-file, initiated by White's d4-Pawn (9.d4xc5 b6xc5). Black incurs Hanging Pawns on the c- & d-files, as the Pawns are exchanged onto the d-file (10.c4xd5 e6xd5).

  2. Determining whether a 4th Rank Phalanx is Hanging or not means looking to see whether the Pawns can defend themselves by forming into a Chain. If advancing either Pawn will see it captured without any gain (other than an even Pawn exchange), they are Hanging Pawns. Be aware also, if either of the two Pawns is liable to leave its side somehow disadvantaged (e.g. with a Bad Bishop, etc.) and/or give some advantage to the enemy (e.g. access to a valuable Outpost, etc.), then it's likely that Pawn CANNOT be formed into a Chain for self-defence.

  3. White attacks the Black units defending Black's Hanging Pawns. In this game, White's light-Bishop (Bb5) attacks the Black Nd7, that's defending Black's Hanging c5-Pawn; while White's dark-Bishop (Bg5) attacks the Black Nf6, that's defending Black's Hanging d5-Pawn. Both attacks reduce the effectiveness of the Black Pieces as they try to defend their respective Hanging Pawns.

  4. White captures the least-defended of Black's Hanging Pawns. In this game, Black's c5-Pawn is the least-defended of the Hanging Pawns, and White sets up a Discovered Attack, involving Queen Knight (Nc3-a4) and Queen Rook (Rc1). It's White's Na4 that captures Black's Hanging c5-Pawn, to leave Black's Hanging d5-Pawn as a weak Isolani.

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PGN

[Event "05.DSB-Kongress"]
[Site "07.29 R16 GER Frankfurt"]
[Date "1887.??.??"]
[EventDate "?"]
[Round "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Johannes Zukertort"]
[Black "Jean Taubenhaus"]
[ECO "D53"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "87"]

1.c4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bf4 Bd6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 b6 7.Nf3 Bb7 8.Rc1 c5 9.dxc5 bxc5 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Bb5+ Nbd7 12.O-O O-O {PCC p.114 No.80A} 13.Bxd7 Qxd7 14.Ne5 Qf5 15.f4 Rfd8 16.g4 Qe6 17.f5 Qc8 18.Na4 Qc7 19.Bf4 Bd6 20.Nxc5 Bxc5 21.Nd3 Bxe3+ 22.Bxe3 Qd7 {PCC p.115 No.80B} 23.Nc5 Qe7 24.Bg5 Bc6 25.Qd4 Re8 26.Nd3 Rac8 27.Rfe1 Qd6 28.Bxf6 Rxe1+ 29.Rxe1 gxf6 30.Nf4 Rb8 31.a3 Re8 32.Rxe8+ Bxe8 33.Nh5 Kf8 34.Nxf6 h6 35.Nxd5 f6 36.Qxf6+ Qxf6 37.Nxf6 Bf7 38.Kf2 Ke7 39.Ne4 Bd5 40.Ke3 a5 41.Kd4 Bb3 42.h4 Bd1 43.g5 Bg4 44.Ke5 1-0

End.

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