Pawn Structure Guide: Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

Beginner's Guide to
Pawn Structure (General Formations)
[Phalanx Formation]


General Formations
- Phalanx Formation -

A Phalanx formation is when two or more friendly Pawns sit alongside each other, on adjacent Files, on the same Rank.

In the video, you can see that White advances the two central Pawns into a Phalanx formation. These d- and e-file Pawns:

  1. are 'friendly' Pawns (both are from the same White army, in this case);
  2. are on 'adjacent' Files (d- and e-, rather than, say, d- and f-, or a- and d- files, which wouldn't be adjacent);
  3. are on the 'same' Rank (the 4th Rank, in this case).

The difference between a Chain and Phalanx formation is that:

  • the Phalanx is an ATTACKING formation, as the Pawns stand in line to attack whatever might get within range.

  • the Chain is a DEFENSIVE formation, as one Pawn stands diagonally behind the other, to offer protection, or at the very least will be able to avenge its pal, should it get captured.
When you see the two armies lined up at the beginning of a game, technically speaking, both armies have their Pawns in ONE BIG Phalanx formation.
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