These Pawn Structures must be mastered

Let’s learn the pawn structure in an easy way. There are two types of pawn structure, one is a good pawn structure and 2nd one is a bad pawn structure.

Here are details of good and bad pawn structures.

Good Pawn Structures

  1. Connected Pawns
  2. Passed Pawn
  3. Pawn Chains

Bad Pawn Structures

  1. Backward pawn
  2. Isolated pawn
  3. Doubled pawn

Let’s dig out deeply, so you can understand all type of pawn structures.

Connected Pawns

What are connected pawns? and how to get benefit from connected pawns. One of the main features of connected pawns is that they protect each other. Here are some examples of connected pawns. These examples will illustrate how connected pawns work together.

connected pawns in chess

If you advance one of the pawns then another pawn will not have any support for that, that’s why you must not advance your pawns in the opening because they will become weak and object of the attack.

One more point is that connected pawns in the middlegame will give you more space on the board and it can help you to launch a pawn storm on the king.

Passed pawn

The passed pawn structure is the only structure which can give you a clear win. So please read this section very carefully. There are two types of passed pawn, one is a single passed pawn and other is protected passed pawn. Both are enough to win but protected passed pawn is more powerful. Here is an example of a passed pawn.

passed pawn


There are some points to remember about passed pawns.

  1. You should look about your passed pawn and if your opponent has a pawn in front of your pawn, then have to think how to remove this pawn in order to create your passed pawn. You can remove your opponent’s passed pawn by sacrificing your pawn or pawns even a piece. Grandmasters are really good at this topic.
  2. You can create a passed pawn if you have pawn majority. And if you have pawn majority then you must advance your pawns in order to create a passed pawn.
  3. How to block passed pawn? If your opponent has a passed pawn, then first you should block that pawn and then attack it and win. The best blockad piece is the knight.
  4. In the last, you should keep an eye on passed pawn as Nimzowitch said: A passed pawn is a criminal which should be kept under lock and key.


Pawn Chains

Several pawns supporting each other diagonally is called pawn chain. Let’s see a picture so you can understand pawn chains.

pawn chains
pawn chains


Here are some points to remember in order to understand pawn chains.

If you have the pain chain then you should protect your pawn chain. As we see in above example, black is attacking at the base of white’s pawn chain and white is attacking on black’s pawn chain. If black attacks first and creates a passed pawn, then black will have a winning advantage.

If we dig more in pawn chains, There are two types of pawn chains. 1 is fixed pawn chain and 2nd is mobile pawn chain. Let’s see an example:

mobile pawn chain
mobile pawn chain


In the first picture, you can see the fixed pawn chain, and in the above picture, you can see a mobile pawn chain. As you see the position, your pawns can go forward and it’s not fixed. This type of pawn chain helps pawn for promotion even at the cost of a piece as you saw in above.

Here is an example which illustrates the pawn chain.

Game: Schmidt vs Andersen

I hope you learned what I wanted to explain about pawn chains. Let’s move to our next subject which is called bad pawn structures.


Backward pawn

The simple definition of backward pawn is A pawn that can not advance and blocked by other pawns. Here is an example of backward pawns.

backward pawn
backward pawn
backward pawns 2
backward pawns 2


In short,  you must take care of these types of pawn structures, and after reading this post you will know which type of pawn structure is good for your and which type of pawn structure is bad for your opponent. So if your opponent has a backward pawn structure then you should attack at backward pawn. The other thing is you can place your piece into this whole like above position, if you place a knight there you will have a good outpost. (For outpost guide: ⇒ ).


Isolated pawn

The simple definition of isolated pawn is the pawn which is not supported by another pawn. Here is an example of an isolated pawn. In this example, you can see that both sides have isolated pawns.

isolated pawns
isolated pawns

If you can find isolated pawns in your games and place a piece in front of the isolated pawn, your piece can not be touched by your opponent’s pawn. That is the biggest advantage of playing against isolated pawns. one more thing to note is that isolated pawns are very weak and they need support from their pieces. And the player with isolated pawns will restrict his own pieces in order to protect isolated pawns, otherwise, the pawns will be lost.

Here is one superb game that illustrates how to play against an isolated pawn.



I hope you learned these six types of pawn structures by heart. In conclusion,  please read this article twice in order to understand all pawn structures, and in your next game, you will be having an eye on your opponent’s pawn structure. :). Good luck.

Helpful links regarding endgames and pawns:

Improve your Pawn Endgame

How to Create outpost in Chess ?

Isolated Pawn

Rook and Four Pawns against Rook and Three Pawns

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