How to deal with lonely pawns

4/21/2008 – With his sixth Powerplay DVD, Daniel King has reached halftime in his unique Fritz Trainer series. On vol. 6 he attends to some familiar but lonely pawns, the Isolated Queen Pawn (IQP) and the Central Passed Pawn (CPP). 'Rather than guessing what you should be doing, after seeing this DVD you will know exactly what to do', Michael Jeffreys sums up. Buy it now or read his review.

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Daniel King: Power Play 6 - Pawns, Pieces & Plans

Reviewed by Michael Jeffreys

The Sixth installment of the charming British GM’s “Power Play Series” runs 5 hours and focuses on two main areas: 1. Isolated Queen Pawns (IQPs) and 2. Central Passed Pawns (and when and when not to exchange these pawns).

King starts the DVD by giving you several “test” positions to try and solve, with the first one taken from game 7 of the 2006 world championship match between Topalov and Kramnik. Daniel asks you to use the “training mode” in your Chessbase notation window so as to hide the moves that were actually played, which is definitely something you should do. He also suggests setting up the position on a real chess board, which will or will not happen depending on how motivated you are as well as how much free desktop space you have next to your computer!

Needless to say, trying to come up with the correct plan, the one that the GM chose in the game, will be a bit of a challenge before you have viewed the lessons on the DVD. However, after you have watched the DVD all the way through, solving the puzzles will be much easier as you will by then be quite familiar with the common plans and ideas.

Part I - IQPs

King begins part one by explaining exactly what an IQP is: a queen’s pawn without any friends on either side of it… oh the isolated pawn on d4 does look so lonely! (see diagram below)


King discussing the pluses and minuses of the IQP

However, King points out that the pawn has both pluses and minuses. If you are White, the pawn can prove a valuable weapon to gain space and control key squares in the middle of the board from which to launch your attack. If you are Black, then you need to know how to “neutralize” the little fella.

Daniel uses several games by the great world champion and master strategist Anatoly Karpov to show exactly how to deal with an IQP. If you are Black, your goals should be: 1) Blockade the pawn to prevent it from moving, 2) trade off all the minor pieces, 3) pile up your major pieces on it, and 4) win it!

In the above diagram, King explains how Karpov, who is playing the Black pieces, gives a textbook lesson on how to “gang-up” against an IQP. Here his victim is Korchnoi, from their 1981 World Championship Match. Daniel provides you with over a dozen video clips (mostly from Karpov games) so that you get a real appreciation for how to play these positions, regardless of what side you are on.

Part II-Central Passed Pawns

King begins the 2nd half of the DVD by showing you a position from a game between Petrosian and Korchnoi from their 1977 Candidate’s match. After taking you through several moves and explaining the key features of the position, Daniel stops and asks you to find Petrosian’s winning plan. Here is the position:


White to Move-What did Petrosian play?

The part I really like is that in the very next video clip, King goes on to show you exactly what Petrosian did to win the game. Very instructive!

The rest of the DVD includes games by King himself as well as other top GMs, such Bronstein, Alekhine, Morozevitch and even Kasparov (vs. Deep Blue!).

The Bottom Line

I don’t know how he does it, but somehow Daniel King continues to keep his “Power Play” series fresh, interesting, instructive, and entertaining (no easy task!). This sixth DVD in the series, “Pawns, Pieces and Plans” is ideal for the club player as it gives you a solid understanding of how to play with and against an IQP. Rather than guessing what you should be doing, after seeing this DVD you will know exactly what to do when playing on either side of an IQP or passed pawn. On a scale of 1-10, Power Play 6 by Daniel King gets a 9.

More Powerplay:

Powerplay 1 - Mating Patterns
Powerplay 2 - Attacking the King
Powerplay 3 - Pawn Storm
Powerplay 4 - Start Right
Powerplay 5 - Pawns


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