Understanding before Moving 81: Pawn Majorities (5)

by ChessBase
5/29/2022 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 81st instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues to talk about pawn majorities. | Photo: Pascal Simon

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We conclude this mini-series on pawn majorities with a model game that beautifully shows various strategic aspects of exploiting such a majority. Soon after the opening (a semi-Slav) in which White's e-pawn was exchanged for Black's d-pawn we see that after ...c6-c5 followed by a  later ...c5xd4 Black with ends up in a middlegame in which White gets the majority on the queenside.

That is a typical endgame advantage and it is highly curious that Black (former World Champion and endgame expert Vassily Smyslov) was eager to exchange queens. But his opponent, the former Soviet and then Dutch top player Genna Sosonko, managed to exchange queens under even more favorable conditions.

But nothing is as difficult as winning a (clearly) better position. In the diagrammed position White is clearly better but how should he proceed? Should he first 'prophylactically' play f3-f4 or can he immediately execute his main threat and play Rd2-a2?



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