King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

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King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 12:22 pm

The material on King Safety is pretty useful. The annotated games are great, and the theory pretty instructive overall.

Right now I'm reading the King Safety "Final Theory" manuscript. It is a decent enough overview of all the other theory they discussed, but they also throw in a couple of completely new sections. Right now I'm reading through the stuff on the placement of the e pawn. I find it fascinating, frustrating, and confusing. It is an avalanche of information, with tiny partial pictures, no game fragments, just a list of principles.

Has anyone else worked through that, and is it useful, has it helped? It would be nice for each structure of the e-pawns to have an annotated game. Also, why focus on the e-pawn? Why not d-pawn? Why not the entire pawn structure? Can you really tell that much just by knowing what's up with the e pawns?

Note I just started this, so may end up really liking it.


Last edited by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 1:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 12:38 pm

So, instead of talking abstractly, I'll summarize what they say about the implications for e-pawn placement.

With pawns on e4/d6 (or e5/d3)
White will try to find the best moment to advance the pawn to e5 and start the attack. When white advances, he must be careful as this gives black's Knight on f6 a strong outpost on d5. Hence, white must carefully examine the probability of success before making this advance.

This is fairly useful as a rule of thumb, but to really press it in a concrete way it would be nice to have some games, especially dependence on the rest of the pawn structure (especially the d- and f-pawns). This is what they did with the main pawn structures in front of the King.

However, this is better than nothing and provides useful things to think about. Hence, I'll provide little paraphrases for each of their bits.


Last edited by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 6:53 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 1:05 pm

And a summary of their other three cases.

Pawns on e4 and e5
a) White has no local space advantage.
b) White can use f5 for his Knight, especially if black has already pushed h6 (as then pushing g6 weakens h6). White should consider Bg5 to provoke h6 before starting such Knight maneuvers.
c) Consider the pawn pushes f4 to threaten f5 (to open the f-file for the f rook), and then even g4-g5. Sometimes it is worth keeping the Rook on f1 for a while just in case this will be possible.
White has no pawn on e-file, black has pawn on e6 (or, black has no pawn on e-file, white has pawn on e3)
a) White will try to control the e-file by putting heavy pieces there. The file can also be used to lift heavy pieces up to e3 and then go to g3 to attack they enemy King.
b) White has an outpost on e5.
c) White can put pressure on the f7/e6 pawns, and may even consider sacrificing on f7 (then the pieces aiming at e6 can come rushing through for an attack). Because of such weakness, black will often want to keep his Rook on f8 to defend the f7 pawn.
d) White's light-squared bishop is good aiming toward g8 or h7.
Pawns on e5 and e6 (or, pawns on e4 and e3)
a) The e5 pawn gives white a local space advantage.
b) White controls the f6 square, so black's Knight can't live on f6, so the h7 square is weaker. This can also be useful for sacrifices on h7 (e.g., 1 Bxh7+ Kxh7 2 Ng5+).
c) White's light-squared Bishop is well placed aimed at h7.
d) Black often has to move g6 for protection, in which case f6 becomes very weak for black.
e) White will sometimes sacrifice a piece on f6, inducing 1...gxf6 2 exf, so that he can then attack along the g file.
f) White will often lift a rook up the e-file from e1-e3 to g3 or h3 to attack.
g) Black will sometimes play f5, which has many potential consequences:
1) Leaves e6 square weak and e5 an outpost for white.
2) If white takes exf, then black often recaptures with his Knight, getting the Knight into the game, and also providing a half-open file for his f-Rook.
3) If white does not take, then black has hindered white's action on the queenside.


Last edited by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 6:55 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 1:28 pm

Nothing new I am contributing in this thread, except putting their work into words that I can understand a little better. It was very helpful for me to do this!

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Re: King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Bilbo on June 27th 2009, 4:52 pm

Nice little conversation with yourself you have going on here BDK Very Happy

I'm not that far yet but the information does sound intriguing.

I'm looking forward to getting there next month.

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Re: King's Safety Theory: e-pawn structures

Post by Blue Devil Knight on June 27th 2009, 6:56 pm

Bilbo wrote:Nice little conversation with yourself you have going on here BDK Very Happy

Smile It's a lonely existence.

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