Lesson 5: a few more thoughts on Pawns.
You need to move your Pawns in order to create space for your Pieces, starting on the back row, to operate. This takes some good judgment. If you move too many Pawns too far, your defense will suffer. But if you hold too many Pawns back, you’ll cramp your own army.
Most chess games start with moving the Pawn in front of the King, creating space for your Queen and bishop to come out: e4 if White, e5 if Black. Starting with the Queen Pawn is also popular: d4 or d5. Any Pawn, of course, can be moved for your first move, but for beginners the Pawn move, e2-e4 or e7-e5, is best. Note these Pawns are taking advantage of the opportunity to move two squares instead of one.
Remember, Pawns are the only men who can never move backward, never retreat. Devote some thought to any Pawn move.
During a game, as a result of captures, you may wind up with “doubled Pawns”–for example, on e5 and e4. This creates a weakness because Pawns are only able to capture diagonally: doubled Pawns can’t defend each other. This doesn’t seem to bother experts very much, but it’s relatively easy to attack a beginner who has doubled Pawns. Try to avoid them–but don’t try too hard. If capturing an enemy Rook leaves you with a doubled Pawn, you’re coming out ahead.
Always be on the lookout for the deadly “Pawn fork,” the first tactical coup I ever learned in chess. Imagine you have a Rook on c5 and a Knight on e5, and your opponent has an unmoved Pawn on d7. If it’s his move, he can move that Pawn to d6 and simultaneously attack both your pieces, each of which is much more valuable than a Pawn. Very hard to escape without losing one or the other!
And that, I think, is enough for you to digest for now.
For the next lesson we’ll take up the topic of your chess army’s special forces–the Knights.
Stay tuned for Lesson 6!