The Passed Pawn & Bishop Pair - Efstratios Grivas (2 Books)

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The Passed Pawn: Power of the Passer by Efstratios Grivas

Why is a passed pawn usually considered a great asset? By definition, a pawn is passed when it can advance to promotion without encountering any opposing pawns in its path. Possession of a passed pawn and the ability to exploit its potential is a strategic element that can often determine the result of the game. A passed pawn is sometimes colloquially called a passer.

The passed pawn may prove significant in the middlegame, gaining space and tying down the opponent's pieces, but its true strength comes to the fore in the endgame. In practically all types of endgames, possession of a passed pawn is considered a decisive advantage, particularly when the remaining material is scant. Even if it proves impossible to promote the pawn, its mere presence is enough to restrict the enemy pieces, force material gain or simply maintain the initiative. Consequently, this strategic element greatly influences ' and is influenced by ' the matter of piece exchanges.

A passed pawn must be blockaded, so as to have its power restrained as much as possible. The minor pieces (knight or bishop) are ideal for this purpose, as they can rarely be forced to retreat by enemy action. On the other hand, the major pieces (queen and rook) find it difficult to achieve a stable blockade as is easy to harass them, while one must also consider that, for such valuable pieces, dealing with a mere pawn cannot be an efficient form of employment. Taking the above into account, it becomes clear that the side with the passed pawn should seek to exchange minor pieces and retain the major ones; the opposite applies to the defending side.

A factor of crucial importance is the ability of the defending king (i.e., the one facing the passed pawn) to participate in the proceedings. After exchanging the major pieces (and especially the queens), the king can approach the passed pawn and blockade it (or generally stop its advance), thus freeing the other pieces of its army for other duties. A passed pawn that has been securely blockaded and efficiently neutralized may become a weakness and then this very important element may even lead to the loss of the game.

In general, the side possessing a passed pawn has clearer plans and aims. The other side usually seeks ways to blockade it or, if this proves impossible, obtain counterplay on another part of the board. One good option is harassment of the opponent's king. In practice this option often proves very effective, but unfortunately it is not always available! The most fundamental rule of exploiting this strategic element is: passed pawns must be pushed!

ISBN 9789464201505, Paperback, 240 pages, Thinkers Publishing

Teaser [PDF] ' The Passed Pawn ' Power of the Passer


The Bishop Pair: Power of the Sun
by GM Efstratios Grivas

Endgame theory teaches us two fundamental issues: First, how to extract the maximum from a basic theoretical position with little material, where the experts (from practice comprising thousands of games) have reached definite conclusions. Second, the way in which we can handle an endgame, depending on the material remaining on the board, and the ideas and plans we should employ.

This second issue is significantly more difficult to master because, apart from making full use of the first one (we must be aware of the possible outcomes of the endgame in question) it is greatly influenced by our experience and understanding, which are basically derived from the images and impressions we have from related positions. A primary role is played here by the effort we have invested in studying.

In middlegame theory, things are even tougher. We are obliged to study various types of positions with specific strategic and tactical attributes, so as to understand the underlying ideas and be able to employ them ourselves in similar situations. While many chess players have studied these topics and acquired knowledge, it is the application of this knowledge in practice that helps differentiate between them. Chess is not a simple game.

The purpose of this series is to introduce the reader to advanced training concepts, using the same methods of presentation and instruction that were taught to great players by famous trainers that they have worked with. The series will start with the topic of 'the Bishop Pair' and we will examine how to handle this 'power of the sun' coupling.

ISBN: 9789464201499, Paperback, 248 pages, Thinkers Publishing

Teaser [PDF] ' The Bishop Pair ' Power of the Sun

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