Backward Pawn

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Home * Evaluation * Pawn Structure * Backward Pawn

Behindhand Pawn [1]

A backward pawn is a pawn no longer defensible by own pawns and whose stop square lacks pawn protection but is controlled by a sentry. Thus, don't considering piece tactics, the backward pawn is not able to push forward without being lost, even establishing an opponent passer. If two opposing pawns on adjacent files in knight distance are mutually backward, the more advanced is not considered backward.


A backward pawn is worse, or even a real Straggler, if on a half-open file as suitable target of opponent rooks. As pointed out by Sam Hamilton [2], considering stop squares might be insufficient for pawns which may actually push, but have a permanent weakened telestop. On the other hand, such a backward prospective pawn has a vital tempo, which is often decisive in certain pawn endings.

See also


  • Hans Kmoch (1959, 1990). Pawn Power in Chess. New York: Dover, 1990. Previous ed.: New York: McKay, 1959. ISBN 0-486-26486-6

Forum Posts


Re: Detecting backward pawns by Edward Screven, CCC, June 17, 1999

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