Friday, January 2, 2015


Many may find this book archaic in presenting the study of pawn structure with its quirky terms like leucopenia, telestop, ram etc. But if you take that away and understand its content, Pawn Power is a classic book on pawn structures that no budding chess-player can avoid studying.

Evidently this came about when we were discussing a game between Cyrus Nisban and Lee Jun Wei. Someone opined that the position was wrongly played by Black having a Benoni pawn structure, where White broke through the centre with the advance e5. The pawn advance is thematic (at least to those who read the book). When discussing the position further, it seemed that Lee did not realise that his c8 bishop was a hindrance and his battle plan should involve the exchange of that bishop. Again, such understanding can only be attained if one were to read books like Pawn Power in Chess. 

The study of pawns pervades not only in the opening but also into the middlegame and endgame. Of course, computer analysis may do a lot to negate the weaknesses created by pawns in odd squares by counterbalancing it with piece pressure. However, as humans do not possess such visualising power when compared to the silicon monsters, what makes sense still will be the exploitation of pawn weaknesses as performed by the masters in their collection of best games. 

I recommend that the juniors take a serious look at this wonderful classic (until someone revises it by taking away the clinical terms).


  1. Two decades ago, I read Andy Soltis, Pawn Structure Chess. Do you know how Soltis's book compares with Kmoch? I know that Kmoch is the better known.

  2. James, Soltis covers mainly pawn structures from known openings which is what Kmoch tries to do toward the end of his book by exploring the Benoni structure.So I'd say the 2 books are complementary to each other. Kmoch covers close pawn combat, while Soltis in trench warfare.