Does there exist a theory of pawn breaks?
Of course, there exists a theory of static pawn structure and good bishops; but I was thinking of rooks rather than bishops, and of aggressive pawns that open files rather than positional pawns that control squares.
Are rules or principles taught that guide the chess student in placing rooks early, choosing the right pawn to push, and otherwise preparing pawn breaks?
Details follow, if helpful.
The question of pawn breaks seems to torment me whenever I have the black chessmen and my opponent opens 1. d4. Opportunities seem to arise for my black pawns to force files open in such games, but when should one exercise the opportunity? Under what conditions is a pawn break likely to help? When is it unwise? Is a standard tactic known to punish my opponent by advancing my knight during a thwarted break? If either of two, connected pawns can lead the break, which should lead? What position should the rook take before the break? Which rook?
When no pawn break is advisable, what should one do with one's rooks? What should one do, period? What kind of play is possible without open files, anyway? Pawn-storm play on the wing? But, if so, then how does one prepare the pawn storm? -- or, in other words, we are back to the original question regarding pawn breaks, except that this time my pawn structure is trashed before I even ask the question. The pawn storm (done not because it's a wise plan but because I cannot think of any other plan) leaves me an out-of-position king and a losing endgame. I don't get it.
So, there are a dozen or so ways of asking more or less the same question: I have the black chessmen, you open 1. d4 and start to build a pawn center, I thrust a pawn in to break up your center -- yet, early or late, whether backed by a rook or not, whichever pawn I choose to thrust in, it always seems to be the wrong pawn. Why?
Leaving aside the question of wing play to skirt a closed center, a big trouble my central pawn breaks are repeatedly causing me is that, when I push the pawn, it tends to leave you not me the choice of which of the two files in question to open -- or the choice of locking pawns, opening no file at all. If you are a strong opponent, then you choose well for yourself and ill for me. Thus, my pawn breaks usually do not work.
HOW SUCH GAMES CONFUSE ME
Moreover, such closed games broadly confuse me, because tempo seems less important in such games. Using scarce tempos wisely is a relative strong point of my game; so, when tempos are not scarce, I don't really know what to do with the extra time. Shuffling rooks around aimlessly does not seem to help much.
REQUEST FOR ADVICE RE PAWN BREAKS
If you want an easy game, open 1. d4 against me, present a pawn center, and watch my play degenerate into purposeless futility. I do not understand how to play these games, I keep losing them, and I should very much like to learn why.
(If relevant, I am officially unrated, put play at about USCF Class C, or FIDE Elo 1500.)