What resources (books, videos, websites) are there to help me improve my understanding of pawn structures?

  • 2
    You should accept Evargalo's answer, as that book is the best source!
    – Ywapom
    Nov 27, 2018 at 20:41

4 Answers 4


The old classical book by Hans Kmoch, Pawn Power in Chess is almost entiely devoted to this subject.

It is often used as a reference because of its numerous useful examples, but also mocked for the author's tendency to over-theorize every principle and forge neologisms that have not made their way, half a century later, into common chess vocabulary.

But as long as you don't mind skipping some sophisticated words like 'leucopenia' or 'melanoarchia', it remains an excellent ressource for studying pawn structures.


Some excellent modern books on the subject are

  • Soltis, Pawn Structure Chess
  • Flores Rios, Chess Structures: A Grandmaster Guide
  • Shankland, Small Steps to Giant Improvement: Master Pawn Play in Chess

There is still good content in the books of Kmoch and Nimzowitsch, though Kmoch's shortcomings are well enumerated in Evargalo's answer and Nimzowitsch tends to lay down general rules as if they are laws without mentioning how often they have exceptions (and chess theory has come a long way since his day).


Here is a complete list of pawn structure books divided into two categories, opening, and general pawn play.

  1. "Chess Structures: A Grandmaster Guide" by GM Mauricio Flores Rios is the single best book on OPENING pawn structures currently out there, but it misses some.
  2. "Pawn Structure Chess" by GM Andy Soltis is VERY weak in the analysis, but the general ideas still hold up.
  3. "The Ideas Behind the Chess Openings, Algebraic Edition" by GM Reuben Fine
  4. "Chess Opening Essentials" by New in Chess Four Volumes cover every opening, but each one is done fairly lightly, so this is a true beginner's guide.

Here is a list of books on general pawn play.

  1. “Complete Chess Strategy” volumes 1,2 and 3 by Ludek Pachman. (This teaches about many basic plans, and what you are striving for with your pieces and pawns, especially. This made a light go off in my head, and THIS is what made me a master.)
  2. "Winning Pawn Structures" by GM Alexander Baburin
  3. "Understanding Pawn Play" in Chess by GM Drazen Marovic
  4. "Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess" by GM Drazen Marovic
  5. "Winning Chess Middlegames: An Essential Guide to Pawn Structure" by GM Ivan Sokolov
  6. "Chess Middlegame Strategies Volume 2" by GM Ivan Sokolov
  7. "The Power of Pawns: Chess Structure Fundamentals for Post-beginners" by GM Jörg Hickl
  8. "Isolani Strategy: Strengths and Weaknesses of the Isolated Queen's Pawn" by GMs Adrian Mikhalchishin, Alexander Beliavsky, Oleg Stetsko
  9. And the original book on the subject, but it uses some weird terms: "Pawn Power" by IM Hans Kmoch

"My System" and "My System In Practice" by Aron Nimzowitsch are classics with strong emphasis on pawn structures.

  • 2
    I wouldn't say My System has more emphasis on pawn structures than it has on the pin, center control, passed pawns or blockades. It surely covers the topic, but it's not specifically about it.
    – lafinur
    Feb 1, 2020 at 21:09

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