Is there any easy way to know you can win a pawn just by applying pressure on the opening? So, if you guys can help me with examples of winning pawns just by applying pressure on each phase, opening, middle game and endgame, I would be very grateful. Also, when to apply pressure on the endgame?

Thanks for the attention.

Edit: Sorry for writing mistakes, it is really hard to write on the phone.

3 Answers 3


I am sorry to say that the answer is "no", there is no "easy way" to apply pressure and win a pawn in the opening, otherwise, at the top level of chess, the game would be won every time. That is what positional chess is about: You gradually improve your position until the opponent can no longer save all of the material.

A theorem of chess is that you must be better to "attack", or even to apply pressure in a specific area of the board, you have to be better in that area. Being better in a specific area of the board, or the whole board, is a result of good positional chess on your part, or bad positional chess by your opponent.

Usually, players do not start getting a good grasp of positional chess until they are about 1800 over the board (not just online).

Probably the easiest way to win pawns is to cram thousands of tactics problems, and get better at those, so when your opponent drops material, then it is easy to see it, and take it.

I am not going to get into a long explanation of positional chess since there are currently 374 other questions about it, and I know that I have discussed it at length before, but I will leave you with one link to a question I answered.

  • Of course that with perfect play It is impossible to get a pawn for free. However, it seems that even with ''more than good but not perfect'' play it is hard, but not impossible, to win a pawn. IM Silman gives a good example here: chess.com/article/view/test-your-positional-chess - PUZZLE 3; And I think I saw even on easy example of how to win a pawn in ''the middle state of the opening'' by the youtuber chessnetwork. Though in the example gived by chessnetwork one of the players played badly (not that bad). But thanks for your answer anyway!
    – Marcelo
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 14:37
  • I would say that while you have to play well, it takes outright bad play from your opponent to win a pawn in the opening, assuming it is not a purposefully-gambited pawn. Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 14:42
  • ''A theorem of chess is that you must be better to "attack", or even to apply pressure in a specific area of the board, you have to be better in that area'' books don't often let that clear enough for me (some books I read even had matches where fischer won a pawn where he was weaker with no tactics! but fischer is fischer), thanks for making it more clear!
    – Marcelo
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 14:46
  • But can you give an example of bad play like this please? Bad play that is not so obvious
    – Marcelo
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 17:12
  • In the opening, there are entire books dedicated to opening traps that would give you many examples. My favorite was an old book called "New Traps In The Chess Opening" by Al Horowitz. It is not algebraic, so be warned. A newer book, but one that I have never seen is, "Chess Openings: Traps And Zaps" by Bruce Pandolfini. amazon.com/Chess-Openings-Traps-Fireside-Library/dp/0671656902/… There is also a second volume. Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 19:45

It's possible to win a pawn in the opening, but because it is the opening (i.e. heavily analyzed), you can't do it by force. You can only do it if the other side lets you.

The Two Knight's Defense with 4. Ng5 is effectively a pawn-up opening for White, although it's not obvious. You might want to take a look.

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 {Starting position of the Two Knights} 4. Ng5 {This practically wins a pawn by force, but Black gets active counterplay in compensation.} d5 {It's this or the even more audacious and tactical 4...Bc5, giving up the f7-pawn for activity.} 5. exd5 Na5 {5...Nxd5?! is a "well-known bad move", since White gets to play 6. d4 or O-O opening the center intending a straightforward attack. 5...Nd4 and b5 are alternatives} 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 {Safe square for the Bishop while retaining freedom of mobility for the d-pawn. White could also play 8. Qf3, which wins a second pawn, but after 8...Rab8 Black has some very dangerous compensation.} h6 {Gaining time.} 9. Nf3 e4 {Gaining more time} 10. Ne5 {Black is down a pawn and has the inferior pawn structure, but is way ahead in development, and can now try 10...Qc7, 10...Qd4, 10...Bd6 or 10...Bc5 to try for an initiative before White consolidates.}
  • Could you give an example in the endgame? From a superior position, of course, but a position that it is not so obvious how to win a pawn.. And thanks for the answer!
    – Marcelo
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 14:40
  • only a pawn up with that bad variation you suggested Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 17:01
  • 1
    @edwinaoliver pretty sure this is the main line of the Two Knights. If you have a better line for either side, give it.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 19:46
  • @Marcelo are you looking for positions like the one in this question chess.stackexchange.com/questions/28194/… with Black to move?
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 19:48
  • 1
    @edwinaoliver waiting for you to say what the best line is.
    – Allure
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 20:06

You cannot apply pressure on an opening. You apply pressure on a weakness which may or may not occur in the opening.

Sorry there is no magic way to win a pawn in the opening or the other guys would already have been doing that and there would be no point to ever playing the game.

If you have an edge in position you might be able to apply pressure to win material in the middle game.

In the end it is more likely to be tactical than applying pressure.

  • Indeed, openings usually don't have much weakness. But it is possible with slight or bad play from the other side. I just gave one example above. I just want more examples.. but thanks for the answer
    – Marcelo
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 15:53
  • true. but the OP seems to thing there is some magic way to do it by force. And your example fails to the sicilian. also to better variations than N-R4 by black. Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 17:02

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