Here, it is said that after 1.Re7 Rb8 2.Kd3 a6, white plays b4 to fix the enemy pawns. But I don't understand: how does it fix pawns? How is b3 any different? What does it mean to fix enemy pawns?

  • 3
    You should make clear in the question that your question is about the position after 1.Re7 Rb8 2.Kd3 a6, as that a6 move changes the pawn structure a lot. Nov 5 '20 at 12:52
  • No one seems to have mentioned that "to fix" in English has at least two different meanings: to repair, or ,to lock in place (like a fixed gear bicycle). It's probably the second meaning here. (Can also mean things like "to prepare" as in "to fix a meal"). Jul 16 '21 at 0:57

It definitely prevents Black from playing ...c5, at least temporarely. I wouldn't say Black pawns are "fixed" though. Anyway, isn't Re7 a much stronger move?

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    It’s 3.b4, not 1.b4. Nov 5 '20 at 22:01
  • Isn't Re6 better? It seems to get either the b or g pawns for sure. Nov 5 '20 at 22:34
  • @MartinArgerami 1.Re6 Kf7! 2.Rd6 and now Black can choose between 2....Rb8 or soem crazy rook-ending counterplay with 2..Rf8
    – David
    Nov 6 '20 at 7:11
  • Of course. For some reason I was thinking Kg7 instead of f7. Nov 6 '20 at 7:16
  1. b4 is just weak here.

Instead 1. Re7 (get your rooks on the 7th rank!) almost wins on spot. One can then try 2. b4 according to what black plays.

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    The question has 1Re7. b4 is only played on the third move. Nov 5 '20 at 21:10
  1. b4 fixes the black pawns a to c, because they cannot advance without support.

In the original position, 1. b4 would not fix the pawns. Black could play ...b6 followed by ...c5 at the right moment. After 2. ...a6, ...b6 is not possible anymore without support. And without ...b6, ...c5 is not possible. So the black pawns need support by their King or Rook to advance. They are fixed.

I know the term „fixed pawn“ only in situations where the pawn cannot advance even with support. P.e. w a5, b4, c5, b a6, b7, c6 the pawns are fixed. It is obvious for the a and c pawns. If the b-pawn advances, it will be captured, and any recapture by a rook (a recapture by the king is obviously illegal) will result in serious material loss.


It does not fix the pawns directly. As black pawns can still move without being captured. But it ensures that black cannot force a passed pawn even if they sacrificed one pawn to do it.

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