1. e4 e5
  2. d3

At this point, if d3 advances, say at 3. d4 it does not control d4, it is controlled by a sentry (an enemy pawn controlling d4) and is adjacent and behind a same colored pawn at e4.

Is the d3 pawn backwards? I was told no, because it is supported by c2, but Wikpedia's definition of a backwards pawn doesn't care about a backward's pawn's support, only the support it has moving forward.

Thank you.

1 Answer 1


The pawn on d3 is not backwards since (as you say) it is protected by another pawn.

There must be something missing from Wikipedia's definition. Later on the article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_pawn) contradicts itself.

Also, the opponent can place a piece, usually a knight, on the hole in front of the pawn without any risk of a pawn driving it away.

In your example, if black puts a knight on d4, the pawn move c3will drive it away.

  • Thanks, I had suspected this was true (that a backwards pawn also has to be unprotected itself) and felt there was something I was missing from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backward_pawn
    – david
    Oct 14, 2013 at 11:52
  • Could someone make an edit to Wikipedia's entry? In versions in other languages it is mentioned that neighboring pawns are further advanced. Oct 14, 2013 at 12:01
  • I quickly made an edit to add in the word "Unsupported" a backward pawn is an unsupported pawn that is behind a pawn of the same color on an adjacent file and that cannot be advanced without loss of material, usually the backward pawn itself. But now i wonder if a backwards pawn must also have the ability to advance regardless of who controls its stop square.
    – david
    Oct 14, 2013 at 12:24

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