To create a weak square it has been suggested to me to force my opponent to make a pawn move: Weak and strong squares.

How do you do that? Is there a general situation to force a pawn move? Or are there several distinct situations to do that? Most of all HOW do you do it?

3 Answers 3


I can think of 4 ways of forcing a pawn forward:

  1. Threaten a pawn
  2. Provoke a pawn to move forward to protect from e.g. a check
  3. Provoke a pawn to move forward to chase away one of your pieces
  4. Create a Zugzwang (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang) that forces a pawn forward
  • I this list of suggestions a "complete" list? (PS. I like that you structure your answer in list-form!)
    – Rafiek
    Dec 15, 2013 at 7:51
  • I added Zugzwang. Now the list should be complete. Cheers.
    – user2001
    Dec 15, 2013 at 14:36
  • It's extreme, but you could also "force" a pawn to move by allowing it to capture a piece.
    – D M
    Jun 23, 2018 at 1:44

A good example of this is this link Minority Attack

Forcing the opponent to make a move has a popular German word in Chess: Zugzwang, which means move-compulsion. For a good examination of Zugzwang see Forcing Moves by IM Bryan Smith.

This area is too complex to have a general method for every situation, even if reduced to just pawn moves.

I think there are some general areas. One should understand Opposition and ideas such as such as mined squares in which one side can force the other to step into the mined square.

  • 3
    Zugzwang in chess means a position where the player in turn would rather pass his move, i.e. there is no direct threat but any move the player in turn makes will worsen his position. Forcing a pawn move by a direct threat is not zugzwang.
    – JiK
    Dec 9, 2013 at 14:27
  • The question is how to create a weak square by forcing the opponent to make a pawn move. You're references suggest any forcing move and not specifically a forcing pawn move.
    – Rafiek
    Dec 10, 2013 at 9:55
  • 1
    Of course you are right in most regards. So far I think Sunny's answer is the better as it tries to examine what is a forcing move and what are weak squares, and I think agrees with my statement that this question does not really have a specific answer for all situations. Just add my references to Sunny's as various methods to use to accomplish this goal.
    – ezaspi
    Dec 10, 2013 at 12:33

If a pawn move is absolutely forced, that usually means there's a serious threat that needs to be defended (e.g, loss of significant material, checkmate threat). Commonly, you can provoke pawn moves by piling up pressure on weak pawns, attacking the king or pinning a knight with your bishop. Basically you provoke pawn moves by creating threats; the pawn moves to defend the threat.

As for weak squares, it's only weak if you can use that square to generate new threats, or sometimes to create a defensive blockade. If not then its just a harmless hole in the position (harmless can still be useful though, sometimes your pieces just need a safe square to go to). So before trying to provoke a pawn move to weaken a square, you should also think about what you can then accomplish with that square. If you can't use it, it's not "weak".

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