I am not a very strong positional player and I thought I could work on my pawn theory a bit. Are there common exercises or internet resources I could look into for how to play better pawn structures as well as make better pawn breaks?
Pawn Structure Chess by Andrew Soltis is a good book for start.
It teaches you how to play as Black and White in the following positions:
- French defense-Advance variation
- Caro-Kann pawn structure-including Panov attack
- Slav defense
- Open Sicilian defense and English opening
- Closed Sicilian defense and English opening
- King's Indian defense
- Dutch "Stonewall"
To this day I was not able to find a better book written for this topic-it is clearly written and covers most of the important pawn structures.
I would highly appreciate if other members can point out some other good books for this topic.
Give it a chance-I am 100% certain that you will not regret it.
Two other great books include
While these books are fantastic places to read about pawn play, they are hard to read if you're just getting started with pawn structures / strategy (where you usually will get overloaded with a ton of information without the kind of context that experienced players have to make sense of all the wonderful things that are said!)
So you might want to get your feet wet with NM Dan Heisman's famous Novice Nook articles which include some very easy-to-read instructional pieces on pawn breaks / weaknesses and more importantly, how weak players misuse their pawns.
Some key articles in this assortment include:
- A Positional Primer
- Break Moves : Opening Lines to increase mobility
- Strategy based on Central Pawn Structure
For added fun, grab a friend and practice Michael Goeller's Pawn Battle mini-game. It teaches you some fairly rudimentary ideas about pawn breaks, breakthrough sacrifices and zugzwang.
Another worthy pay-for resource are chess.com's chess mentor lessons and videos by some excellent GMs/FMs/IMs (especially IM Danny Rensch whose lectures on different pawn structures are very thorough and entertaining)
over 2 years too late to the party, but Axel Smith's 'Pump Up Your Rating' has a wonderful section dedicated to pawn levers. Such a great book!