What should the plan be for both sides in the Double Isolated Queen Pawn formation, such as the one arising from:

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1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 e6 4.e4 Bb4 5.exd5 exd5 6.cxd5 cxd5

E.G. - should each side focus on attacking the other's isolated pawn? Defending their own pawn? Ignoring the isolated pawns & playing in the open files? Does it depend on the position?

Thanks in Advance!


It will depend on the placement of perhaps mainly the light pieces and the queens. Attacking the enemy d-pawn is definitely an option. Over-protecting your own d-pawn is also an option. Placing a knight on the (for white) e5-forepost is an option.

In general, it is a good idea to have a knight that is ready to grab the enemy d-pawn when given a chance. The reason is because the enemy will try to build pressure on your d-pawn by placing the queen (as black) on b6 or f6. Then, as white, you are ready for e.g. Nc3xd5 hitting the queen.

You can consider placing a bishop (as white) on the h1-a8 diagonal to pressure the enemy d-pawn. Note that when you play Nf3-e5, you lose a defender of your d4-pawn and black can build up on d4.

With the heavy pieces, you should probably invade on the c-file (since the enemy has castled kingside and the c-file is further away from the enemy king than the e-file). You can try to use the c5-forepost to weaken the enemy queenside and invade with a rook on c7 or c6 (also push b2-b4-b5). Then, later, you can place a knight on c6 (given that black has done b7-b6 and made c6 weak).


If you take a look at this beautiful demolition job Carlsen-Smeets,Wijk aan Zee, 2009, you'll notice a few things:

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1
1.c4 c6 2.e4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.cxd5 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nxd5 6.Nf3 Nc6
7.Bb5 e6 8.O-O Be7 9.d4 O-O 10.Re1 Bd7 11.Bd3 Rc8 12.Nxd5 exd5
13.Ne5 Bf6 14.Bf4 g6 15.Qb3 Na5 16.Qb4 Be6 17.Bh6 Bg7 18.Bxg7
Kxg7 19.h4 Re8 20.h5 f6 21.Nf3 b6 22.Bb5 Re7 23.Re2 Rcc7
24.Rae1 Kf7 25.Qd2 Qf8 26.Qf4 Bf5 27.g4 Bc8 28.b4 Nb7 29.Bc6
  • Carlsen gets a knight to e5 asap (leaving the d4-pawn only indirectly protected)
  • Playing g6 (g3) can be a positional liability, because if you have to play f6 (f3) to kick out the enemy knight, your whole kingside becomes weak.
  • Initiative is key: The one who poses threats, will be the one whose d-pawn is strong, the one who has to react, will be the one whose d-pawn will be weak.
  • Grabbing an open file with your rooks, might be the last straw that breaks your opponents back.

Of course many games with the double isolated d-pawns are rather different affairs: The heavy pieces bleed out through the open lines. e4/c5 (e5/c5) are protected by the adjacent pawns and in the ending nothing much happens.

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