A master 2250 said to me that i should put my pieces so all my central pawns to be pushed.

For example if I have e4 d5 with white, a valid plan is advancing c4 and f4. Or with black if I have for example d6, e5, I should prepare f5, d5, and c5. Is this a plan for general middle game positions? Advancing e4,d4,c4,f4 for white and e5,d5,c5,f5?(Order doesn't matter).

  • that is one plan. there are others depending on the position. Feb 11, 2020 at 21:59

3 Answers 3


This might be a valid plan, if you opponent doesn't fight for the centre at all. But in almost all games such a plan is either impossible or carries the risk of overextending.

It is true that pawn levers are important. Such a pawn lever might be the advance f4-f5 or c4-c5. But usually you only play a pawn lever at the side of the board where you are stronger and ready to exploit the opening of the position. Not just everywhere …

In my view it would be much more correct to state the building of an ideal pawn centre as a standard plan. But the "ideal pawn centre" consists only out of the e and d-pawn, both advanced two squares. And even the building of this modest 2-pawn centre is usually fought tooth and nail by your opponent.

[FEN ""]
[Event "Nanjing Pearl Spring Tournament"]
[Site "Nanjing CHN"]
[Date "2010.10.24"]
[EventDate "2010.10.20"]
[Round "5"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Magnus Carlsen"]
[Black "Veselin Topalov"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "2826"]
[BlackElo "2805"]
[PlyCount "63"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d3 b5 7.Bb3
d6 8.a4 Rb8 9.axb5 axb5 10.Nbd2 O-O 11.Re1 Bd7 12.c3 Ra8
13.Rxa8 Qxa8 14.d4 h6 15.Nf1 Re8 16.Ng3 Qc8 17.Nh4 Bf8 18.Ng6
Na5 19.Nxf8 Rxf8 20.Bc2 Re8 21.f4 Bg4 22.Qd3 exf4 23.Bxf4 Nc4
24.Bc1 c5 25.Rf1 cxd4 26.cxd4 Qd8 27.h3 Be6 28.b3 Qa5 29.Kh2
Nh7 30.e5 g6 31.d5 Nxe5 32.dxe6 1-0

Take this brilliant game as an example: On move 14 Carlsen creates the "ideal pawn centre", it persists until move 30, where is proves its power by advancing and initiating a deadly attack. There is even a pawn lever thrown in at move 14, which opens up the f-line for the rook. But Carlsen didn't try to just move his c,d,e and f-pawn forward. He created the ideal pawn centre, which controls a lot of squares and can at times advance with deadly effect. He used a pawn lever to open up lines for the attack. Every move had a purpose.

  • So this is standard for all positions? I mean where no danger to advance... May 27, 2015 at 16:06
  • There is never any standard in chess apart from not getting checkmated. Chess would be very boring if there were rules like physics that you could just memorise.
    – SmallChess
    May 28, 2015 at 0:45
  • I don't know what is standard and what is not, I want to learn, to train myself, and yeah there are over a 1000 strong grandmasters, over 50000 international masters, and over 100000 masters. So I want somehow their thinking process.:) May 28, 2015 at 6:56
  • I get what you mean. Pushing the central pawns like in the Magnus game was a typical strategy. But there is nothing such as standard, there are other tricks. If you have iPhone, please download the SmallChess app. The app has the above game annotated in full details, you'll learn.
    – SmallChess
    May 28, 2015 at 7:01

That seems to be an overgeneralization. Controlling the center is of supreme importance for a number of reasons, such as for example giving your pieces more freedom while conversely limiting your opponent's mobility, and letting you ultimately generate a kingside attack. A standard rule of thumb is that when you have played e4, you should aim for d4 safely, and vice versa. Moving the c and particularly f pawns might entail more risk. If you have castled kingside, disturbing the pawn structure in front of the king (hence f4) must be given long and careful consideration. Moving ALL your central pawns might be ideal if your opponent permitted it and it didn't entail any risk, but that's unlikely to be the case against any opponent of substance. Getting your e and d pawns out and all your pieces mobilized would seem to be sufficient to allow you to pursue sound and productive middle game plans.


That is A plan. Whether it is best or even good depends on the actual opening and position. Remember the hypermodern approach is to let them have the center but attack it usually with fianchettoed bishops. Which plan is best? Depends on a lot of other factors. Including the opponent.

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