5 Pawn Centers

5 Pawn CentersEach and every chess game consists of a pawn centre that will usually decide the nature of game play and the strategic principles that will need to be followed. There are 5 basic types of pawn centers in chess. Mastery of these will lead to a better game. The 5 Pawn Centers in chess include the:

  1. Closed Center;
  2. Open Center;
  3. Fixed Center;
  4. Mobile Center;
  5. Fluid Center.

Applying this knowledge should help you develop your game plan of the battle.

The shape of your army (Pawn-structure) &  their location on the battlefield (meaning the Ranks and Files), is of great importance in planning your strategy.

The games of chess are determined by ‘topography’ (positioning) of the Center Pawns of both armies – primarily the King Pawns (e-Pawns) and Queen Pawns (d-Pawns), though it can also include the Bishop Pawns (c- & f-Pawns), which occupy squares of the Extended Center.

If the Pawns block the Center, the Pieces are forced to approach the enemy’s camp from the Flanks (sides), encircling the enemy camp before launching their attack(s). This type of pawn a closed center is useful for Knights that have the ability to jump over enemy pieces.

If, instead, the Center is open – long-range pieces, such as Rooks and Bishops can target enemy pieces from a distance and within the safety of their own base.

A player must choose some kind of plan of play entirely in accordance with the type of pawn center.
Your game plan will help determine the following procedures:

  1. Where an attack should be set in motion.
  2. How the attack should be conducted.
  3. How the defense should be organized.

5 Pawn Centers

Position 1: The Closed CenterEach player’s pawns are locked with the others, thus blocking the lines for Bishops and Rooks. See the diagram below.

5 Pawn Centers







What to do with a Closed Center position…

1. With the Center closed by the wedge of Pawns, breakthroughs usually occur on the flanks.
2. Players usually develop on opposite Flanks – their aim is to be the first to breakthrough.
3. If an attack happens on the Flank, the best tactic is to counterattack in the Center.
4. In some situations, you might be able to Sacrifice a Piece in order to demolish the blockage in the center.

Position 2: The Open Center  – There are no pawns in the center and the lines and diagonals are free for the play of the pieces

5 Pawn Centers







What to do with an Open Center position…

1. Pieces become even stronger when there are no Pawns in the center.
2. Activate and coordinate your army
3. Focus on creating weaknesses in the enemy’s Pawn structure on either Kingside or Queen-side.
4. Look to mobilize your Rooks, with the goal of getting a Rook onto the 7th Rank.

Position 3: The Fixed CenterThe position of the pawns in the center is fixed and it is not easy to alter their position.

5 Pawn Centers

What to do with a Fixed Center position…
1. Focus on Controlling the Center, reinforcing it with Pieces.
2. With the Center under control, target the weaknesses in the enemy’s position.
3. As the gaps appear in the enemy’s position (due to captures), send your Pieces into their camp.
4. Begin an attack on the Flank (whichever looks more profitable).

Position 4: The Mobile CenterOne side has two or more united pawns in the center and endeavors to advance them anytime

5 Pawn Centers







What to do with a Mobile Center position…

1. Your first objective is to Control the Center.
2. Seek to create a Passed Pawn and strive for its Promotion.
3. If your opponent gains the Mobile Center, your plan should be to Blockade the enemy Pawns.
4. Capture those stuck pawns, then dismantle the Center.

Position 5: The Fluid Center The pawn position in the center is not fixed. It may  perhaps result in a  position then transposes to one of the positions we have described above.

5 Pawn Centers


What to do with a Fluid Center position…
1. The position has not yet been determined.
2. Strive to create your preferred type (Closed, Open, Fixed, or Mobile), and play accordingly.


More examples later. Stay tuned…


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