Pawn Structures

Pawns are The Soul of Chess - Philidor

In chess, the pawn structure (sometimes known as the pawn skeleton) is the configuration of pawns on the chessboard. Since pawns are the least mobile of the chess pieces, the pawn structure is relatively static and thus largely determines the strategic nature of the position.

Weaknesses in the pawn structure, such as isolated, doubled or backward pawns and holes, once created, are usually permanent. Care must therefore be taken to avoid them (but there are exceptions - for instance see Boleslavsky hole below). In the absence of these structural weaknesses, it is not possible to classify a pawn formation as good or bad - much depends on the positions of the pieces. However, the pawn formation does determine the overall strategies of the players to a large extent, even if arising from unrelated openings. Pawn formations symmetrical about a vertical line (such as the e5 Chain and the d5 Chain) can be deceptively similar, but they tend to have entirely different characteristics because of the propensity of the kings to castle on the kingside.

Pawn structures often transpose into one another, such as the Isolani into the Hanging Pawns and vice versa. Such transpositions must be considered carefully and often mark shifts in game strategy

- Wiki

Pawn Structure Overview
Part 1 of 2
Part 2 of 2

The Dragon Formation
The Dragon Formation

The Caro Formation
The Caro Formation

The Scheveningen Structure
Scheveningen Structure

The d5 and e5 pawn chains
d5 vs e5 pawn chains

Illustrative games where doubled pawns offered dynamic compensation
Allowing Doubled Pawns

Illustrative games where doubled pawns played a major losing role
Nimzovich vs Mattison

Illustrative games where Backward pawns played a major losing role
Adams Game

Illustrative Maroczy Bind game examples
Adams Game

Illustrative Boleslavsky Hole examples
Boleslavsky Hole Transformation

Illustrative Isolated Pawn examples - the Dynamic attacking compensation offered
Keene vs Miles, 1975