Pawn Tension

Pawn Tension is nothing to shy away from.

When two pawns are aiming at each other that is called pawn tension. The player who breaks the tension, meaning either chooses to initiate the trade or pushes past the pawn, usually loses. The amateur is more likely to break the tension. He gets tired of thinking about it every move. Every move he has to think to himself, “If I take, and then she takes, and then I could take with my knight, or my bishop, or if I wait and let him take, then I take, then I could capture with my rook… oh ug, I’ll just trade. There. That simplified everything. Oh no, now that it is simpler I notice things seem to be getting a little bit worse for me. How did that happen?”

Having the tension there on the board and allowing it to sit, and not having to resolve the tension is the mark of a real chess player. Think of it as a game of blink. Here is a video you can watch, it has more about tension, only in this case it is near the endgame. Watch me interview Chess Master Brian Wall as he discusses something called “Unfavorable Tension.”

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