FM Allan Savage lectures at Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School

8.11.07 FIDE Master and Correspondence Chess International Master Allan Savage gave a scintillating lecture entitled The Importance of Pawn Structure in the library of the Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School on Friday evening August 10, 2007. FM Savage stressed the fact that pawn structure helps determine middle game plans and appropriate piece placement and used two grandmaster games to illustrate Maroczy Bind structures.

FM Allan Savage elucidates the importance of the d5 square in certain Sicilian Defence structures.

FM Savage's USCF page

FM Savage's FIDE page

Allan Savage has had a long and distinguished chess career. He became an FIDE Master back when earning that title required a performance rating in three separate tournaments of 2350 or better, much like the IM and GM titles of today. He lamented FIDE's "watering down" of the title by requiring only a rating milestone and dropping the performance requirement. Speaking about his International Master title, Savage explained he got his title and qualified for the correspondence world championship just as computers were beginning to play a larger role in correspondence chess. Although when a player has a rating of 2500 and up the computer's effects on the game become less relevant he said.

The lecture was suffused with pearls of wisdom, experience and a good dose of humor. At one point when a tactic came into play in one of his illustrations Savage said, "It's all tactics as you know--besides pawn structure--it's all tactics!" He spoke of pawns islands, isolated pawns, backward pawns, outposts, half open files and many other pertinent pawn structure tenents in what was a fascinating talk. Three core points of the lecture were:

1. Pawn structure helps to determine middle game plans.
2. Pawn structure determines appropriate piece placement.
3. If pawn structure changes, step back, reevaluate the position and notice the changes because when the pawn structure changes plans can change and often do.

FM Savage used the following two games to illustrate Maroczy Bind structures:

Simagin - Byvshev (Moscow, 1952) 0-1

Portisch - Reshevsky (Petropolis, 1973) 1-0

Deer Isle-Stonington Elementary School

A gathering of about fifteen students of the game hung on every word.

Entertaining a question from...

the Red Auerbach of Deer Isle-Stonington Mariners Chess, Dick Powell.

After the lecture FM Savage observes James Kane (left) and Dan Robbins enjoying a skittles game.

A great plate!

Recommended reading from FM Savage to learn more about the importance of pawn structure:

Watson, John. "The Significance of Structure" in Watson's Mastering the Chess Openings, Volume 1. pp36-86 (Gambit, 2006). Brilliant Chapter!

Knotch, Hans. Pawn Power in Chess. (American Chess Promotions, 1990). A must-read for every student!

Soltis, Andy. Pawn Structure Chess. (Random House, 1995). For more advanced students >1600 rating.

We sincerely thank FM Savage for his willingness to come join with us, his obvious love for the game and his clear and insightful teaching.

This event was organized and sponsored by Dan DeLuca and Dick Powell.


Great! The more of these creative lectures the better.

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