Sokolov Explains: Middlegame Pawn Structures – GM Ivan Sokolov

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Pawn Structures in the Middlegame – GM Ivan Sokolov

Sokolov Explains: Middlegame Pawn Structures – GM Ivan Sokolov

Sokolov Explains: Middlegame Pawn Structures – GM Ivan Sokolov

This is the legendary Ivan Sokolov’s first ever DVD. It is with great pleasure and honor that we are able to bring Ivan’s vast experience of our beautiful game to video.

Ivan has been part of the world’s chess elite for all of his adult life. In his youth, Ivan was tipped by many as being a future world champion. His career has included victories over Kasparov and a large number of the world’s elite.

The lessons shown in the DVD are given with his unique insight and touch of humor.

Within this DVD the viewer will learn a great deal about Middlegame Pawn structures. Ivan looks at isolated pawns, symmetrical pawns and a vast array of other structures, whilst teaching us some valuable lessons. Ivan does this by first building up the position from its bare roots and then adding material, so each aspect of the position is understood.

About the Author:

Ivan Sokolov is a Dutch chess grandmaster. Sokolov won the Yugoslav Championship in 1988 and the Dutch Championship in 1995 and 1998.

He became a FIDE Master in 1985 and then he also accomplished the International Master title in 1986. In 1987 and 1993 he won the Vidmar Memorial.

In 2000 he won the 1st European Rapid Chess Championship in Neum edging out on tiebreak Alexey Dreev and Zurab Azmaiparashvili.

Is this course for me?

GM Ivan Sokolov’s chess CV takes some beating: he’s a 3-time national champion, European Champion at 3-time controls, former world #12 and has beaten 5 world champions in Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand, Carlsen, and Smyslov!

Plus, he’s achieved FIDE Senior Trainer status. A student of the game, Ivan Sokolov is renowned as both chess philosopher and chess warrior.

Here are some of the lessons you’ll be able to learn with this course:

The ‘Karpov’ Pawn Structure

Pawn Structures in the Middlegame – GM Ivan Sokolov

Karpov’s Pawn Structure

In this lesson, Sokolov shows that even GMs have a lot to learn!

He will explain pawn structures based around the position on the right.

This position was reached in Karpov vs Georgiev, 1994. How should White respond to Black’s last move …a5?

Should White:

  • Capture on a5?
  • Push on with b5?
  • Support the White b-pawn with a3?

GM Ivan Sokolov gives us an in-depth explanation as to what is the best approach for White. It is worth noting that this type of pawn structure often occurs from the opening moves 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5

The Isolated Pawn

How should you play with chess pawn structures with an isolated pawn and how should you play against the isolated pawn?

GM Sokolov will show you that with a very interesting position reached in Beliavsky vs Illescas Cordoba, 1990.

Illescas, who was a world leading expert in this type of isolated queens pawn position, played an excellent move that allowed him to display a big attack.

Pawn Symmetry

Even when things look equal, danger still lurks. Ivan shows us what to watch out for when playing symmetrical positions. One famous example he uses is from a famous game of Kasparov vs Karpov. The position may look harmless but Ivan tells us why Kasparov is virtually winning.

You will learn a lot from this course, especially because of Sokolov’s way to approach the position – looking first at the chess pawn structure – then placing the pieces and building a plan for the rest of the game.

Run-time: 3 hours 45 minute

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GM Ivan Sokolov


3 hours 45 minutes




Standard H.264, out of box compatibility with all Mac and PC devices including Android and iPhone.

3 reviews for Sokolov Explains: Middlegame Pawn Structures – GM Ivan Sokolov

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    highly instructive and perfectly presented – I would like more of him 🙂 I especially liked his way to approach to the position – looking first at the pawn structure – then placing the pieces and building a plan by looking at instructive games of masters like Karpov

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Flyn Penoyer

    I totally enjoyed this program – excellent stuff. He does a good job of explaining stuff.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Adrian (verified owner)

    I absolutely can recommend this one. Ivan Sokolov is not only a great writer of chess literature but as well a magnificent teacher. I picked this DVD up quite recently and to say the least, I am impressed. He teaches a different approach to evaluate a certain position. He first looks at the pawn-structure then ads more and more pieces. That way you actually get a feeling for the nature of the position and allowed me to see moves which I wouldn’t have considered. But beware, it is not that easy, this topic can become quite complex fast and I wouldn’t advise it for fresh beginners but players around 1600+ as I fall under the category as well. To the actual content, he shows different pawn-structures & positions that come from different openings. E.g. the Isolated Pawn structure in the Tarrasch-Variation of the Queen´s Gambit Declined. He breaks the position down into its core, the pawns and explains Ideas clearly and concisely. After this he shows games from the black and white´s perspective. A few times he shows this same pawn-structure in completely different openings. In the Tarrasch Example he refers to the Slav Defense. This way you can apply this knowledge even if you don’t necessarily play the opening for similar structures. The only bad thing I can say about this DVD is that the Chapters are not split up, but instead you get 1 Video-File with 03 hours and 43 minutes. If you can look over this small downside, I cannot recommend it enough. I could actually apply already in my games the concepts he taught which I didn’t think.
    Again a really great product for a great price from Ginger GM.

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