It was Philidor who said, “Pawns are the soul of chess”. That is an abstract statement of course, but centralized pawns can dictate both the pace and outcome of a chess game.
In this game, I was paired with the lower-rated player Alo1. He played some unorthodox moves from the start that caused me to think as early as move five (Na4?!).
Centralized pawns – the difference between winning and losing
When you review this game, take note of my pawn on d4. After I recaptured the knight and played e5, the pawn center was established. Then the later gxf5 further solidified the pawn chain that was too much for my opponent to overcome.