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A Pawn Barrier is a pawn formation in chess used to defend against pieces, typically a king. It is most useful during the endgame, where most major pieces are off the board.

a b c d e f g h
8 a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 8
7 a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 p g7 p h7 p 7
6 a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 od f6 od g6 od h6 od 6
5 a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 N h5 5
4 a4 k b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 K 4
3 a3 xd b3 xd c3 xd d3 xd e3 f3 g3 h3 3
2 a2 P b2 P c2 P d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 2
1 a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 1
a b c d e f g h
The black king cannot legally move through the Xs so he would need to take a long trip around the barrier to get to the pawns. Meanwhile, the black pawn barrier has no effect on the white knight because it can just jump across the barrier.


The pawn barrier is essentially a horizontal wall of pawns. The pawns cover the squares in front of them, forming a long "barrier". This is useful because the opposing king cannot legally cross the barrier, and so he has to take an arduous trip around to capture the pawns. However, unlike the pawn chain, the pawns cannot defend each other, only the squares in front. Against other pieces the formation would serve little purpose, since they have a farther range and can "jump" across the barrier.