Hanging pawns refer to the common pawn structure of two connected pawns, where the two pawns are isolated from any other pawns. This leaves a pair of pawns hanging in the middle of the position. Typically, the term “hanging pawns” refers to having two central pawns, but it can refer to any pair of pawns.
Hanging pawns can be strong or weak, depending on the pieces. If the pawns can advance, and especially if they are passed pawns, then they may create a “pawn roller” (towards queening). Even if they are not passed pawns, or cannot fully advance, they may still advance to cramp the position and squash the enemy pieces backwards.
But sometimes hanging pawns cannot advance, and they become a weakness. As they cannot be protected by other pawns, they must be defended by pieces. If more attacking pieces target the pawns than defensive pieces, the pawns can simply be lost.
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