It has always surprised me that most people of this particular group of ambitious amateurs associate chess improvement with working on openings.
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After all, everybody is able to learn 25 moves of opening theory by heart and spoil a brilliant opening preparation with a mistake on move 26, wasting all the efforts…. Therefore, in my own lessons I prefer to focus on aspects which can significantly stimulate your practical abilities and decision making process. The endgame part of the book mostly concentrates on rook endgames. I believe that every player needs to possess the knowledge of some elementary positions. This essential knowledge not only enriches your understanding of the game, but also gives confidence playing endgames in general.
A recurring theme in endgames is the transition into a pawn ending, so I thought it would be a good idea to add an extra chapter on this topic as well. For me personally, his games are the greatest source of inspiration on this topic! In the section on Middlegame Strategy it has been my aim to make the reader more conscious about some positional aspects of the game. Diagram 7 1.? Compare diagram 7 with diagram 6. White has the same space advantage on the kingside, but it is useless now.
Without pieces there is no beneficial influence of the space advantage on the qualitative value of the pieces. We will study this spatial advantage more deeply in a special chapter. Seizure of initiative The seizure of initiative, that is the possibility to create immediate threats, is very important as well. An opponent under pressure must first parry the threats facing him and only then deal with improving his position. Therefore his alternatives are reduced. The importance of seizing the initiative is illustrated in the following example.
Lasker-Marshall, St. Petersburg In diagram 8 Black needs only a tempo to solve his opening problems by castling queenside. But it is White s turn to move and the former world champion immediately seizes the initiative by playing 1.
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The pawns b7 and d5 are simultaneously attacked; therefore Marshall set a cunning trap We must note that 1 Qb4 loses in view of 2. Of course not 2.
Bxd5 3. Qxd5 Qg5! Qxg5 hxg5 and Black wins. Now the new threat Qxa7 forces Black to weaken his position because after 2 Kb8, 3. Nb5 would be decisive. Rd3 with a decisive attack and an eventual win for White. You can see how Black s alternatives were limited because White, move by move, created new strong threats and obliged Black to parry them. All you need is to follow an orderly pattern of thinking. Looking for the best plan of play means searching for the best way to improve your position.
It involves looking for the possibilities to achieve one of the advantages mentioned above or trying to annihilate these advantages if they belong to your opponent. Here are some questions you must ask and answer to find the potentially best plans and moves. Is my king safe? How could I ensure its defense? Is my opponent s king safe? How could I benefit from its weakened position? Is my opponent threatening to achieve a material advantage? Can I achieve a material advantage by force?
How about my opponent? How could I increase the qualitative value of my pieces and pawn structure?
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How could I reduce the qualitative value of my opponent s pieces and pawn structure? How could I use the space advantage I have in order to increase the qualitative value of my pieces and create a local superiority of forces? What pieces must I exchange in order to reduce the importance of the space advantage my opponent has?
Could I create immediate threats or seize a long-term initiative? By answering such questions you will be able to find the most interesting ideas plans of play that can improve your position as well as some candidate moves in the spirit of the plans you found. Then, all you need is to do is compare the candidate moves by calculating concrete lines and assessing the resulting positions. Eureka, the best move is found! It is a game for two players, one with the light pieces and one with the dark.
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Robert Ris: Crucial Chess Skills for the Club Player - Vol. 1
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