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Strategy of 'My System', Lesson 3

We're learning chess strategy from the classic My System by Aaron Nimzowitsch. I'm your guide, likesforests. Grab a cold one, pull up a chair, and enjoy. :)


Review

We had a small break after lesson 2 "An Exchange Followed by a Gain of Tempo", so let's begin with a quick review. This is an example from chess.com play. White (1699) made the wrong choices and a couple moves later resigned a hopeless position. Will you do any better?




In the final position White has a clear strategic advantage. This is much better than game continuation, 3.fxe5?? Qh5+! 4.Ke2 Qxe4+ 5.Kf2 0-1. I hope you took  ...Qh5+ into account in every variation you calculated. Always consider forcing moves.

§1.5 Liquidation followed by development

Before we discussed using exchanges to gain time. Now we'll look at some instructive examples where a well-timed exchange can avoid losing time. It's important to understand both sides of the coin... these two situations are closely related.

Example 1

The central pawns in this example are similar to those in the chess.com game we just looked at. White played the Scotch Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4) and Black replied 3...d5?!. Nimzowitsch notes that usually answering a pawn break with another pawn break is not ideal.


After a slight inaccuracy, Black's bishop maneuver saves him from losing time. Both sides have reasonable positions entering the middlegame.

Example 2

This example comes from the game of a fellow blogger, RTSolo. Black chooses the rare Baltic Defense to the Queen's Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Bf5?!), with interesting play.


Black has a powerful queen in the center which can't immediately be attacked, and he's almost ready to castle. But he's paid a price. Black needs to find counterplay before the White king castles, or the long-term advantage of the bishop pair may become decisive.

Example 3

Nimzowitsch describes liquidation as cutting your losses after a bad investment. It's better than losing time retreaing, but try to avoid such positions if at all possible. In the Philidor Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4) how should White recapture?


While 4.Qxd4 is playable (4...Nc6 5.Bb5 Bd7 6.Bxc6), 4.Nxd4 is a better plan if White aims to win because it preserves the bishop pair and keeps as many pieces on-board as possible... which makes a favorable and decisive result more likely for the first player.

Nimzowitsch warns one should never make trades willy-nilly. Carefully consider whether to seek out, accept, or avoid trades. Intermediate players are sometimes too quick to say, "It loses the Bishop pair" or "It doubles her pawns" or "Don't trade a developed piece for an undeveloped one" without thinking deeply about whether the trade works in the position at hand. If you put some thought into your decisions, even if you're wrong, you'll learn and improve.


Further Reading:

The Art of Exchanging Pieces - In this Chess Mentor course, Jeremy Silman explores exchanging to create favorable minor piece imbalances.


I welcome criticism and even praise if you feel it's deserved. Lesson 4 will be out next Friday... if you haven't already, Add me as a Friend to enjoy it hot off the press!

Comments


  • 5 years ago

    but

    thanks i read it again FINALLY!!

  • 5 years ago

    jfq722

    awwww. I wanted to see if you would also use the word 'disembarrassment' ;)

  • 5 years ago

    figrock

    I so greatly enjoy these articles..! Keep up the awesome work! Cool

  • 6 years ago

    estevon

    Very great moves involved .=These illistrations of these games.White 4th move should of been Qe5 instead of Qa5.

  • 6 years ago

    ChessWhizard

    Thx

  • 6 years ago

    KnightlyKing

    thank you very much!

  • 6 years ago

    likesforests

    normajeanyates> a novice more likely than not thinks that accepting the QG is some blunder and allows a mating combination :)

    Starting out, that's what I believed. I had read that White regains the pawn by force and my book showed that typical example where Black tries to hold onto the extra pawn when he shouldn't and ends up losing a whole piece.

    but, leo8160 - Glad you enjoyed. :)

  • 6 years ago

    leo8160

    really thanks

  • 6 years ago

    normajeanyates

    Example 1 is most instructive: but example 2 even more so imo :).

    [most of my prev post was about the first problem ("example 0") and example 3.]

  • 6 years ago

    but

    thank you

  • 6 years ago

    but

    i have to wait a long time but got it thank you

  • 6 years ago

    normajeanyates

    re the first problem of the blog - i got the whole thing right in one second or so with no thought at all because my fingers remember 'book' on falkbeer :( [not really book because black played weak moves but fingers remember what they did for years and years against those moves made by weak opponents - our personal 'book' as it were]

    Even more so for the third.

    I think some of us will have to tackle this: how to unremember book for the moment and tackle the problem afresh - otherwise the problem remains unlinked to the principles it is supposed to review...

    The second one: never heard of the baltic defence before - probably because I play 1...Nf6 against 1. d4 - but it looks interesting!

  • 6 years ago

    normajeanyates

    likesforests wrote:

    > 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 Bc5? 4. cxd4 Bb4+?! 5. Bd2 Bxd2+ 6. Nxd2

    About 3.Bc5? Nimzowitsch writes, "It is remarkable how this tempo-eating move is the first or second thought of every beginner." I don't think this applies to today's amateur.

    I Think another big reason is that today's amateurs read chess books. [On the same lines, I posted elsewhere on this site that today an advanced player might accept the Queen's gambit, but the novice won't. Because the novice has heard of QGD in the papers or something, but probably has never heard of the QGA - a novice more likely than not thinks that accepting the QG is some blunder and allows a mating combination :)]

  • 6 years ago

    likesforests

    To those reading along in My System:

    I made a controversial choice this time. Only 1 of the 4 examples is actually from Nimzowitsch! But I believe I made the right decision...

    > 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 Bc5? 4. cxd4 Bb4+?! 5. Bd2 Bxd2+ 6. Nxd2

    About 3.Bc5? Nimzowitsch writes, "It is remarkable how this tempo-eating move is the first or second thought of every beginner." I don't think this applies to today's amateur. It's rare according to my database and it's due more to bad tactics than to bad strategy.

    He also says that 4...Bb6 is slightly better than 4...Bb4+. I feel the difference is extremely subtle, and in most lines of the Italian 4...Bb4+ is the best move, so I worried presenting this example might be counterproductive to our development.

    All the examples I've chosen are based on chess.com and blogger games, so the moves should be reasonable, and I'm confident that what I've noted as the best moves really are the best moves. But let me know if you disagree. In any case, since you already have the original, I hope you will appreciate fresh examples. :)

  • 6 years ago

    Bodhidharma

    Hooray !

  • 6 years ago

    likesforests

    but, click here to reload the page. Hopefully they'll show up the second time. :)

    The code that displays the diagrams is courtesy of chess.com. They work much better in Firefox, but occasionally you need to reload the page once or twice.

  • 6 years ago

    but

    uh show the diagram again i cant see it

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