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Hypermodern defenses have never worked out for me. I've always been a classicist, and as such will never understand half of the complexities of the KID.
That surprises me. I figured with your tactical ability you'd love something like the KID.
I just don't understand the positions that arise out of hypermodern openings. Very little central control, and basically just flank play - totally opposite to what we were all taught as beginners. Of course, it is a completely valid system and it doesn't need my approval, but I'd have to spend years basically relearning chess strategy and I'm not at a point in time to do that now. I "understand chess" (whatever that means) better in terms of classical strategy, so I pick aggressive classical openings to play. Besides, the fact that this strategy is not taught to beginners must mean that it is harder, or more complicated, or both, right?
BTW, I'm not a great tactician. I made a debacle of a game against GM Friedel when I just dropped a piece to a simple tactic. I've had many relics like that in my four years of tournament play.
But you do control the center. Having a lot of pawns in the center is not needed to control it. And when you have less pawns in the center, they are less likely to become a liability, and this lack of weaknesses often gives a hypermodern player the flexibility to do some flank play. Another way to look at it: since his pieces already control the center, he can use his pawns to focus on the flanks sometimes.
You should understand both schools of thought. If you only understand one, I don't think you really understand the center. The whole point of the center is mobility. If you have two pawns in the center that need to be in constant protection, then your pieces are on passive, not active squares -- the very opposite of what having central control is supposed to achieve. Sometimes it's nice to simply have the d and e pawns exchanged, as then no lines are blocked, all the pieces can get out, and there are no center pawns to babysit; other times a lack of a pawn center pushes your pieces backwards by the opponent's pawns. You can't avoid these kinds of issues simply by playing classical openings.
I mean controlling the center with pawns. Since they are the cheapest pieces on the board, controlling the center with pawns gives the opponent maximum discomfort when trying to attack it. Sure, in hypermodern play you have pieces controlling the center, but the opponent is able to take charge in the center anyway because he puts pawns there. The hypermodernist has less space and must be careful to time the attacks on the center with his pieces, lest he get overrun in the center by the pawns. Also, I don't think controlling the center with pieces is enough because pieces are not able to maintain meaningful tension with protected pawns in most cases. Eventually, even in hypermodern openings such as the King's Indian, you do see pawn moves such as e5 that attack the center. In the Pirc, you have e5 or c5. I just prefer to first put my pawn(s) in the center first and develop pieces behind it (them) rather than develop the pieces first and then put pawns in front.
I do basically understand what hypermodernism is all about, but I do have a lot of trouble understanding how to deal with the less space and finding the "natural" moves in the positions. And for me, pawns in the center makes for easier mobility because I have cheap material controlling key territory, so there will be more space for my pieces.
Each opening is different, and I'm definitely not saying that classical openings solve all issues. I do specific study for each opening that I play and the middlegames that may arise out of each opening, but I always do avoid hypermodern strategy because of the reasons I outlined. It may not be the best for me in the long run, but that's the price for having taken the easy way out :)
Well, like I said, if your center pawns are attacked, your pieces may in fact be forced to passive squares to defend them, the opposite of what pawns in the center are supposed to achieve. The whole point of central control is mobility -- if occupying in the center somehow hurts your mobility, like in the example I described, it would actually hurt your position to do so! The irony is that you put the pawns in the center, ultimately, for piece activity (pawns themselves are not strong attacking units -- the important thing is how they give your pieces outposts) -- it is in fact not so different from a hypermodern strategy in this way. So I will say again, if you only focus on one philosophy, you won't really understand the center, perhaps the most important part of the game.
In fact I think it doesn't take long to find yourself doing both hypermodern and classical strategies over the course of a game. Just because you start out with a "classical" move like 1 d4 doesn't mean you won't end up embracing the idea of giving up those pawns for open lines.
For example, there are lots of hanging pawn structures, arising from exchanges between pawns on c4, d4, c5, d5, e.g., white plays cxd5, black takes back ...exd5; white also plays dxc5, black recaptures ...bxc5. White is fighting against the uncontested black pawns on c5 and d5 -- but this often arises in a 1 d4 opening, a classical opening.
And I am not telling you to play hypermodern openings -- I think you can learn plenty about the hypermodern by playing classical openings, ironically enough. The truth about chess is that it's not as easy to dictate the style of a game with the opening as one may think. The sharpest game of your life might happen in a "dull" opening -- the point is that the opening is, at least for most, only a small fraction of the actual game!
But I bet you will find plenty of situations in your games where the correct idea is to trade off some of your center pawns no matter what opening you play. And you will find times when you should keep them. It really depends on the position.
Even in the french, where white has a "big center," you see all the time white willingly exchanging it away if he can benefit -- when black plays ...f6 to strike the d4 e5 white pawn chain, white sometimes doesn't mind playing exf6 if he can secure an outpost for pieces on the e5 square. Other times he continues to bolster the center -- for white to play successfully in this so called classical opening, he has to keep in mind possibilities where he can give up his center as well.
Hypermodernism in chess isn't well summed up with "control the center with pieces" it should go on to say you counter attack the center with pawn moves.
Anyway as Elubas more or less said, space isn't itself actually worth anything... what you want is mobility/activity of the pieces. You can't win with good pawns... the best "good pawns" can do for you is promote to active pieces. All other advantages are actually secondary to the superior mobility of pieces in an area. Space, a secure king, good structure, etc give you the best chances for mobile/active pieces.
Actually this may be a good way to teach a beginners chess... show them positions of a winning side and illustrate superior mobility in an area... oh wait they do that already it's call endgames lol. I guess that just proves my point
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