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I’m Still Passionate About Squares

I’m Still Passionate About Squares

In my first "Passionate About Squares" article I demonstrated how important it is to create weak squares in the enemy camp (often referred to as “holes”).

In many cases putting one’s pieces (knights in particular) on these holes give you a serious positional plus. However, the piece living in the weak square is sometimes so powerful (think of Zeus throwing lightning bolts) that it convinces the whole army to start an attack against the enemy king.

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That monster of a knight moved into the f5-square and, except for one quick trip (Nf5xh4-f5), never left it. The knight was the star of the attack, but it wouldn't be possible without ownership of that square.

Usually an important weak square is anchored to a friendly pawn. However, once in a rare while the weak square is floating free.

Here’s another example of a weak but unanchored square in the opponent’s camp:

Our final game is quite interesting in that most of my students (over many years) failed to play the position properly for Black.

White has just played 1.f5. Black has three possibilities, 1...Bc4, 1...Bd7, and 1...Bc8 (1...d5 loses: 2.fxe6 d4 3.Nb5, etc.). We’ll look at all three:

1…Bc8

1…Bc4



1…Bd7


Let me once again highlight the differences between 1...Bc4 and 1...Bd7: 1...Bc4 trades off an important guardian of the d5-square. 1...Bd7 retains this bishop so it can protect d5, the bishop will also attack e4 when it moves to c6, and a central break with …d6-d5 is in the air. Hopefully the differences are clear to you.

As you can see, weak squares/holes are a critical part of chess. At times the possession of such a square is solid gold. But a savvy player can often prevent that from happening, take an enemy square elsewhere on the board (which could result in both sides having a weak-square to use) or, if the hole has been grabbed by the enemy, challenge the hole and, by doing so, cut down the damage (as seen in 1...Bd7).

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