Planning Part-1



Many beginners know openings well from move to move. But when asked about planning, they find themselves in a deep hole, unsure of where to move next. And what will they get? Nothing... because moves are nothing, but ideas are so important. A beginner-mistake is to look for moves but not for ideas. Planning is basically an operation of our ideas, and our ideas make the plans work.

How To Make a Plan-

Many beginners know ideas are more important than moves. But how do we find these ideas and what are the possibilities by which we can find them? So I am going to write some rules which my master taught me recently, because in some ways, I am still a beginner too. The rules are described below. I will also post a position so you can better understand how it works in different situations.

1. After every move, take a few seconds and try to compare the position. For example-compare both King's safety, pawn structure, piece's mobility, open files and diagonals, weak squares, strong squares, etc.

2. We know that in every game we have plus points and minus points. So when you look for a plan, always play with your plus point. For example - you have a strong outpost in your opponent's camp, so try to exploit it.

3. ALWAYS play with your plus points instead of your weak points.

4. Always check your attacking pieces.

5. Always check your opponent's defensive pieces.

6. Always play with an idea. Look for ideas instead of moves.

7. If you have a plus position (advantage), then try to maintain it.

8. Do not be greedy and do not lose your patience while you play over the board.

9. Always check your opponent's last moves and ideas. If his ideas are not strong or not threatening anything, then allow him to apply it. Otherwise, you have to stop it or prepare a counter-plan against it.

10. Always try to imagine the position which you would like to see on the board.

11. Timing and move orders of your plans are necessary in your chess games.

12. Always try to play with your pieces first instead of pawn moves. Use pawn moves as a last option. (This rule has exceptions... Like opposite castling: You have to play with pawn storm when you are castling on opposite sides, but you also need pieces to attack.)

13. If you find a weakness in your opponent's camp, try to exploit it and find some routes for it.

14. Always play with coordinated pieces.

How to apply them in real games:

                                Game 1

                    D. Janowski - S.Reshevsky

                               New York 1992




It's white to move in this position. Now apply the first step...

Apply Rule 1: Compare Positions

1. White's king is safe.

2. White has a protected passed pawn.

3. White has no serious weaknesses.

4. Black's kingside is weak (h6 and e6 are weaknesses).

5. Black's pieces are stuck. Only black's queen looks fine on b7.

6. Exchanges of all pieces are unfavourable for black.


Apply Rule 2: Look For Plus and Minus Points in Both Camps
1. Black's king is very weak.

2. White has a passed pawn, which we he will try to use for long term.

3. White has excellent piece activity.


Apply Rule 3: ALWAYS play with your plus points instead of your weak points
1. Black's king is very weak.

2. White has a passed pawn, which we he will try to use for long term.

3. White has excellent piece activity.


Apply Rule 4: Check Attacking Pieces

1.Both white rooks seems strong.

2. Queen is active on e3.

3. Knight on f3 is aiming towards g5 square.


Apply Rule 5: Check Opponent's Defensive Pieces
1. Both rooks and knights seem to be defensive pieces.

Apply Rule 6: Instead of just moves, play with an idea
1. We know that black's king is vey weak, so we can try to make a plan to open it so that candidates may come in. I immediately think Ng5+. Of course, when you try to play attacking chess, then you must try to force your opponent to play forcing lines which you created with your ideas. So Ng5+ looks forcing.


Apply Rule 7: Maintain Plus Positions
1. You can not allow any kind of fortress by black, or things will get worse for white .


Apply Rule 8: Do Not Be Greedy or Lose Your Patience
1. In this position, white has many ways to play. For example: If you played might play h5 hoping for a fortress, so never lose patience.


Apply Rule 9: Check Your Opponent's Last Moves and Ideas


Apply Rule 10: Imagine The Position You Would Like To See
1. Try to imagine the position well. Like in this current position, if white will go for a knight endgame, then maybe black hopes for some sort of blockade. Queen endgames also give chances to white. Pawn endgames easily favour white because of the passed 'd-pawn' .


Apply Rule 11: Timing and Move Order of Plans Are Necessary
1. Timing is really important in chess. For example: If you have a plan or move which will give you a checkmate combination and you missed it, you may not see it again.


Apply Rule 12: Play Your Pieces First Instead of Pawns
1. Always try to look for the routes or plans which include piece-play, which is often stronger than pawn play.


Apply Rule 13: Exploit Your Opponent's Weaknesses
1. In the above diagram, white has the chance to exploit black's king. So weakness in black's camp is his king.


Apply Rule 14: Always Play With Co-Ordinated Pieces
1. White's pieces seem more co-ordinated, so he will have to look for combinations.




So by applying these above rules, we understand that this position gives white serious advantages, but he has to find the correct way of playing this position. In the actual game, white missed opportunities and lost. But he also lost a lot of drawing chances too.

Now after understanding the points from above, please try to understand this position as white and find the best way to exploit it...