Chapter 1 - How to Reassess Your Chess (4th edition) by IM Silman (Part 2)

Aug 27, 2014, 2:26 PM |

The next example demonstrates how basic imbalance dialogue can even help solve double-edged, complicated positions:

L.v. Nisipeanu - V. Milov, Warsaw 2005

Diagram 19 - White to move











  1. White could focus on thoughts of the potentially weak pawns on a6c5e4f2, and h2, but he knows from experience that such a dynamic position calls for a dynamic solution.
  2. The Knight is pinned, if the Bishop wasn't on h6, Qh8+ would win.
  3. If Qf6 was possible, that would win the Knight.
  4. if d5-d6 could be played, that would open the a2-g8 diagonal for white's light-squared Bishop - a fact that might well increase the power of an attack against black's King.
If we look for a move that addresses all these factors, it would be 1.Bf4, but that loses to 1...Qxf4 2.Qh8+ Ke7 3.Qxg7 Qxf2+. So Bf4 would be ideal if it couldn't be taken.

Many players would just give up on it and play something like 1.Bg5, which also embraces some of the points we discussed - 1...Kg8 allows White to unleash the passed d-pawn by 2.Be7, and 1...Qxh2 loses outright to 2.Qxh2 Bxh2 3.Rh1, where a retreat by black's Bishop allows a landing on h8.

Thus, after 1.Bg5, Black pretty much has to block the h-file with 1... Nh5 when 2.Qxe4 is obviously good for White, but one gets the impression that he should have been able to do much better.


You now know what an imbalance is. You know that imbalances can help you figure out what's going on in most positions. And you know that achieving a firm understanding of each individual imbalance will catapult you past the players that you considered to be your equals. 


  •  Remember those imbalances! (List in Part 1 and mnemonic below)
  • An imbalance is any significant difference in the two respective positions.
  • If you want to be successful, you have to base your moves and plans of the specific imbalance-oriented criteria that exist in the given position, not on your mood, tastes, and/or fears!
  • Imbalances act as a roadmap that shows each side what to do.
  • Imbalance Consciousness is a state where the use of imbalances becomes a natural and often unconscious process.
  • Imbalances are the doorway to planning.
  • The imbalances alone will lead you to the right move(s) in most positions, or even help you create a detailed plan.
  • The initiative is a physical manifestation of a psychological battle-both sides champion their view of things in the hope that the opponent will have to eventually forgo his own plans and react to yours. Thus, I usually refer to it as Pushing Your Own Agenda.
  • A chess engine can be very useful, but it can also turn into a crutch that actually prevents you from improving.
  • The Armageddon Discourse is a basic thinking stage where you look for traps, threats, and tactical themes. This is usually done subconsciously by players 1800 and up. However, if you are lower rated, are prone to blunders, or feel that you have serious tactical issues, then it's a good idea to take a few moments to get on top of this stuff.

  • Thank you to the wise author whose words I have merely copied and only slightly altered or omitted when necessary.
  • Feel free to come and study IM Jeremy Silman's book with us at our study group :)

A Mnemonic device for remembering the imbalances:

SPS = Space, MC = MC, CLIKS = Clicks.

Imagine an MC in space clicking his microphone.