How to Control the Center (and Why It's Important)

How to Control the Center (and Why It's Important)

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Dear Chess Friends!

Have you ever heard such a phrase “controlling the center is to control the game”? I believe yes, because it’s absolute truth. The side who controls the middle of the board (or the center) usually has more options to play and dominates in the game.

Why? Because everything goes through the center: you can relocate your pieces through the center faster, a piece standing in the center can participate in a play on both sides of the board!

Do you want to learn how to get the control over the center and dominate in the game? I hope yes! If so, please, watch this video How to control the middle of the board (and why it’s important)”, because in this video I prepared 5 tips for you that can practically help to control the center in your games.

One of the reasons that the center is important is that the chess piece that control more central squares is located much better and as a result has more possibilities. Also, the number of squares that your pieces control is vital for determining how much influence they have on the game.

5 Practical tips to get the control over the center:


  • Occupy the center with your pawns

If you want to control the center get your pawns there. The pawn in the center occupies a central square and also attack another central square.

  • Fight for space in the center

If you get a space advantage it automatically means that your pieces get more room to maneuver. More room means more possibilities and creativity to your future attack.

  • Move your pieces to control more central squares

If you control more central squares than your opponent you restrict his pieces activity. In such a case he should find something if he wants to improve his pieces, but sometimes it’s just impossible. And, of course, you know if a player doesn’t have a clear plan, he starts to make mistakes.

  • Neutralize or chase enemy pieces that control the center

How to neutralize enemy pieces? Just trade them, pin them. And, of course, you can chase them with your pawn, but it shouldn’t weaken your position!

  • Exchange a flank pawn for a central pawn

We already know that pawns play a very important role in control over the center and the central pawns play an even more important role than flank pawns. Therefore, it is often a good idea if you can exchange a flank pawn for a central pawn. It would mean that you have an extra central pawn – which is to your advantage.

And now I’m going to illustrate why it’s important to get the control over the middle of the board and how to exploit it! This is my student’s game played in Evans Gambit! White sacrifices a pawn, but develops his pieces faster and occupies the center with 2 pawns.

In this article (and video) you learned practical tips to get the control over the center of the board and successfully exploit it! Ok, guys, try to implement these ideas into your games and, please, share your results after that.

Best Regards,

FM Viktor Neustroev

My name is Victor Neustroev. I'm a FIDE Master with Elo rating 2305.

Experienced chess coach specializing in tactics and openings. An author of educational chess courses on different learning platforms.

The coach of the champion of Siberia among girls under 9!

Affordable rates! A test lesson is also possible!

I'm 34. I live in Russia, Novosibirsk. I learned to play chess when I was 5. I regularly won prizes at Novosibirsk region Championship and Siberia Chess Championship among juniors. I'm a champion of Novosibirsk City Chess Club at 2002 and a champion of Novosibirsk at 2019.

I got Master's Degree in Economics at Novosibirsk State University and also played for its chess team.

Today I am focusing on teaching chess online and offline. The reason why I do this is because I feel happy when see how my students achieve success.


I teach juniors since 2002. Almost all of my students were ranked. Some of them got prizes at Novosibirsk region Championship.
I also work with adults.


I will teach you how to find tactical strikes in certain position types and how to classify them. I can help you to improve you calculational ability. I also teach you chess openings and I believe you know how important they are. According to the statistics right-playing of the opening makes from 30 to 60% of your success (the exact number depends on your level).
Please, check my youtube videos to know how I teach and what you will achieve working with me.