Webinar 42. How to Play with a Closed Center

Webinar 42. How to Play with a Closed Center

FM Gertsog

Dear Chess Friends!

When I conduct lessons for beginners, I usually recommend them to play open positions. Why? It’s much easier to find a good move in the open position. Usually open positions also have some tactical opportunities, but what is more important, in open position you have to calculate more. And, you know, calculation skills are more important for beginners. At the level below 1500 Elo you may misunderstand the position, but if you are able to calculate the lines properly, you will definitely find a way to improve your position and get the advantage.

As for club players, they also should be able to play closed position and, of course, they should understand them: what plans to apply, what ideas to follow and what to expect from your opponent. Yes, there is still a chance to improve the position with a tactical solution, but both players usually are able to see the tactics.

How to play in closed positions? Especially in positions with a closed center? What do you think?

Of course, the plan depends not only on the pawn structure, but also on the pieces’ locations. However, there are some typical ideas and plans that might work for this type of the position. And I’m sure you should learn them!

Such pawn formation happens very often in such openings like King’s Indian Defense, Queen’s Indian Defense, Benoni Defense, Philidor Defense and many other. White definitely has more space here and can, for example, initiate a pawn march (“h” & “g” pawns) on the kingside. Black usually tries to get any counter-play with f7-f5 sometimes combining it with a queenside activity.

At the same time some other plans are possible: white can play b4 with the idea to open and then occupy the b-file, while black in such a case tries to attack on the kingside with f7-f5. And, of course, we shouldn’t forget about white idea to play f2-f4, but it works only in case if black knight can’t reach the e5-square.

Would you like to watch how these plan work in practice? If so, please, join my next 42nd webinar - “How to Play with a Closed Center”

I’m going to illustrate everything by the examples of games played by top grandmasters and, of course, explain the ideas behind their moves:

  • Yuri Averbakh – Boris Spassky
  • Lev Polugaevsky – Efim Geller
  • Vassily Smyslov – Yuri Nikolaevsky 

The webinar starts on Sunday (26th of July) at 10 a.m. (EDT), 2 p.m. (GMT), 5 p.m. (Moscow time). This webinar is free.

Please, register for the webinar with this link:


Please, don’t forget to register in advance and reserve your spot in case of high number of attendees.

See you on the webinar!

FM Victor Neustroev