How to create a plan in the middlegame? (part 2)

How to create a plan in the middlegame? (part 2)

MatBobula
IM MatBobula
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Here you can read part 1: https://www.chess.com/blog/MatBobula/how-to-create-a-plan-in-the-middlegame-part-1

Using this diagram (black to move), try to follow the steps outlined at the part 1 before comparing with the text below.

I. EVALUATION

1. Material
Both sides have 31 points.
Both sides have equal material.

2. Kings safety
Black's king is 100% safe, while white's castle has no f pawn.
Black is slightly better in king safety.

3. Pawns structure
Black's pawn structure is healthy. White has an isolated pawn on e3 and a backward
pawn on c4.
Black has a better pawn structure.

4. Pieces activity
A good way to compare piece activity is to sum up “activity points”.
White: Qd1 can get maximum 9 points (queen is worth 9pts). In this position it is only
utilizing around half of its potential, so we give it 5 activity points. Rf1 is active, so it
gets 5/5 and Ra1 only 3/5. Bg2 is active, so 3/3, and the knight 2/3. White in total: 18.
Black: Qe7 – 6, Rf8 – 3, Ra8 – 3, Bc8 – 2, Nd8 – 2. Black in total: 16.
Notice that this is very subjective method but if you do it accurately, it shows reality.
White is slightly ahead in activity points.

5. Strategic element
White has an advantage on the semi open f file and on the diagonal h1-a8.
Black has the advantage on c5 is being white's weak square.
Both sides are equal in strategic element.

6. Summary
White has slightly more active pieces, while black has better pawn structure and king’s
position.
Black's position is slightly better.

II. PLANNING

1. Attack or Defense
According to the principles mentioned at theoretical part, black has to attack.

2. Queen's side, center, king's side
Most factors are in the center (isolated and backward pawn, square c5), so attack will
take place there.
Black is going to develop pieces and put pressure at white's backward pawn at c4.
Bishop can attack from e6, rook from c8, and knight can be activated through f7-e5.
Before attacking, push pawns f5 and e4 to prepare space for the knight and interrupt active
bishop at g2.
Knight from e5 does not only attack c4 but also can go to good positions on d3 or f3 in the
future.
Moreover, black cannot let move c pawn forward, in case of danger black can play b6 to block
that possibility.

III. CALCULATION

1. Move candidates
First two moves that come to mind are Ne6 and Be6.

2. Calculate them
1) … Ne6 2) Ne4 Nc5 3) Qd6 and white has gained a slightly better position
1) … Be6 2) Qe2 Rc8 3) a4 f5 4) Rfc1 e4 with the idea of Nf7-e5, black increases
their advantage

3. New ideas
A new idea that has appeared is to push pawn to f5.
1) … f5 2) Nb3 Be6 3) c5 and white is in good position

4. Pick the move
The best move for black is Be6

5. Play the move
Black plays Be6

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