Chess - Play & Learn


FREE - In Google Play

FREE - in Win Phone Store

Paladin and Anti-paladin: A Long-awaited Plan

Paladin and Anti-paladin: A Long-awaited Plan

Apr 10, 2009, 10:15 PM 1

Paladin and Anti-paladin: A Long-awaited Plan


It was about a year ago that I first started writing forum and blog posts on Chess.com.  I thought that I might be able to bring a unique and useful perspective to the community.  It didn’t take me long to find out that I was woefully inadequate in my knowledge of Chess, compared to even the worst players here.  In a way, that was very disappointing, since I wanted to help other players, but it was also an exciting prospect, because I wanted to improve my game too.

It turns out that even the worst players have something to contribute to the game.  Chess is a game that starts with equality and ends based on inequalities.  It’s those inequalities that determine our character and strengths.  Many good players can be beaten when they are faced with tricky openings, unfamiliar traps, or inspired play.  The trick for those of us who aren’t quite so good is to find those situations and use them to our advantage (It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of luck on your side, too).  Situations that give you an advantage are greatly desired by all players, and it’s precisely this reason why we study openings and tactical positions.

To reject a sound plan, based solely on esthetic or personal reasons, doesn’t sound like something an aspiring Chess player would even consider, since improvement is something we all strive for.  Yet there was something that always bothered me about a certain line of play; a line that I faced time and time again, quite often resulting in my downfall, but almost as often leading to disaster for my opponent.  It was a destructive course of action that I took to calling Anti-paladin, for reasons that will soon be made clear.

A paladin, by definition, is an honorable knight.  One who upholds the law and stands for good.  If the paladin is the embodiment of goodness, then it makes sense that the anti-paladin would be the embodiment of evil; diabolic to the end.  To call a strategy an anti-paladin strategy would mean that one has a diabolic plan for one’s opponent.  And specifically, this involves the royal fork by the evil knight.  But much more diabolic than this is the subsequent loss of the game or material because the knight seeks its own violent end.

Let’s look at an illustrative game from my own limited history:


















Earlier, I had mentioned something about colors, and specifically about how Paladin and Anti-Paladin were colorful strategies.  The control of the two black squares in the center of the board are hallmarks of  a Closed defense, which makes your knights very valuable.  Part of the reason why Anti-Paladin fails is because the knight is lost on a mission that he cannot win: to attack the rook on it's starting space.  When you march your knight over to f7, you give up control of d4, e5, and the whole b8-h2 diagonal.  The Closed Sicilian and Bird's opening have this typical characteristic.

Now let's look at Anti-Paladin in a success story...

Online Now