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Jul 8, 2009, 1:40 PM 0


The choice of plan is in every case dependent on the concrete position on the board; it must therefore correspond to that position. To judge a position correctly and recognize its peculiarities is an essential prerequisite for finding a suitable strategic plan. We man therefore ask what factors determine the character of a position and how the strategic plan can thereby be deduced. Naturally this cannot be answered in on chapter; it is the basic question with which the whole of this book is concerned. But we can briefly say that the character of a position is determined by the following factors:

1.      The material relationship; that is, material equality or the material superiority   of one side.  

2.      The power of the individual pieces.

3.      The quality of the individual pawns.

4.      The position of the pawns; that is, the pawn structure.

5.      The position of the Kings.

6.      Co-operation amongst the pieces and pawns.

Some of the factors that determine the character of the position are lasting, others temporary. An important lasting factor is the quality and position of the pawns, for these cannot, in contrast to the pieces, be easily taken from one side of the board to the other; the positions of the pawns as a rule only change gradually, whereas the pieces can mostly take up a new post without undue difficulty. As a result we have the apparent contradiction that it is the pawns, despite their relatively small value, which largely determine the character of the position. Other lasting factors are material superiority and, in many cases, the positions of the Kings.

Now let us look at some positions and see how their characters are determined and how the correct strategic plan is chosen.

In Diagram 1 we have a position from a rarely played variation of the Ruy Lopez. In practice this position has not yet been sufficiently tried out and the theoreticians have differing views on it. We notice that Black has a material advantage of two pawns, not counting that on d6, which cannot be held; he is, however, behind in development and his pieces are passively played. White, on other hand, has his Queen, Knight Bishop actively placed and his Rooks are ready to join in the fight along any of the open files. These factors determine the character of the position and point to the plan to be adopted by both players, which is as follows:

1.      White must his better posted pieces to create tactical threats and to launch a direct onslaught on the opposing King; typical threats would be B x QP, Q –KR5, R-K1,

N-KN5, etc.

2.      Black must attempt to parry the immediate threats, complete his development and convert his material advantage by simplification.









                     Diagram 1














                    Diagram 2

It is only by accurate and deep analysis of the possibilities of both players that we can state whether White or Black has the better prospects with his plan. 


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