Training game with new student: Space advantage and bad/good bishops

Training game with new student: Space advantage and bad/good bishops

IM RobertRis
Dec 29, 2014, 2:03 PM |

Last week I got in touch with a couple of new students as part of the December offer I published in my previous blogs. One of the training methods I use is playing a couple of games (preferably 10 min per person) to determine the strengths and weaknesses. During and/or after the game we discuss various plans, thought processes calculation moments etc., all with the aim to get a players profile from where we can outline a training program.


On Saturday I had my first lesson with Henrik, who is an avid correspondence player and a big fan of Ulf Andersson's games. You can even check out his blogs here!


As said, we started with a couple of nice blitz games.  In our second game we got an interesting moment which I would like to share with you:



Followers of my blog will recognize a similar structure as in a rapid game I played a couple of months ago and where I managed to win in a convincing manner.


During the game Henrik felt quite optimistic about his own chances here. He stated that my bishop wasn't so great, as it was restricted in its movement by the fixed pawns in the centre.


Although I could understand Henrik's reasoning I had to disagree with him in this sense, as in my opinion several other factors are playing a more important role:

  1. White has a clear space advantage, which makes it easier for him to shuffle around with his pieces and start exerting pressure either on the kingside and/or queenside.
  2. Black's pieces are stuck on the back and aren't doing anything active yet.
  3. How bad is White's bishop if it manages to get an active job elsewhere? And to counter the question; what is the black bishop doing on b7? In the game I succeeded in ugrading my ''bad'' bishop to the hero of the board!


In the diagram Henrik went for the pseudo-active move 13....f5?, which is in fact only helping me to open up the position on the kingside. In the viewer below you can go through the remaining part of the game. Please take note of the helplessness of Black's pieces on the queenside, as they simply fail to offer aid to the black king in time...



I think Henrik find this way of instruction very beneficial, as it helped him to discover:


  • the deficiencies in his repertoire and how he can improve his play next time
  • where he choose the wrong middlegame plan and why it's so important to activate ALL your pieces!
Playing training games and analyze them is an easy, but very helpful way of improving your own play. I'm sure Henrik will bear the fruits of this investment and we are both looking forward to our next training session!