Learning Chess Part II - Light vs. Dark

Feb 8, 2010, 11:36 PM |

For Part II of the series, I will explain another concept that is relatively simple, yet may not be considered by beginners until they choose to actually start learning:

------Light Squares vs. Dark Squares------

Let us begin with common sense. In the diagram below, what bishop do you think would have an easier time infiltrating your opponent's base? Your Light Squared Bishop (l.Bishop) or Dark Squared (d.Bishop)?


I REALLY hope you said the l.Bishop, because then yes, you'd be correct.  There are many games at a multitude of rating levels where similar pawn structures are made.  The stonewall pawn structure is a well known term, and use in games.  Here are two examples of stonewalls:
Both of these are stonewalls. You can clearly see White's in the center of the board, which can help in reaffirming control of the center.
However, Black's stonewall is being used kind of as a "sword-and-shield" with the tucked-in d.Bishop.

Now the reason such pawn structures hold importance to us in this lesson is so that I can introduce you to the (obvious) term Light/Dark Square Weak/Strong.

Looking at White's structure in the center again, we need to analysis this to come up with the importance of our pieces at this given point in the game.  You got 2 Bishops, l. and d., and 2 Knights.  Now which pieces would be most vital in keeping here?.........

#1: D. Bishop, because he can bypass this defense!
#2: Knights, in case of a closed game (or if against a stonewall such as one in Black's position, to assist in getting through).
#3: L. Bishop, because for him to get through, he's gotta maneuver around the pawns.

Taking a look back at the first diagram, we would call Black's set up (and it's only move 3!) as being dark sq strong, and light sq weak.  Taking notice of such things can help in utilizing these weaknesses against your opponent.

------A Played Out Game------
Now, we have already focused on using the opposite colored bishop in assisting us when going against our opponent; what we HAVEN'T covered is using this information defensively.

How do we do that?  Well, common sense tells us that a d.Bishop can only (I don't think that chess rule will be changing anytime soon).  Sooooooo.....? How do you make a d.Bishop useless? By getting as many of your pieces to be on light squares right?!?

I can't really make a puzzle on this topic, as it requires multiple moves that could realistically be done in a multitude of ways and orders.  As such, I hope that this last game can help support this concept into your head:
I had went ahead and put a quick notice for people to pay attention to the Queen in the last game above for a particular reason: we haven't covered her yet.

We know that the Queen has the ability to go on either color square, but it is utilizing it through quick analysis of your game that can help shift tempo in your favor, maybe not immediately in the game, but eventually.  White's Queen starts out on light squares, Black's on dark.  With this, when you are one or the other, a simple "side-step" may help in creating a whole new shift in the game in your favor!

And hopefully when that happens, you'll post it up on here as a proud keep-sake for yourself! ^_^

Till part III - Best chess playing to us all! (No clue what it's gonna be about.)