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Learning Chess Part III - Position!

Feb 17, 2010, 5:43 PM 0

------Position and the Order of Moves DOES Matter------

How many times have you looked at someone else's game and though, "Why didn't he take that..." "Why didn't he do this..." "He should of..."?  Now you could be right in seeing something the other guy missed, but when watching a high rated game and they are doing these things and you still ask those questions, chances are they are seeing things you aren't.

So then what is it? What is it they see that you aren't seeing? Hopefully you figured out based on this title: Position!

80% of all beginners ignore and do not consider position when playing. (Data based on countless seconds of making up.)

How can one hope to improve on this concept though? Luckily it can (not always) be easy.  Take a look at the diagram below. It's your move (White), what are you going to do about that evil Knight on b4 that's aiming at your light Bishop on d3? You can opt for a trade by capturing it. In fact, most beginners would. But you're no beginner are you? Noooo.... So what're we gonna do about that Knight?

Answer: Jack, nadda, squat, zero, nothing! In fact, I (and you guys ) are probably HOPING he'll take that Bishop. Why? Well materially we'll still be at the same score as before, but the order of moves determined a different positional outcome.

As a chess player, you need to begin to consider the beginning and end of any trading that may occur.  Case 1: If we capture the Knight, Black will recapture with the pawn, opening up a nice little a-file, which could start to prepare an attack, along with pushing up the pawn for even more support.

Case 2: Now if we do NOTHING, (in fact, this turn could be best spent planning another attack/advancing elsewhere, or maybe defending.) doing nothing about it, we are making the assumption that our opponent will make the move to trade.  If Black captures, we can take with our Rook! Now although it is Black's turn, our position is MUCH better, even though materially it is still the same score.  This position, we could set up our other Rook behind, doubling up and setting up a strong attack!

To make it easier to visualize, for those having difficulty. I have presented the scenario below with both variations.

------A Played Out Game------

Some might be thinking? Alright, so all you did was think of the possibilities and best move, so....what?  Exactly! That's all it takes! Sometimes the best move is simply WAITING, let the enemy choose to take or not.  If he doesn't take, maybe he's waiting for YOU to set him up better positionally.

Start considering different move orders! It's NOT JUST about material.  If they don't take, hey lookie-there, you still got your piece which you are using. If they do, hey lookie-here, you end up with a strong, if not stronger, position from it. Aren't win-win situations great?!  So set them up!

------Practicing for Yourself!------

In these puzzles, you're gonna have to set up the position, choose whether to take or not, and complete the final resulting position. No hints on this one, sorry! Best of luck! (Though you don't luck anyways do you? )

This second puzzle is very complicated, I apologize. It may also (and probably) isn't in an order that White may respond to, but after making the moves, I hope you can understand it and come up with the reasons for the move order!

Thanks for reading! Till next time. If anyone has any specific topic in mind that I could write on, or they'd like for me to write on, please inform me and I'd love to give it a shot in hopefully making it clearer! :)

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