IM Yaacov Norowitz Teaches Harmony in Chess (Part 2)

IM Yaacov Norowitz Teaches Harmony in Chess (Part 2)

IM Yaacovn
Nov 16, 2015, 7:47 PM |


This is IM Yaacov Norowitz with the second installment of Harmony in Chess. If you haven't seen the first edition yet, just click here

As you may know, I have a unique approach to chess, which I use in my own games as well as to teach my students. I call it the Dacha Approach, which is based on building on the light and dark squares in harmony, with the pieces as builders and the pawns as bricks. Both the pieces and the pawns work together to achieve harmony.

The first video explained bishops, and how only playing for one color and ignoring the other will lead to a bad and possibly lost position, but by rebuilding for the loss of the bishops you can create a solid position. This video goes deeper into this, but also discusses a key principle: If you have better pieces on light or dark then your opponent, that is the color which you have the power to control. This not only involves bishops, but all of the pieces, specifically the knights, and in this example, also the queen.


The beginning reviews video #1, and if you haven't viewed that I highly advise it before moving on to this lesson:

Let's break down what we have just observed:

The first principle which is introduced is that of pieces being worth money for their colors. For simplicity, we'll use this system: Bishops are worth $1000 for the color which they are on, and $0 on the other color, because bishops are good, long-range pieces, but they only control one color, as they can never jump to the other color. However, knights, which CAN jump from color to color (In fact, whenever you move a knight it controls the other color) is worth something for both light and dark. But knights are short range pieces, unlike bishops, and in some positions a knight wil be worthless, such as not being able to get back in time to stop a promotion, etc. They are valued at around the same value as a bishop because they can control both colors, and although they can only control one color at a time, the ability to choose which color they control makes their value $500 for light and $500 for dark, monetary equal to the bishop and generally approximately equal to the bishop.

Our opening position is a Sicilian Grand Prix, in which white has more kingside space than black. This system is known as an anti-sicilian opening, because it avoids common lines in the Sicilian and it doesn't give white a disadvantage, as the evaluation is about equal.

As we reach this position, I'd like to point out a few key things.

1) White has moved two pawns and two knights. He has commited to moving both the e and f pawns up at least 2, which weakens the kingside but gives white space. Black has moved two pawns, a bishop, and a knight, and his c pawn is comitted towards occupying central space, while he has created a structure on the kingside where the bishop controls the dark squares and the pawns control the light squares (known as a fianchetto). 

2) Control over squares: The White knight on C3 controls light. The knight on F3 controls dark. The e4 pawn controls light, and the f4 pawn controls dark. White therefore has an even balance of control over the light and dark squares, so although, as we will see, he may be slightly vulnerable on both, none of them is weak enough to be called a weakness. Black's knight on c6 controls dark, his bishop on g7 controls dark, his pawn on c5 controls dark, and the g6 pawn is a light brick. Therefore, black's plan is to mostly control the dark squares. The main fight is over dark, because the knight on c3 controls the same center squares as the e4 pawn does. As we will see, these plans change slightly over the course of the game.


Here comes a key moment in the opening: white plays Bb5, which on the surface looks like a pin to nothing which a beginner might play. But in actuality, the plan to trade the bishop for the knight is very important, and as we will see, a key to white's middle game attack. 

One of my students was interested in this position, and checked a database to see how white performed in these position. He was surprised to find that in master games, black performs better unless white plays Bb5, which is the most common move here.  The dacha method will prove why this is true.

Black plays a6, telling white, "You think you're so smart for pinning my knight to nothing? Give me the bishop pair!" White obliges because, of course, that was his idea to begin with. After BxN and Pawn takes back, the money has exchanged hands: White has relinquished $1000 of light to gain back $500 of dark and $500 of light- a net gain of $500 dark and a net loss if $500 light. Therefore, if white ever decides to attack on dark he will have a solid attack, and if black tries to on light he will have a nice attack. However, as we will see, it simply takes too long for black to do anything on light after white uses a simple dacha rebuilding method: A mini-bishop.

This nice d3 move does basically everything you could want from the pawns: It makes up for the lack. This pawn chain has no general money value, but, although a bishop is better, this is pretty good, don't you think? It makes up for the loss of the bishop. White realizes that black can attack on light squares, and if white's pawns don't stop black, black's light builders will dominate. That's why he needs these light bricks to prevent anything bad from happening on light.

It is important to note that the only thing stopping white from winning on dark is that bishop on g7. If that bishop is gone, the dark squares are too weak and black might as well hand them all over (and the game).

Both sides castle and we, again, have reached a critical position. White will continue to develop, but how should he do it? Keep in mind that white has more dark. That means that we can start an attack on dark.

Qe1 is a great move to make use of our dark money. Great job if you saw this beautiful dacha move. 

We have reached another important point in the game. Black has expanded on the queenside. It's white's turn to take control of the kingside. 

WOW! What a beautiful game and an incredible dacha, and a nice way to finish it off. White used harmony, created bricks, used his builders to attack, and even used a remove the defender tactic before finishing off black in the early middlegame. Isn't it incredible how white was able to finish black off just by utilizing his pieces to make a dacha and attack the dark squares until the end? I think that this game just shows the power of the dacha methods.

I hope you enjoyed. Feel free to comment or ask any questions. You can view my coaching profile here, and my email is if you want to get in contact or if you are interested in lessons.

Until next time,

IM Yaacov Norowitz