Learn Pafu's Beginner's Game - Move 9: Continuing Play After the Opening

Sep 26, 2016, 8:45 PM |

(This post is part of a series on The Beginner's Game, an opening system by Pafu. It is written by Christopher Huff.)

Pafu summarizes: "The Beginner's Game is a fixed position reached after eight moves." ...But what about after those eight moves?

Here is an idea of what typical continuing play looks like, with excerpts from games we'll examine later.


Typical Next Steps:

Based on the fact that typical next moves right after the opening that occur often fall into a pattern, the author gives us a set of recommendations for beginners and one for experienced players:


Pafu's Recommended Next Steps (primarily for Beginners)

  • "Push one or both rook pawns" Experienced players are advised to push only one.
  • "Castle king side" The Queen side he reserves for experienced players
  • "Push knight pawn if bishop can be attacked" This is really your only defense of the fianchettoed bishop, so heed this advice of his very well!
  • "Push queen bishop pawn" The utility of this push will be discussed later.
  • "Relocate Queen to Queen Bishop 2" A particular square for a beginner's Queen is advised by Pafu: (c2 for White, c7 for Black)
  • "Relocate one or both knights" Most likely into the attack -- for a bishop exchange! 
  • "Relocate rook to Queen 1 or King 1" Centralizing and thus mobilizing rooks, a post-castle move common to classical chess theory too. (d1 or e1 for White, d8 or e8 for Black) Experienced players are just advised to relocate them.
  • "Avoid center pawn exchanges" This can be done either by pushing past threats or, less often, reinforcing the squares. Experienced players are recommended by Pafu to exchange center pawns.
  • "Keep pawns mostly in chains."


Normally YOU will attack -- after preparing solid defense

Directly after the opening moves, it's best to attack, says Pafu. This normally happens with pawn breaks, and often rook pawns first. Any central bishops of your adversary's need to get kicked around by your knight pawn. Both bishop pawns can advance to challenge the opponent's center. "Central pawn advances are always strong as well," writes Pafu; in Game #2 we saw Beginner's Game as Black and a pawn break was made immediately, imposing itself on a completely ideal center, dominated by white.


Examples of Continuing Play after Move 8:

In Game #1. White. 

White here played "five of the most commonly seen continuation moves:" The first four are shown below. First we look into knight moves:

Click here for Full analysis of Game #1
Game #20. Black.
In this game Black decides on both rook pawn advances, striking at the king side of the center with e5 and f5, castles, and sends his knights into the fray. Exchanging his knight for a bishop comes after these. This game is all about when to strike at the center:
Full analysis of Game #20 later.
Pafu: "Deciding how and when to strike at the center is a critical aspect of play after the opening," considering your opponent will consistently own the entire center with a heavy amount of protection. Some chess vision required in order to make exchanges and pawn breaks that work out for you properly. Pafu's advice is to keep it simple at the start.
Game #4. Black. sees Black castling, then single rook pawn, then strikes at white's center, mounting up on e4 (which is well defended).
Click here for Full analysis of Game #4.
Game #6. Black. plays the Beginner's Game, forcing white retreat with an e5 advance. The placement by move 15 is worthy of emulation:
Click here for Full analysis of Game #6.
Pafu considers the bishops well placed as-is in the standard position.
Game #7. White.
Queen moves after the opening "are used either to relocate the queen nearby or to recapture when your opponent exchanges his bishop for one of your knights. Most common squares: Queen Bishop 2 [c2], with Queen 2 [d2] and King 2 [e2] as secondary preferences."
Click here for Full analysis of Game #7.
Game #15: White.
Full analysis of Game #15 later.
In all, a king side castle is always recommended by Pafu, for its ease and safety. Queen side castling is an option Pafu reserves for when "you know you are stronger than your opponent," as it does have some value in strengthening ("will intensify") your king side attack against your opponent into an "overwhelming assault."
Game #9. White.
Full analysis of Game #9 later.
Pafu here refers to "another strength of the Beginner's Game, that the castled position pawns also participate actively in the attack," an advantage -- in addition to a more active king and mobilized back-rank rooks -- that he says classical chess cannot offer. The strongest placement of your rook, he continues, is opposite the adversary queen."
Game #8. Black. The final miniature here to illustrate the moves following the opening has a natural expansion of Black's position, "as white continually loses mobility." Black's rooks and bishops are particularly strong.
Click here for Full analysis of Game #8.
These miniatures illustrate important points about immediate next moves following the predetermined Beginner's Game opening. Next time we'll look at example games in more detail. See you then!