Playing 'untactically' - An illustrative game with focus on piece placement.

CM juniortay
Jan 14, 2015, 8:24 PM |

Last week, I started initial lessons with a new group of students ranging from ELO 1600-1900+ standard. However, in simul games with them and taking notes during their training games, I noticed that many of them have the tendency to resolve matters tactically most of the time. Even when one side gets a material or big positional advantage, they tend to try forcing matters tactically or going for the big kill when they could simplify to win. For example, in one simul game where I was one pawn and continuing to press hard, a 1900 level student commented that I could play to sacrifice a bishop on the kingside for a huge attack. While the sacrifice looked good, there were still some complications and the situation looked a bit unclear (to me, that is).


From that day's session, I realised it would be beneficial to teach the positional concept of 'improving the scope of one's pieces' to this group, as they could then add another dimension to their play. This week, I focused on the middlegame motif, how to build a position by improving piece placement.

So yesterday, apart from giving them relevant examples, mostly from GM Johan Hellsten's Mastering Chess Strategy (Everyman 2010) - which I highly recommend, I showed them the following game of mine, played two months ago where I basically played 'untactically' and  kept improving the position of my pieces, adjusting to the situation whenever my opponent made weakening moves. The final trebling  of the heavy pieces on the 2nd rank eventually created a strong impression.