Lesson 4. Advantage in Development

Feb 5, 2013, 2:42 AM |

Pawn-Grabbing in the Opening


Nimzowitsch says: "What, therefore, the inexperienced player, young or old, must take to heart is the commandment: Never play to win a pawn while your development is as yet unfinished!”


He then goes on to give this exception: "A centre pawn should always be taken if this can be done without too great danger …  for thus you will get the possibility of expansion at the very spot around which in the opening stages the fight usually sways, namely the centre."


Once again, this advice is explicitly directed to the amateur. And yet, leading chess masters during Nimzowitsch’s time (say, from 1910 to 1935) were disinclined to go hunting for pawns in the opening. Here, too, the modem view is distinctly more liberal. Centre pawns are still captured when possible, but Hank pawn raids are also common from the outset of the game.


Let’s see if we can understand why, In the first place, the capture of a flank pawn often involves more than the mere trade of material for time and development. Frequently, the disappearance of a flank pawn undermines the gambiteer’s interior defences, or it can allow a cramping spatial advantage for the grabber, since his pawns may advance on the same side of board with less resistance.


The opening is a most important stage of the game because it is in the opening that you will begin to place your forces for the battle that lies ahead and it is in the opening that you will begin to make your plans. Good opening play can set you on the road to victory whereas bad opening play can quickly lead to disaster.


There are many different openings for White and defences for Black, and they range from very sound to extremely risky. What you choose to play will be according to your style and your temperament. Look at the bookstall at any chess congress and you will find countless books written on every one of these countless openings. You will find countless (well, upwards of ten thousand) moves in each book. What should you learn? What should you know?


You should leam the basic principles of opening play as they are explained on the next few pages here and then leam the basic ideas behind the openings and defences you intend to play. Don‘t spend too much time memorizing moves and variations. lf you understand the principles you will be able to work out many of the basic moves for yourself.


Can you see why Black lost the following game?


1 e4 e5 2 d4 exd4 3 c3 dxc3 4 Bc4 cxb2 5 Bxb2 Qg5 6 Nf3 Qxg2 7 Bxf7+ Kd8 8 Rg1 Bb4+ 9 Nc3 Qh3 10 Rg3 Qh6 11 Qb3 Bxc3 12 Qxc3 Nf6 13 Rg6 hxg6  14 Qxf6 gxf6 15 Bxf6# 1-0

Paris in 1879 was the scene of this glorious massacre. Schnitzler (White) was the winner and Alexandre (Black) his unfortunate victim.


To understand why Black lost, we need to look back at the final position of the game shown in the above video. Black has a Queen, a Rook and a Pawn for a Bishop - certainly a big material advantage!

But what can BIack’s pieces do? And what have they actually done during the game?


Very little!


Four of Black’s five pieces never moved in the whole game. Two of them cannot move even now. All of White’s pieces took part in his attack except the a1-Rook, which was always ready to leap into action if needed.



Your first job in a game of chess is to develop your pieces. You need to bring each piece out and put it on a square where it will be safe and where it will be well placed when you need it to attack or to defend.


Development will become a race. If you win the race, your pieces will be first into action and you will be ready to meet anything your opponent may throw at you!

Source : http://www.icschess.com