We're learning chess strategy from the classic My System by Aaron Nimzovich. I'm your guide, likesforests. Grab a cold one, pull up a chair, and enjoy. :)
§1.6 - Avoid grabbing pawns in the opening
Nimzowitsch spends a chapter explaining that it's wrong to take free pawns in the opening (except central pawns, which are worth the risk). Don't believe him. Strong players take free pawns all the time. But know the costs. Most pawns aren't free. You must spend time capturing them and retreating, and you open additional lines of attack for your opponent.
You have to weigh carefully whether the benefit outweights the risks.
shoshaz1-likesforests 1-0, chess.com
You know me, always trying to apply these principles in real games.
Question: Is 1...Qxb2 sound?
Answer: After 1...Qxb2 2.O-O Bxc2! not only is Black up two pawns, but he's also prevented White from using the newly opened b-file. So yes, it's a fine move.
Illustrative Games for Chapter One
Nimzowitsch - Alapin. This was an unofficial game played between the two somewhere between 1911 and 1914. It's as instructive as it is entertaining. Challenge yourself to understand the moves that surprise you, and try to guess White's moves 12-18.
Teichmann - Nimzowitsch, Karlsbad 1911. This is a serious tournament game. Teichmann wore an eye patch and is famous for saying, "Chess is 99% tactics." Only the first 25 moves illustrate chapter one, but the endgame after 31.Qxe1 is also interesting.
Chapter One is over. Woohoo! If you've absorbed all or most of the knowledge in these first five lessons you'll probably see your opening play improve. :)
I welcome criticism and even praise if you feel it's deserved. Lesson 6 will be out next Friday... if you haven't already, Add me as a Friend to enjoy it hot off the press!