You're In My Way: Limiting Piece Activity

You're In My Way: Limiting Piece Activity

Jan 25, 2010, 3:25 AM |
This is the second installment of my blog. Last time I presented you a game illustrating the concept of poison pawn. This time I'll speak a little bit about limiting the enemy pieces.

Limiting the Enemy Pieces

When you read annotated games you often bump into a few ideas: piece activity, space advantage, mobility and range. All those fancy terms boil down to one thing: the possibility of your pieces to move freely around the board and participate in the game. In a Rook Vs King endgame, clearly, the rook can freely stomp around the board. This is not the case when the same rook is in an extremely closed game or severely displaced. You, as a player should not forget to allow your pieces freedom of movement and deny this freedom to the enemy's pieces. Look at this position:

In this position, the black pieces are terribly misplaced. Even though the player have material advantage, the position in which his pieces are make his situation bad. The rook on the a-file has just one square to move on, the bishop and the knight are blocked, only the h-rook have some chance for play after some pawn exchanges on the kingside. The white bishop rules the long h1-a8 diagonal, his rooks can move around freely, the queenside pawns will overwhelm the black.
Now, look at the following position. Before reading to the right of the diagram, try to pinpoint at least 3 negative sides of the black position.
- The light-squared bishop of the black has nowhere to move as if he doesn't participate in the game.
- The a8 rook is out of the game.
- The black queen is also out of the action.
- The black knight has only one outpost (f5) but it will have difficulties getting there unless he obstruct the movements of the other black pieces.
- The black king doesn't have a safe place.
So, how was this achieved? Go through the tightly annotated game below. The game illustrates the principle of limiting the enemy's pieces but also touches upon initiative, pawn structure and king safety.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of my blog. Next time I'll continue with "Castling Into Trouble". Untill then, if you have any game in which you or your opponent tried to activelly limit your pieces, I'll be glad to know - post it here!