Hou Yifan v Vladimir Kramnik, Dortmund 2015
As amateur player we have a tendency to look for killer moves, which is in itself the correct approach because probably the vast majority of our games are decided by tactical means. We may also have a tendency to sharpen the game either because we don't know what else to play or we have not honed our positional understanding and evaluation skills to such an extent that we are able to utilise it as much as we would like. As we progress in chess and play persons who are higher rated they don't make as many tactical errors and its thus much more difficult to play for tactical shots and what we need to do is to gradually accumulate small advantages knowing that they will eventually accumulate into a large advantage in some form.
The above game is a wonderful example of accumulating small advantages in the form of development, piece placement and initiative which eventually overcomes an opponent that did not make any really serious tactical mistakes. Hou Yifan is a truly gifted and wonderful player but its the positional genius of Vladimir Kramnik which tells in this extraordinary encounter. Kramnik sacrifices a pawn and his pieces are activated, the Rook on the a file and the queen on the d file. Hou Yifan has by contrast trouble finding good squares for her pieces. Kramnik then leaves his rook enprise after a series of exchanges prepared to give up two rooks for the queen knowing that the resultant position will be both positionally and tactically favourable for black. It is a positional master class from the former world champion.