Understanding is the key in chess

Understanding is the key in chess

Aug 24, 2012, 8:59 AM |

Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. - The art of war - Sun Tzu - 600 B.C.

Reti writes,

Anderssen possessed that talent (aptitude for combinations) no less than Morphy and in addition, more imagination than the latter.  The deciding advantage in Morphys favour, was the fact that he was the first positional player - Richard Reti - Modern ideas in chess, page 8.

From Morphy we learn to develop our pieces quickly, which is sound advice indeed, but as chess knowledge and understanding progressed, development for developments sake was not enough and thus, it is from Capablanca that we learn to develop our pieces according to positional and strategic principles. Please consider the following, simple pawn diagram.


Now here is where understanding comes in to play, we do not need to learn endless reams of opening theory, we simply need to understand the relevant pawn structures, plans and piece placements associated with those structures. 

For example from this simple diagram, from whites perspective, it is apparent that a knight belongs on e5 or c5, a rook on c1, a bishop on d3, the natural place to castle is kingside, our queens bishop can go to d2, our queens knight to c3, thus we can fight for e4, prepare d4-d5, try to prevent c5 or e5, go for a minority attack, etc etc

This takes very little memory and practically no theory, but a proper understanding of the position based on pawn structure. In addition we can study master games and see where they put their pieces, how they carried out their plans and the benefit is, that our learning will become joyful as we really understand the position.

Just by way of example, a master game, which demonstrates in this instance, the strategic plan, based upon the pawn structure, of fighting for the e4 square.

wish you well with your chess - regards Robbie.

constructive comments are most welcome :)