The secret to the mastering of positional play

The secret to the mastering of positional play

IM vinniethepooh

If you think that only tactics in chess are interesting and beautiful- you are yet to see a part of the chess world. True beauty lies in the heart of 'positional chess'.

A lot of people find it boring, and feel that tactics is exciting and the very reason chess is fun. But once one understands the true meaning of positional play- that slow maneuvering, leading to the control of a square, he cannot help but fall in love with it.

By the way, hi friends, this is vinniethepooh! This is my first blog as a top blogger and I would like to thank for this privilege.

Image result for aron nimzowitsch

I believe everyone is familiar with this person. The man who created loads of positional information for us to delve in deeper. The man who wrote a book that would become the basis of learning positional chess for years to come. Centuries to come.

He is none other than Aron Nimzowitsch, the famous author of the largely widespread book "My System".

A lot of players feel that the book is outdated. However, true chess masters also remark that My System is the book every player should read once in his lifetime!

What is the real meaning of positional play? Let us learn from Nimzowitsch:

  • "The well known accumulation of tiny advantages is only the second (or perhaps third) most important; what is far more significant is prophylaxis (anticipation of problems) applied both to moves by our opponent (external) and to our own position (internal)."
  • "Weak points, and even more so strong points, (in short every point which could be described as strategically important) must be overprotected! The pieces which fulfill this duty are rewarded for helping to overprotect the said strategically important points by the fact that they are well-placed when it comes to undertaking other duties; so to express it somewhat dramatically, the importance of the strategic point envelops them in its halo."
  • "The center is like the Balkans of the chessboard. This means that warlike operations are and will never be far away there."

Image result for aron nimzowitsch my system

One of the most classical books in chess, My System- the book which gave chess a new direction- Positional Play.

Let us have a look at a few examples of the ideas listed above.

1. Prophylaxis

Here is a simple example:

The next example is a famous game of restriction, notes are taken from My System.

This game is also called the Immortal Zugzwang game by many.

2. Overprotection

A famous example of this idea is seen in this game. Notes are given by Daniel Naroditsky.

3. The Central Strategy

Why is the Central Strategy so important? Let the master explain! Notes by Nimzowitsch.

At the end of the chapter, "Prophylaxis and the Center", Nimzowitsch lists down the following Roads to the Mastering of Positional Play:

  • Counter the false conception that every single move has to produce an immediate effect; waiting moves and quiet moves are also totally justified!
  • Recognise the idea of prevention as being the key one in positional play! With this in mind, struggle to prevent freeing moves by your opponent and in doing so prevent any internal disorganisation of your position, in order to bring your own pieces into contact with (your own) strategically important points.
  • Have tremendous respect for the central strategy; avoid any premature moves to the flanks (out of fear of a central invasion by your opponent) and try rather to operate under the watchword of centralisation.
  • Aim for total mobility for your own pawn mass, but not for the individual mobility of every single pawn.
  • Get used to considering the control of the centre as a “question of restraint”; do not let an arithmetical approach to the central pawns be decisive.
  • What is important for positional play is not attack, not even defense, but only consolidation!

If you want to learn about the first true positional game in chess:

If you want to learn two basic rook endings:

If you want to improve your technique:

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