Master: Strategy

  • IM Bryan Smith
  • Avg Rating: 1560
  • Master

In this course we will be examining some of the most advanced strategies which chess masters use in their games. There will be a particular emphasis on pawn strategy.

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  • Playing With Your Pawns

    As you have already learned in the strategy Mentor Courses preceding this one, pawns are not quite like the other pieces, due to their low value and lack of mobility. They are more like the skeleton of the position, and are ideally suited for defense.
  • The Two Bishops

    The main weakness of a bishop (compared to a knight) is that it can only cover one color of squares. Thus half the board is inaccessible to a bishop. This changes, however, when you have two bishops - then the bishops work together to control the whole board. The two bishops are a potent force, especially when the position is open.
  • Attacking the Pawn Base

    A pawn chain is like a tower of blocks; if you want to knock down a tower of blocks, where do you hit it, at the top or the bottom? The answer is obvious, and it is the same with pawn chains.
  • Using a Middlegame Majority

    Having a majority of pawns (more of your own pawns in one part - kingside or queenside - of the board than opposing pawns) can be a huge advantage. The majority of pawns can advance, creating a passed pawn and chasing the opponent's pieces away.
  • Pawn Storms / Pawn Chains

    An important part of strategy is understanding on which part of the board to play. When there are interlocking pawn chains, you should play on the side of the board where you have a space advantage, and where your pawn chain is "pointing".
  • Striking Back in the Center

    A pawns center can convey control of the center to its owner. However, the side facing the pawn center can fight against it by pressuring it with the pieces and, at the right moment, striking back with a pawn to break it up.
  • Sometimes Doubled Pawns are Good

    By now you have learned about doubled pawns. You have seen that doubled pawns are often a big weakness - they inhibit each other's mobility and cannot guard each other. However, there are many situations where doubled pawns can actually bring a big advantage to their owner - primarily because having doubled pawns gives you an open file.
  • Candidate Moves

    How do you choose a move when you play chess? Before moving you need to consider "candidate moves" - possible moves, each of which you assess in order to make a decision. But you cannot consider every possible move, so how do you pick the candidate moves? To do this, you need to use your intuition and positional judgement based on your current chess understanding... allow me to explain further!
  • Let the Pawns Guide the Pieces

    The pawns have often been referred to as the "soul of the game". The pawn structure / formation is the "skeleton" of the board. The placements of the pawns usually dictate where the pieces stand best, since the pawn structure dictates which squares are outposts, which lines are open, and which squares are weak.
  • Strategy and Tactics

    As has been explained throughout all of our Strategy courses, one of the most important reasons we care about having good strategy is that using good strategy will tend to put us in a position to have winning tactics available. The purpose of this lesson is to show you, through a complete example game, how tactics and strategy relate to each other. Sometimes one serves the other; sometimes it is the other way around.

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