Reading the Board

Reading the Board

Learn full board awareness to find the best plan!

Have you ever wondered which pawn to push and why? Have you ever wondered if you should exchange a piece or keep it on the board? Then this course is for you! By learning about different types of positions and how we should act in them we can learn about the entire board. These important strategical ideas are the key to finding the right plan and winning more games!

Here is what you will learn:

  • The difference between open, semi-open, and closed positions
  • Space and how it can be used effectively
  • Pawn structures and pawn chains
  • When to trade pieces and when to avoid the exchange
  • How to deal with pawn tension!
Pawn Structures

Pawn Structures

Connected pawns can defend each other and support each other as they advance. Doubled pawns block each other from advancing. Pawns, with no other pawns next to them are isolated, and are frequently easy to attack.
3 min
5 Challenges
Pawn Chains

Pawn Chains

A group of pawns that protect each other on a diagonal is called a pawn chain. The only unprotected pawn in the chain is the base pawn at the back. Pawn chains can restrict the opponent's pieces and help each other advance in the endgame.
5 min
6 Challenges
Space

Space

The more space you control on the board, the more room your pieces have to maneuver, and the less space your opponent has. A great way to claim space is to put your pawns in the center.
4 min
5 Challenges
Open, Closed, Semi-open Games

Open, Closed, Semi-open Games

There are three main categories of positions. If there are few pawns on the board the position is open. Bishops are often very strong in these positions because they are not blocked. If there are many pawns blocking each other on the board, the position is considered closed. Bishops are restricted by the pawns in these positions, so knights are the dominant minor piece. Many positions have some features of open and closed positions, and are considered semi-open.
7 min
6 Challenges
Push, Capture, or Ignore

Push, Capture, or Ignore

Learn how to deal with pawn tension and decide when to push, capture, or play elsewhere. If you can defend and attack simultaneously, that's often the best option. However, other times it's best to defend threats directly or even to ignore them and do something more important.
4 min
5 Challenges
When to Trade Pieces

When to Trade Pieces

It's usually helpful to trade if you can get ahead but what should you do if a potential trade doesn't gain or lose material? It's usually a mistake to initiate a trade unless you can tell how your position benefits. Good reasons to trade could be to simplify when you're ahead, to remove a well placed opponent's piece or to gain control of an open files.
5 min
7 Challenges
Advanced Chess Notation

Advanced Chess Notation

Once you learn and practice using the language of chess, it's time to enhance your chess fluency with advanced notation! Here are the key symbols to know: Check = + Checkmate = # Capture = x Kingside castling = 0-0 Queenside castling = 0-0-0 Great move = ! Bad move = ? Interesting move = !? Dubious move = ?! Terrible blunder = ?? Amazing move = !! White wins = 1-0 Black wins = 0-1 Draw = 1/2-1/2
12 min
5 Challenges

Lessons

Reading the Board

Key Concepts
7 Lessons
40 Minutes
39 Challenges
Released December 21, 2018
259,449 Students