Intermediate

Reading the Board

Reading the Board

See the whole board so you can decide on the best plan

  • 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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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
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