Weak Color Complexes Explained

Weak Color Complexes Explained

Learn to recognize and exploit weak color complexes!

Do you ever wonder how masters can carry out a seemingly effortless mating attack? Then this course is for you! Being aware of weak color complexes provides extremely important insight into positional and tactical chess play. It often shapes the entire middlegame struggle and informs the decisions made as early as the opening phase of the game. Study this crucial aspect of the game in this course. Start recognizing and exploiting weak color complexes today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Learn about mating attacks based entirely on the weakness of one color!
  • Learn how to positionally dominate a game based on a weak color complex!
  • Learn how to keep your own structure healthy throughout the game!
  • Learn how to induce a weak color complex in your opponent's position!

"Mega interesting subject. Weird that so many "strategy oriented books" do not cover this part. I could certainly use more exercises to learn to create color-complex weaknesses and tor recognize such potential." - Chess.com member Machariel

Restriction 1

Restriction 1

At the heart of why a weak color complex can be a problem is this concept: it restricts the opponent's choices. There will be squares they can't move their pieces on; and there will be squares they need to defend, but only one of their pieces is able to defend it. This will hamper their ability to move their pieces. Here is the first of two examples that should give you a concrete understanding of how this restriction works.
1 Challenge
Restriction 2

Restriction 2

Another example of restriction from the same position.
3 Challenges
Basic Exploitation

Basic Exploitation

This position shows a classic complex of weak dark squares on the black kingside. Now you will find the most classic way of exploiting that weakness (converting it into another, more tangible advantage).
4 Challenges
Basic Exploitation 2

Basic Exploitation 2

The Black kingside is once again weak on what color squares? Dark squares!
2 Challenges
Paralyzing Domination

Paralyzing Domination

We will see another way to take advantage of weak dark squares here: domination. Sometimes if you take over the weak color complex, you can restrict the movement and coordination of the opponent's pieces almost to nothing. This is called "Dominating Paralysis."
8 Challenges
Converting an Exchange

Converting an Exchange

When trying to convert the advantage of a rook v. a bishop, you very often need to try to win the game on the opposite color of squares of the bishop the opponent has. Especially if they are unlucky enough to have pawns on the same color as their bishop, you should look for opportunities to just play around their bishop and pawns on the weak squares of the opposite color.
5 Challenges
Creating a Weak Color Complex

Creating a Weak Color Complex

So far, we've mostly handed you a weak color complex and asked you to exploit it. In this position you will also learn a technique for creating such a weakness. Then we'll exploit it as well, for the fun of it.
6 Challenges
Yet Another Exploit

Yet Another Exploit

White has offered a queen trade. He has a weak color complex, which hopefully by now you can recognize.
1 Challenge
Weak Diagonals or Weak Pawns?

Weak Diagonals or Weak Pawns?

Ok, that last one was a trick. But now you are faced with a real queen trade offer; how do you evaluate your options here? The presence of opposite colored bishops should encourage you to think about potential weak color complexes.
2 Challenges
Probing

Probing

Here we see a typical operation to create a weak color complex, and another to exploit it.
2 Challenges
Another Way to Use those Squares!

Another Way to Use those Squares!

Continued position from the previous lesson. Black has played a move to build counterplay on the queenside.
11 Challenges
Restriction 3

Restriction 3

Another good tactic to know, which also illustrates how a weak color complex restricts one's possibilities.
2 Challenges
More on Trading

More on Trading

You may recognize this from a previous position. Let's imagine that Black has recognized that there is immediate attacking danger from the possibility of Qh6 by White, and tried to gain space on the kingside with the immediate f5.
7 Challenges
An Exercise

An Exercise

A puzzle taken from the previous lesson.
3 Challenges
Creating a Weak Color Complex 2

Creating a Weak Color Complex 2

In this lesson, Black does not have a weak color complex yet. However, it is possible to "give" Black one. How thoughtful and generous of you!
4 Challenges
Trading for an Absolute Diagonal

Trading for an Absolute Diagonal

Another technique that comes into play when you are working against a weak color complex. This is part strategy and part tactic.
6 Challenges
Infiltrating the Enemy

Infiltrating the Enemy

Sometimes it's tricky to make progress despite a promising positional advantage.
4 Challenges
Accessing the Weak Squares

Accessing the Weak Squares

You must stay alert at all times-- for sometimes the exploitation of a weak color complex is strategic and sometimes it is tactical. Sometimes it is exploited through long and patient cultivation, and other times, you must pounce on opportunities that pop up.
4 Challenges
Bonus Exercise 1

Bonus Exercise 1

This is a position from opening theory, but the theme comes up in a variety of positions and openings.
11 Challenges
Bonus Exercise 2

Bonus Exercise 2

Another little test of what you've learned.
3 Challenges
Bonus Exercise 3

Bonus Exercise 3

Here's a harder exercise for you! The position comes from "Another Way to Use those Squares."
9 Challenges
Two Tools for Highlighting a Weak Color Complex

Two Tools for Highlighting a Weak Color Complex

This is another position derived from "Keeping up the Pressure." Here we will see two more handy tools for taking advantage of an opponent's weak color complex.
11 Challenges

Lessons

Weak Color Complexes Explained

Strategy
22 Lessons
No Videos
109 Challenges
Released June 30, 2011
69612 Students