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The Art of Exchanging Pieces

The Art of Exchanging Pieces

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There are many occasions when an attack isn't possible and positional chess is the order of the day. This means you try to create various favorable imbalances (space, superior minor pieces, weak squares, fractured enemy pawns, etc.) and milk it for all its worth. This particular course explores the eternal question of piece trades: should you or should you not trade one minor piece for another, your Rook for his, or your all-powerful Queen for his equally imposing female deity?

  • Art Of The Trade 1

    We're here to learn when to trade and when to avoid a trade. There are always clear reasons for these decisions, and all of the examples presented on this theme will be logical and easy to comprehend. Our first peek into the art of the exchange shows...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 2

    In general, one makes an even trade of pieces in order to prevent the enemy piece from becoming too active or to give you time to accomplish another task. Other even trades turn out to be far from even, in that an exchange leads to a very clear positional,...

    • 5 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 3

    You appear to be in trouble since your King is a bit loose and you're a pawn down. You're also in check and must decide whether to swap Queens (which would enter a pawn down endgame) or move your King to one of several available squares. What would you...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 4

    Many teachers and books like to tell us that Bishops are slightly superior to Knights. We'll take a look at that rule in this lesson, and also discuss the importance of other positional factors that must always be carefully considered whenever any minor...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 5

    Pawn exchanges are a world of their own. In my experience, players tend to hate having pawns face off where either can capture the other. The situation spooks them, and most resolve it by making the capture either right away or as soon as their nerve...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 6

    One of the biggest problems I've seen in my students is their inability to not exchange pawns when they can capture each other. We call this face-off, "pawn tension", and few can handle the strain of allowing it to sit there move after move, neither side...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 7

    The desire to make (or avoid) exchanges is a key part of the opening, middlegame, and endgame. A trade might seem like a little thing, but more often than not it's huge. In our present example, getting an exchange right is the difference between a protracted...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 8

    This lesson features a key position from the game DeFirmian-Beliavsky, Copenhagen 2004. White's position seems the more pleasant, but Black appears to have his bases covered. What can White do to prove that he has more than a slight plus?

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 9

    We have a minor piece endgame that would normally be very nice for White, but here Black's extra pawn leaves us wondering what's really going on. This position (from the game Bronstein-Beliavsky, Yerevan 1975) can only be played correctly if you notice...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 10

    Exchanges (and the avoidance of exchanges) are often the things that set up an endless array of strategic plans. This lesson (from the game Winter-Capablanca, Hastings 1919/20) focuses on the possibility of an exchange, asking you (the student) if it's...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 11

    Here we will enter the world of opening theory. No, we're not going to advocate the memorization of endless moves. Instead, one can play most openings with some measure of skill if you understand the ideas and basic plans of all the systems you play. In...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 12

    This position is from the game E.Jimenez-B.Larsen, Palma de Mallorca 1967. In his prime, Bent Larsen was one of the greatest fighters in the history of the game, and so it's no surprise that he is looking for ways to sharpen up a position that, at first...

    • 5 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 13

    This is a position from the Dragon Sicilian, though Black proved to be unaware of certain basics. The game was Guseinov-MisterBlack, ICC (Clock Simul) 2007. Here we'll see White mix attacking threats with possible exchanges that might lead to favorable...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 14

    Many view a trade of pieces as something mundane -- something that makes a game more boring every time it occurs. But is this true? We've seen that exchanges can create superior minor pieces, lead to structural weaknesses in the opponent's camp, and can...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 15

    In this lesson we take a look at a position from the game Aronin-Simagin, 22nd USSR Ch. Both sides have positives to make use of and negatives to solve, so it's all quite interesting and full of tension. As is always the case in this set of lessons,...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 16

    Even in the openings, a simple threat to exchange one piece for another can dictate the way both sides play for much of the game. Due to the enormous influence exchanges have, you have to give serious thought to each and every trade, and do your best...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 17

    In this lesson White is faced with many tempting possibilities. To wend your way through a position that offers "too much" (as if there ever could be too much), you will usually find that it's a big help to verbalize the key positional (and/or tactical)...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 18

    Trades occur in every game, and most seem to be rather innocuous. However, a trained eye realizes that every exchange should be filled with some kind of meaning, be it a gain of time, conquest of a square, creating a superior minor piece, or reaching...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 19

    In his heyday, (East) Germany's Wolfgang Uhlmann was one of the finest players in the world. Young players (who rarely follow chess history) are most likely to be completely unaware of his existence, so this game (Uhlmann-W.Schmidt, Polanica Zdroj 1967)...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 20

    You might decide that your structure is already ideal -- as a result you will want to avoid pawn moves and pawn exchanges. On the other hand, your structure might not be supporting the piece(s) you have. In that case you'll want to change the structure...

    • 4 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 21

    What makes a trade worthwhile? At times you can double your opponent's pawns, but perhaps you would have to part with a piece you like to make that happen. At other times you can get rid of an enemy Bishop that's a bit better than yours, but it would...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 22

    When to trade and when to avoid a trade -- heavy questions that can only be answered in relation to a specific position. In this lesson we tackle these questions head on, with Karpov (as White vs. A.Sokolov, Linares 1987) as our instructor.

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 23

    At times it seems your opponent's position should crumble to dust under the weight of its weaknesses, yet it doesn't. Afterwards you don't know how he or she held on -- surely the way to improve your position had to be something far beyond your present...

    • 3 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 24

    We've seen exchanges that seem esoteric, complex, or obvious. However, more often than not, an exchange or series of exchanges makes perfect sense once you see it played on the board, but for some reason isn't so easy to spot during an actual game. This...

    • 5 meydan okuma
  • Art Of The Trade 25

    From an old game that featured three players (Brodd, Paulsson & Mandel) vs. Nimzovich, Uppsala 1921. Here we explore a position full of possible exchanges (both sides can initiate them), but only one is correct. Remember: don't make an exchange because...

    • 5 meydan okuma
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