Positional Chess and Why It Matters
There are no tactics, or forcing ways to gain an advantage during a chess game, so what should you do? This is where positional play comes in handy. In order to defeat an opponent that seems to make no tactical mistakes you have to know the positional fundamentals of chess middle games and endgames to be able to formulate a solid plan based around these concepts. Often when a struggling player can’t figure out what to do the player will resort to setting traps. Another strategy is adopting a “wait and see” strategy, but this is not the correct way to improve your game. Below are common problems seen amongst struggling chess players below the master level as it pertains to positional chess. Follow these chess tips to see improvement in your upcoming games.
Strive For A Superior Position Right Out Of The Gate!
Many times chess players play the opening with pinpoint accuracy only to come across a move that is not “in the move order”. This is where players start to drift, playing aimless moves to prevent something that’s not a threat. Avoid finding yourself going in for an all out unjustified attack, setting traps, or just playing useless waiting moves. From move one you should be striving to gain and maintain an upper hand in the position. And of course this is where the study of positional chess comes in.
Activate Those Minor Pieces!
The swift activation of your minor pieces is so crucial that at times you can ignore material loss as compensation! Even in closed positions, from the opening phase of the game your focus should be always aimed at maximizing the potential of your minor pieces in order to take quick advantage of any weakness that may crop up in your opponent’s position! When a player starts to drift during a game the other is focused maximizing their pieces, and this has been shown time and time again to lead to crushing attacks.
Avoid Dogmatic Thinking!
Just because a chess book told you so doesn’t mean it is always true! I’m pretty sure you have heard the advice before that “there is an exception to every rule.” When you are trying to improve this is evermore true. Consider as one example the advice given by stronger players to strive for the bishop pair. Surprisingly possessing the bishop pair against two knights in an open game isn’t always a guaranteed path to victory! Studying master games of strong positional players will show you how they are able to gain a clear advantage while allowing some structural weaknesses in their position!
Target Those Positional Weaknesses!
No one has ever won a chess game without exploiting at least one of the opponent’s weaknesses. Although there may not be a tactical breakthrough, when you are playing a game you are either improving your position gradually or you are striving to exploit a real weakness in your opponent’s position. In order to detect and exploit such weaknesses you must already possess positional knowledge in this area. Your first thought before creating a strategic plan should be to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses, whether they be tactical or positional.
Know When to Liquidate!
Knowing when to liquidate a position is a good positional skill that leads to more wins, and less losses. Many times when improving players play equal or stronger opposition they tend to strive for early liquidation. The reasoning is this will lead to an easier position to play. Which in turn will enable them to avoid loss. This technique does work against weaker players, but against stronger opposition wins and draws will be few and far between! One of the most common ways to liquidate a position is when you are facing a cramped position. This technique allows you to trade your non active pieces for your opponent’s active ones enabling you to maneuver more freely behind a cramped pawn structure. There are other times when liquidation at the board is the best way to proceed.
Fine tuning your positional chess through study and application will show you when the time is ripe to do so.
Related Articles on Positional Chess… click here
Example of Chess Player Analyzing His Own Game… Here