I am intermediate Chess player, I can make common plans, but when it comes to create long plans, I can't plan. Can I please get some help? Thanks

  • 1
    The question seems clear enough to me and I'd like to answer it. Can it be reopened? – user1583209 Dec 4 '17 at 9:12
  • @user1583209 I guess it hasn't got enough votes to reopen. – Harry Weasley Dec 4 '17 at 12:21
  • Hi there, if you could please tell me how I can improve my question so it can be reopened that'd be very helpful. Thanks – Ishan Patel Dec 4 '17 at 16:14
  • Do you mean calculation, or strategic planning? There is a difference. – Herb Wolfe Dec 4 '17 at 17:07
  • @HerbWolfe I think I am after strategic planning. – Ishan Patel Dec 4 '17 at 17:54

Taking into account your earlier version of this question (with number of moves to think ahead, etc), I think you might be a bit confused about the terms. Basically chess is played using two methods:

  1. tactics/calculation
  2. positional play/strategy


... is when you actually calculate concrete variations, i.e. something like: if I make this move, my opponent does this, to which I reply with this move, etc. When playing chess, in most positions you don't need to calculate very deep: perhaps 3 moves or less, or not at all. This is because most positions are rather quiet and you have a number of equally good moves available. Trying to calculate deep here would quickly exhaust your memory (e.g. if at each move you have say 3 possible moves to consider, then you already have 27 variations if you calculate 3 (half)-moves deep). Of course there are also positions where you need to calculate deep (say 10 moves), but if it is some forced line with few alternative candidate moves, it is not all that hard to do so.

Anyway, there are situation, where pure calculation does not help and you need another method to come up with moves, which brings us to...

Positional play/strategy

.. this is based more on intuition, experience, general principles and is much harder to train than tactics/calculation. To start with, you should familiarize yourself with common positional motifs. Don't need to learn all of them at once, but start with some easy important ones like "piece activity", "open file/file control", "king safety", "isolated pawns", "good pieces/bad pieces".

When playing a game of chess, try to take into account these factors, e.g. think what pieces are badly placed, check whether you can occupy an open file, etc. This will lead naturally to meaningful plans. If you run out of plans, learn a new positional motif and see whether this helps.

In the opening/middle-game, the plan is often determined by the pawn structure and you can read about it in: the wikipedia article

The tricky part comes, when you have several positional motifs available and need to decide for one or the other. For instance, is it a good idea to go for a pawn storm, if this neglects my king's safety?

In order to train such positional ideas, ideally, you have a stronger player look over your games and point out strategical mistakes (or compliment you on your strategical play). Another option is to read or watch annotated games and see what plans they develop in different types of positions. Learning this plan making will take time and many games in order to gain experience on what works and what does not. But don't worry, for most beginner games, tactics/calculation is much more important than long term strategy.


There are several books on "planning", which is often synonymous with "positional" or "strategic" play. Dvoretsky's books are good; check out this: https://www.chess.com/article/view/ideas-on-planning-from-the-greatest-chess-coach

Here are some basic suggestions: Learn about the 'minority attack' which typically comes out of the Queen's Gambit Declined, and/or learn about the Ruy Lopez Exchange Variation. These are long-range plans that comes right out of the opening. Read a well annotated book of games from a great positional player, like "Karpov's Best Games" by Karpov, or "Smyslov's 125 Selected Games" by Smyslov!

And my basic answer to your question is: 1. Imagine where you want your pieces (idea) 2. How can you get them there? (plan) 3. Calculate (tactics) What can your opponent do about your plan? Maybe his plan is faster and he can ignore you. Maybe you have to pause your plan a move to slow him down...

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