Context: I am around 15-1600 in terms of Chess.com blitz.

My question was motivated by watching a Ben Finegold video where as a joke he played Ng8 Nf6 Ng8 Nf6 repeatedly at the start of the blitz game and still proceeded to win.

It then occurred to me:

If I get a huge lead in development and lots of space early in the opening, how do I use that in order to win?

By "huge" and "lots" I am thinking of e.g. 3 or 4 free tempi's worth.

The thing is, I am not skilled enough to automatically be able to win a game against a similarly-rated opponent in these conditions. I won't understand the advantage well enough to guarantee my keeping it. (This I have found out by trial and error playing with bots.)

And this is not really "learning an opening", so I don't have an obvious resource to go to.

Maybe if there is a potential mating attack e.g. many developed pieces pointing towards the castled king, I could try to calculate that. But that's not going to cover the general case I have in mind.

  • 2
    There is no general case. Play slower-form chess so that you learn how to calculate (by having the time to calculate) in specific cases. Commented Feb 18 at 13:22

2 Answers 2


That is an excellent question and losing such positions would make me super angry. Until I sat down, analyzed some of such games and found out why.

  1. Mentality. It is easy to convince ourselves that we MUST convert any such advantage into a win. And a quick one. This is not true and can lead to dangerous confidnce. We may feel priviledged to lash out in the position and try to sacrifice material without proper calculations. You can see this from you mentioning checkmate. Wait! Because one played Nf6-Ng8 twice, does not mean there is a checkmating attack in sight.
  2. So, how to use such generous lead in development? The waste of tempi means that you have placed your pieces optimally and secured your king — or, will have the time to do so. No matter how long your opponent fools around, sooner or later they will have to do the same. Here is your chance to manipulate this. Instead of starting immediate contact battle where you might help them develop or exchange pieces and pawns, hold still and pose them the most difficulties in untangling their pieces. Make non committal moves that carry hidden threats and discourage their desired piece placements. For example, have your bishops point in their intended castling direction.
  3. Patience. This is again 2 above but needs emphasis. Do not lash out. Do not over estimate your advantage. Unless you win material or force them to make seriously weakening (pawn) moves, they are technically not worse yet.

Conclusion: prophylaxis, to stop them from ever catching up in development without weakening themselves is how to winsuch games. You can easily lose the game by seeking a mating attack that does not exist there. Good luck.


Try the Danish, also try out this specific lecture on YouTube from Igor Smirnov

"How I Went From 1600 to 2260 Chess Rating in 1 Year" he discusses your specific issue and that is fundamentally how to know when to open a position

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