White moves. Is there a systematic approach to tackling such crowded formations? I don't see an efficient way to progress, aside from charging to trade figures in order to thin the population.

[FEN "r1q2rk1/1p2pp2/2p2npb/p2pNb1p/Pn1P1P2/1PN1PBP1/2PB3P/2RQ1RK1 w - - 0 1"]


White is in a positional bind on the queenside. When cramped, a general strategy is to exchange pieces, but you must be careful not to allow all of your best pieces to be exchanged, e.g. if all the minor pieces in this position are traded off except for white's dark squared bishop, he will be in trouble.

Re1 with the idea of e4, to free white's position, is a standard idea that seems unstoppable in this position (black can try putting a piece on e4, but the exchanges that follow are favorable for white). An important point about closed positions is that you tend to be able to get away with slow maneuvers. So for this game, you could alternatively try Be1, Qe2, play Bxb4 if you can, and try to play e4 when the time is right. You may want to include Nd1-f2, and then c4 becomes an option.


This is a tricky case because White has allowed the horrific structural weakness on e4 That backward e-pawn has to go. But Black has 3 defenders on e4.

I'd consider 1. Re1 preparing for 2. e4. Another option is to play 1. Ne2 in preparation for 2. c4.

In general, locked up pawns aren't bad as long as you don't give yourself weaknesses. Avoid the weaknesses if you can. If you can't, then find a way to break the position open.


Take the position step by step... Can you bring your pieces to good squares and/or force your opponent to move his pieces from strong outposts?

For example, could you (after lengthy preparation) somehow play c3 to force the Nb4 to retreat? White in in a bad position here because there is a risk that black will open up the game with b5 at some stage.

The way to deal with such situation is imagine where your pieces should go and then find a way to get them there. You have a weakness on c2, how about transferring the B to d1 to free the rook and then play c3? There is no magic bullet. It takes a lot of grinding.


You want to trade pieces after you've maximized the value of your own. (You have a space advantage, so Black's "maximum" is less than yours.)

Specifically, you want to concentrate your queen and rooks on the king side, and maybe redeploy some pieces. Once you've done that, you can use a king side pawn storm to open up lines for your pieces that Black can't counter with equal force.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.