Questions tagged [positional-play]

A style of play emphasizing capture of strategic squares and prophylactic moves.

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6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Positional analysis after a dubious move

I was analyzing a game and found that the engine gives -3.42 after 1. Rb1 and +2.72 after the subsequent 1. ...Nc2. Is Nc2 really such a bad move? For comparison, 1. ... Nd5? results in almost the ...
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5 votes
5 answers
257 views

Where can I find exercises where the best move isn't always a tactical one?

I know solving a lot of tactics problems has its benefits, but also its limitations. In a real game there is no way to know if a tactic is present — maybe the best move is defensive. I am seeking ...
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

Opening suggestion where my side castles king side and has king side majority

I'm looking for a set of openings that are more likely to lead into positional play where my side castles king side and have king side majority. Theoretical advantage is not required. The plan is to ...
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2 votes
4 answers
160 views

What strategic principles contribute to black's advantage in this position?

I calculated to the following position during a game: [FEN "r1r3k1/5pbp/p2qpnp1/3p4/3P4/2N1PB1P/P5P1/2R1QRK1 w - - 1 22"] At the time I believed black would have a slight positional edge ...
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1 vote
1 answer
138 views

Did Lichess Level 8 truly lose this game?

Jonathan Scrantz played this game against Lichess Level 8: [Title "Jonathan Scrantz VS Stockfish Level 8 (3000) after 9. Kh1"] [FEN ""] [Startply "17"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
194 views

Why did Karpov choose this knight placement over the normal Ruy Lopez knight manoeuvre?

I was studying some Karpov games and I came across a knight manoeuvre that I hadn't seen before in the Ruy Lopez, shown in the below game (moves 15,16...): [Event "Milan"] [FEN ""] ...
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5 votes
1 answer
248 views

When should I care about an opponent's pin?

This has been a problem that has been vexing me for a while, and it manifested again in my most recent game in which I played Black: [FEN ""] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 ...
  • 155
5 votes
4 answers
3k views

In this game, should white sacrifice their bishop to expose black's king?

I (black) reached this position in a game and realised that black's king would be totally exposed if white's bishop decided to take the pawn (1. Bxh6 gxh6). Is the smart move here for white to ...
10 votes
3 answers
1k views

If the back row of white pieces is moved to be in front of the pawns, which side should I play?

I remember this starting position played many times by my grandfathers. But I am too young to recollect the results of their games. If I have to choose, which side should I play? (White moves 1st)
  • 325
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does blitz change the relative value of position vs material?

The way I see it, true gambits trade material for position, which in turn could give you opportunities to regain more material. However, in blitz play, you are less likely to notice those ...
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12 votes
1 answer
3k views

{Landa vs Zhu Chen, Bad Wiessee, 2006} Lichess giving a +4.7 to white. Why?

Here is the lichess study for the game which is often presented as study. I am curious here, as to why White is given a strong advantage, even though the material is equal and Black has a lot more ...
  • 267
9 votes
1 answer
316 views

How do I play against the Queen's Gambit Declined Tartakower structure?

I play the Exchange Variation against the QGD, but I'm really struggling against the Tartakower style setup in the QGD, when black plays b6 and c5. As White, I just don't really know what I'm supposed ...
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is h4 much better than h3?

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1 [Event "Rated Rapid game"] [Date "2021.08.09"] [Result "0-1"] [Variant "Standard"] [TimeControl &...
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9 votes
6 answers
4k views

Why is 11. .. h6 such a bad move?

rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1 [Event "?"] [Site "?"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "?"] [Black "?"] [...
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8 votes
3 answers
852 views

Material vs positional advantage: does Stockfish give good advice?

This is from Yusupov's "Build up your chess" volume 1, chapter 11 (pins). [Event "Munich"] [Site "Build Up Your Chess"] [Date "1994"] [Round "Diagram 11.4&...
4 votes
2 answers
255 views

Who is actually winning here?

I came across this interesting position: [Title "Black to move (with full castling rights)"] [FEN "r2qkb1r/pp1nn1p1/7p/5N2/3p4/2P2N2/PP2QPPP/R1B3K1 b kq - 0 1"] On first glance, ...
  • 2,543
6 votes
1 answer
588 views

Can a 2000 Elo rated player teach me middlegame play properly?

I have reached 2500 in the chess.com tactics trainer while I haven't study theory and my FIDE rating is 1637 (I reached 1930 in rapids a year in France). I want to study with a coach and there is one ...
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11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Black's tools in the Caro-Kann Advanced Tal Variation

What are Black's plans to play for an advantage in this variation? [FEN ""] 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. h4 h5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 e6 The kingside development seems so slow, allowing ...
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3 votes
1 answer
97 views

Playing with Ranks Advantage

[FEN "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"] I was planning to play white against the computer, starting with the positional advantage as shown above. I don't know how to ...
  • 325
3 votes
1 answer
556 views

Why is Ne4 considered as an inaccuracy whereas it is one of very few moves which saves d3 pawn?

[FEN "r2q1rk1/1p3ppp/p4n2/2Pp4/1Pn5/P1Bp3P/3N2P1/R2QN2K b - - 4 21"] With Black to move Ne4 is not even in top 5 moves and engine says its an inaccuracy. I know it considers fastest winning ...
2 votes
2 answers
292 views

Josh Waitzkin chessmaster mastery quiz - spatial advantage, trading bishops

Update: The computer aspect of this can be answered with showing more lines such as in the lichess engine where h6 is slightly preferred to f5. Based on: Josh Waitzkin Chessmaster Strategy Section 7 -...
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5 votes
2 answers
648 views

Which classical players' games should I check if I want to analyze positional players? [closed]

I am regularly analyzing games of grandmasters and now I want to check the classics. Who do you recommend to me as a positional player? Thanks.
4 votes
2 answers
224 views

How do I create sharp, tactical positions?

It is said that you shouldn't simply look for combinations every move; rather, you should create positions that tend to create tactical opportunities. But what does this actually mean? I think my ...
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4 votes
2 answers
855 views

Positional chess understanding in the early game

As Black, when given a choice of taking the White's pawn, for what reason should I consider taking d5 pawn with e6 pawn? Wouldn't this open up the king's file and put it at risk of being attacked in ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

How come it's actually Black with the advantage here?

I was analyzing a recent game of mine, and I noticed something interesting. After I blundered back a bishop on move 16, the evaluation was -3.4, which is still strongly winning for Black. [White "...
  • 369
4 votes
2 answers
563 views

Which open source chess engine has the most positional understanding?

Most open source chess engines with hand-tuned evaluations are known for their innovations on search (Fruit, Stockfish). I was inspired by HIARCS' generally more human-like play and the fact that ...
10 votes
4 answers
4k views

How can I punish the "bad" knight on c3?

I play the Caro–Kann Defence against 1.e4 as black, and for whatever reason it feels like I get the following line way too frequently: [FEN ""] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Nc3?! This ...
1 vote
1 answer
162 views

What should be the next move for Black?

Both sides have had equal points untill now. If the Black knight is moved, then White can move their knight with discovered check. What should Black do? [FEN ""] [StartPly "11"] ...
1 vote
1 answer
85 views

Why is the evaluation of the move h5 dependent on position of the bishop?

[FEN ""] [startply "50"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. Re1 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. d5 Nd8 14. a4 Ra7 15. Nf1 g6 16. Bh6 Re8 17....
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2 votes
1 answer
202 views

Why this move is good here but not few moves ago?

[FEN "r1bq1rk1/p2p2pp/1pn1p3/5p2/1PP1n1P1/P4N2/1BQ1PP1P/R3KB1R b - - 0 1"] Here, 1... fxg4 gives White an advantage. But 1...Nxf2 2.Kxf2 fxg4 is equal. Why is that?
  • 2,495
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

When should I play f3/f6?

For context, I've been playing chess for around two years now, and my rating on Lichess is ~1850. When I first started playing, I learned a lot of heuristics for playing well, e.g. rooks are better ...
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why does Black want to trade off her King's Bishop in many d4 lines?

I feel that in many lines starting with d4, such as the Queen's Gambit Declined, or especially the Nimzo-Indian, Black is more than happy to trade her King's Bishop for White's knight on c3. For ...
1 vote
4 answers
208 views

What is the best move for White in this position?

[title "White to move"] [fen "2b2rk1/pr2n1bp/2p1p1p1/2pqPp2/N2p1P1Q/1P1P1N2/P1PB2PP/1R3R1K w - - 1 0"] In this position, I was considering the best move for white. Re1 seems good but why not Ba5? Or ...
7 votes
5 answers
1k views

Why is Ne2 better than Nf3?

I played Nf3 for attacking on king side which is about to castle having some plans to make a battery in future after castling but I feel Ne2 is making a block for Re1 at some point. Any suggestions? [...
3 votes
2 answers
700 views

Can someone explain the positional advantages for white?

[FEN "3r1rk1/7p/bq2ppp1/p1R5/Pp2P2P/4QB2/1P3PP1/3R2K1 w - - 0 1"] As far I can see, Black’s bishop has more scope than the white one, White has some isolated pawns, and the Black pawns rule the 5th ...
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1 vote
2 answers
130 views

Why move the queen’s rook to defend d-file instead of king’s rook?

In this position, why is it better to move the queen’s rook to defend the d-file instead of the king’s rook? Moving the king’s rook to the d-file becomes more challenging. Is it important to leave ...
  • 255
5 votes
3 answers
545 views

How should one decide which rook to put on a central file? [duplicate]

How should one decide which rook to put on a central file? I usually just move the one which is closer to the file, unless there are weak squares in my position that one rook is defending. In ...
  • 161
4 votes
4 answers
329 views

Why is 16. d5 a blunder in this position?

In this position I'm White and I have just played 16. d5. Stockfish labels the move as a blunder. I do understand I had better moves than this, and it's not the move I would play if I were to get this ...
  • 1,254
3 votes
2 answers
398 views

Confused about timing of cxd5 and dxc4 in the Queen's Gambit Declined (QGD)

Recently I've been playing the Queen's Gambit Declined as my primary response to a d4 opening by white. While analyzing past games with engines, I've realized that as the game progresses, there's a ...
  • 205
5 votes
3 answers
303 views

In Caro-Kann, which one is less risky, the main line or the Steinitz?

After 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4, the most popular move (main line) is 4...Bf5. But former world champion Anatoly Karpov seems to like 4...Nd7. Since Karpov's style is "solidly ...
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1 vote
1 answer
148 views

How should white push for advantage in the Nimzowitsh attack of the Petrov's defense?

This line of the Petrov defense can often lead to opposite side castling and the general rule for that is attacks happening on both sides of the board. However, I noticed that it's very difficult to ...
  • 2,138
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

How do I understand White's +6 advantage here?

[White "White (to move)"] [Black "Black"] [FEN "rnq1kb1r/ppp3pp/4pn2/4N3/2QP4/2N2P2/PPP3PP/R1B1K2R w KQ - 0 13"] In this position, White can still castle, but Black cannot (having moved the king ...
  • 2,543
4 votes
2 answers
354 views

Can anyone recommend a positional book focused on preparing pawn breaks?

Feel free to share more than one book. I'm very interested in understanding better those preparatory moves.
  • 296
1 vote
1 answer
103 views

Advanced Pawn Structure books [duplicate]

Hello fellow chess players. I've recently returned to the learning of this game, and as I forgot several ideas on deep mechanics, I read (again) "My System", from Nimzowitsch, and found it very useful,...
4 votes
2 answers
322 views

Analysis of a middlegame out of the Queen's Pawn Game: Zukertort Variation

What positional considerations must be made in order to come up with a plan for White in this position? What are the ideas behind the central squares and weaknesses that must be analyzed for both ...
  • 2,227
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Good Knight Against Bad Bishop Endgame - A More Constructive Plan?

I reached the position below in a recent tournament game [Event "Recent Tournament"] [Site "Deepest, Darkest Oxfordshire"] [Date "Feb 2020"] [White "Ian Bush"] [Black "A Young Victim"] [Result "1-0"] ...
  • 4,041
20 votes
6 answers
7k views

What is a "monster knight"?

I was watching an agadmator video explaining a game between two chess engines, and at one point in the video after a knight move, agadmator talks about how that knight then became "basically a monster ...
  • 799
2 votes
2 answers
146 views

Is my positional pawn sacrifice justified?

Today I have played a game and the following position was reached: [fen "rn1qk2r/p4ppp/1p2bb2/1Q1pp3/8/3P2P1/PP2PPBP/RN2K1NR b - - 0 1"] 1... Nd7 2. Bxd5 a6 3. Qb3 Nc5 4. Bc6+ Ke7 5.Qa3 Rc8 6. Bg2 ...
  • 2,227
6 votes
2 answers
247 views

Firouzja vs Kovalev: what went wrong for black in the opening?

In the first round of the ongoing Wijk aan zee Masters tournament, Firouzja won vs Kovalev. Apparently, right out of the opening white had gained a winning edge. In particular, somewhere around 16......
  • 3,358
26 votes
2 answers
2k views

Understanding Anand's Bc4 move vs Ivanchuk 1992

In the Ivanchuk vs Anand game (1992), the game leads into an endgame after lots of exchanges, which by no means looks (to me at least) winning for black: they both have 2 rooks, 2 bishops, and black ...
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