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Questions tagged [strategy]

Questions relating to reasoning behind a move, plan, or idea

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53 votes
10 answers
19k views

How do I learn to understand the middlegame?

I am trying to train tactics as well as my general understanding of the beginning/middlegame. I spent a good bit of time understanding endgames, per chessmaster recommendations and those I can ...
Jeff Davis's user avatar
  • 1,732
32 votes
11 answers
58k views

Is chess a solved game?

Chess is a zero-sum game of limited decisions. The number of possible moves at any given point, and the number of possible states of the board, are all finite. Tic-Tac-Toe, is one of the easiest ...
Tobi Alafin's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
751 views

Conceptually, what makes the Sicilian opening sensible for black?

We all know the Sicilian as shown below, is one of the most famous and commonly employed openings in chess. But compared to the other replies, which tend to be more about fixing the center (such as e5,...
user929304's user avatar
  • 3,396
25 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the theory behind center control?

Center control is an important aspect of playing chess, most openings are built around controlling the center, but why? Is center control really that important for winning a game?
Soufiane Hassou's user avatar
23 votes
4 answers
5k views

Why doesn't Lichess' Stockfish suggest this bishop sacrifice?

I arrived at the following position in an online game after the opponent left a queen hanging. [FEN "r1b2r2/pp1p1ppk/2n1p3/6B1/2P5/5N2/PQ3PPP/R4RK1 w - - 0 16"] In the game, I played 16. Bf6 with ...
Aloizio Macedo's user avatar
12 votes
3 answers
7k views

Strategy in Isolated Queen Pawn Positions

What should Black's plan be in Isolated Queen Pawn Openings like this one arising from the Caro-Kann Panov attack? [fen ""] 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 e6 5.Nc3 Nf6 6.cxd5 Nxd5
Jacob's user avatar
  • 317
21 votes
16 answers
9k views

Should you always try your best (play as if your opponent is a grandmaster)?

Should you always play with your "best" skills no matter how (un)skilled your opponent is? Is there a situation where intentionally not playing to the best of your abilities is a good strategy? Like, ...
clickbait's user avatar
  • 689
20 votes
6 answers
3k views

Assessing an early c4 against white's Stonewall structure

I made a horrible decision as black in a game, and I do not understand why it's incorrect. [fen "rn2kb1r/pp2pppp/1q3n2/2pp4/3P1P2/2PQPN2/PP4PP/RNB1K2R b - - 0 1"] I played c4, Stockfish considers ...
Alex Lulu's user avatar
  • 243
27 votes
7 answers
7k views

What are the reasons why I should not try to take a Knight with my Bishop if it'll result in doubled pawns?

For instance, in the Ruy Lopez, after [FEN ""] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 why shouldn't I take the Knight? 4 Bxc6 dxc6 Now Black has a doubled pawn. It isn't a very popular line of play, ...
Daniel's user avatar
  • 6,172
21 votes
5 answers
6k views

What is 'space' on a chessboard?

I know, I know, this sounds like a ridiculous question, but bear with me. As an example of my lack of understanding, let's take the advanced variation of the French defense. [title "Advanced ...
Dave H's user avatar
  • 579
15 votes
2 answers
13k views

endgame with single Bishop or single Knight?

If given the choice should I opt for an endgame with a single Bishop or a single Knight? I understand Bishops increase in value in the endgame but is the disadvantage of covering only half the squares ...
Marcus Junius Brutus's user avatar
3 votes
5 answers
952 views

What advice would you give a novice in Chess?

I am a bit of a new blood when it comes to Chess. Oh I know how to play but before I started getting more serious it was more like flailing about and hoping for the best. Recently I came to the ...
user2514's user avatar
2 votes
4 answers
938 views

What is zugzwang in chess?

What is the zugzwang? I have read this term in chess book but the term not much clear to me. Anyone know to to use this and what are the advantage of this?
Pankaj Bisht's user avatar
31 votes
16 answers
11k views

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

I know how all the pieces move and I've learned about castling and en passant. But all I do is play online against other people and get wrecked because I don't know how to "play." I make ...
mr eyeglasses's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
13k views

When is castling needed?

I am a rookie in chess. I can't understand why castling is needed. In what scenarios is castling useful?
Shubham Bhave's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
8k views

How to deal with an opposing pawn storm?

During some recent games I played, I have lost because my opponent advanced their pawns very far, attacking my pieces and forcing them to retreat. In some cases the pieces became trapped as well. ...
lily's user avatar
  • 1,177
19 votes
7 answers
2k views

How can one get the best possible result against a player of very different strength?

I (about a 1500 player) once took White against a 2100 player, and played a Queen's Gambit. I lost of course, but the other player complimented my play. He said, "You played well for about 20 moves, ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 12.4k
15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Understanding Kramnik's play in game 1 of Candidates 2018

The position I'm studying is the middlegame part of the game 1 of Berlin Candidates 2018 between Kramnik and Grischuk, which Kramnik won with the white pieces. In particular, I'm interested in ...
user929304's user avatar
  • 3,396
15 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why do Chess GMs need coaches?

Today chess.com did an interview with Carlsen's coach. Someone like Carlen or Anand, why do they still need coaches? Their Elo is higher than their coaches, they can use engines to analyze the games, ...
Lynob's user avatar
  • 5,784
14 votes
3 answers
21k views

Why is the centre of the board considered important in chess?

Yes, we have all heard phrases like 'control the centre'. I would like to know the concrete reason why the centre of the board - in particular the 4 squares - e4, e5, d4, d5, are considered important ...
guru's user avatar
  • 1,053
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Positional thinking by Grandmasters

How do Grandmasters think in an unknown position and make the best move?
Club Player's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is 'control?'

One of the important factors to take into account is 'control' of squares, ranks, files and diagonals. But what exactly, does it mean when we say that a player 'controls' space? The reason I ask is ...
Dave H's user avatar
  • 579
9 votes
1 answer
4k views

Could a top ranked GM draw against Stockfish using drawish opening lines in classical chess? [duplicate]

We know that are many lines which White can choose which are very drawish at 2700+ level. Drawing is easy to a very good chess player such as Carlsen, who knows dozens of forced draw lines. When I say ...
hwood87's user avatar
  • 367
8 votes
4 answers
857 views

Chess variation where the goal is to lose all pieces

A friend challenged me to a chess variation I have never heard of. All chess rules apply. If you have an opportunity to take a piece, you must take it, you cannot avoid or block exchanges. The only ...
Lynob's user avatar
  • 5,784
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What are the main strategic concepts in the Grunfeld?

I recently picked up on the Grunfeld and I am quite pleased with this opening. To improve my skill at playing this opening; What are the most important strategic/thematic concepts that I should ...
Rafiek's user avatar
  • 745
7 votes
3 answers
2k views

The difference between Rad1 and Rfd1

I've always wondered, what are the main tactical and strategic differences between Rad1 and Rfd1 (or Rad8 and Rfd8 as black)? I know it's a subtlety, but my guess is there are some common principles ...
postnubilaphoebus's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
252 views

Is there a better winning plan from move 37?

From move 37-43 my plan was to convince my opponent to open the position for me with f4. This worked. If they did not oblige then I was going to walk my king to c7 to free up my rook from defense of ...
Michael West's user avatar
  • 5,196
5 votes
3 answers
2k views

Weak and strong squares

I somewhat understand the concept of attacking the king and pieces, but "attacking" squares is a bit of a vague concept for me. What are weak and strong squares? When do you use them? How do you ...
Rafiek's user avatar
  • 745
5 votes
6 answers
16k views

Tips on how to beat a computer?

What strategy should I use to win a chess game against a chess computer? The engine is able to make decisions on an about 3 moves deep search graph. Please do not say check every move in the next 4 ...
warspyking's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
607 views

Attacking play in chess

How do I play in an attacking manner? I know it sounds silly, but whenever I play, I am usually on the defensive. My opponents attack, forcing me into a corner, and usually won. The few times I attack,...
Myungjin Hyun's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
294 views

Josh Waitzkin on trading pieces ('the art of the trade')

Based on: Josh Waitzkin Chessmaster Strategy Section 6 "The Art of the Trade." A video can be found here. [Event "From Josh Waitzkin Chessmaster Strategy Section 6 'The Art of the Trade'...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 2,162
2 votes
2 answers
317 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 -...
BCLC's user avatar
  • 2,162
1 vote
1 answer
273 views

General advice for middlegame [duplicate]

This is a very basic and general question (and my first on this website), so feel free to tell me if this is inappropriate. Besides specific strategies and opening sequences, there are some fairly ...
57Jimmy's user avatar
  • 111
-2 votes
4 answers
203 views

In the middlegame, can one avoid compromising the balance one's opening has achieved? [closed]

A polite duplicate asked last week by @57Jimmy mentions an incidental matter I find interesting: But when all the pieces are out, well placed, and I have castled, I have no idea about what I should ...
thb's user avatar
  • 4,569
48 votes
8 answers
12k views

What are pros and cons around banning castling?

Vladimir Kramnik has proposed on chess.com that castling be banned for the good of the game. What are the kinds of objective points that might be made for & against this idea? Based on these, do ...
Laska's user avatar
  • 12.1k
48 votes
6 answers
5k views

Strategy in middlegame from boring positions

I get into these rather vanilla, or as I call them, boring positions. Not much is happening tactically, and I can't fathom what the right course of action should be strategically. Here is an example....
YoungMoney's user avatar
33 votes
2 answers
5k views

Demystifying Seirawan-Kasparov 1983 king and pawn endgame

I am currently studying the Tarrasch Defense 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5, and naturally I've stumbled upon many Kasparov games as he frequentloy and quite successfully employed this opening throughout ...
user929304's user avatar
  • 3,396
25 votes
2 answers
9k views

What is the Dorfman method in chess?

On various occasions in commentaries or interviews, e.g. during the World Championship commentary with Peter Svidler and Anish Giri, I've heard the Dorfman method being mentioned. I then learned that ...
user929304's user avatar
  • 3,396
22 votes
10 answers
10k views

How to minimise your opponent's fun in a game?

I play numerous online chess games and in this question I am self-centred: I play for two purposes: to win the game, or when winning is unlikely, to draw the game. to improve my chess skills, which ...
Zuriel's user avatar
  • 9,091
20 votes
3 answers
3k views

To what extent should you prevent your opponent from castling?

I normally try to prevent my opponent from castling if possible, by forcing their king to move or keeping an attacking piece on a diagonal or file. I tend to make this a priority, giving up the ...
Sonny Ordell's user avatar
19 votes
9 answers
18k views

What is positional play in chess?

I have played chess so many times, understood tactics (pins, discovered check, overloading, deflection, skewer), but I never understood clearly the positional play. I have noticed not many tutorials ...
pbu's user avatar
  • 972
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is game analysis based on "squares" instead of "pieces" of any value?

Most all analysis I've seen in chess focuses on pieces development, and not the development of unoccupied spaces. Is there any value in analyzing game play in this way, and if so, how is this done? ...
blunders's user avatar
  • 4,147
17 votes
5 answers
3k views

How do I promote my pawn when the king blocks it?

I was playing ChessEndGames and ran into this position (white to move): [fen "5k2/8/4PK2/8/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"] I can't get my pawn to promote. As soon as I do e7, black follows with Ke8. If I do Ke5,...
Gaurang Tandon's user avatar
15 votes
9 answers
5k views

Is pawns supporting pawns a good opening strategy?

For my opening strategy in most chess games I play, I usually move my pawns forward two, then one in an alternating strategy, until I have a sort of WWW shape with my pawns. That way, if anyone takes ...
JXPheonix's user avatar
  • 259
14 votes
4 answers
3k views

Giving up a knight and bishop for castled rook and pawn

The opening shown here is quite common. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to give up a kKnight and a bishop for the castled Rook and the f-pawn? In terms of their "standard" value, both ...
Masked Man's user avatar
  • 1,006
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why does Black want to trade off their 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 their King's Bishop for White's knight on c3. For ...
Marc Vaisband's user avatar
13 votes
6 answers
3k views

When is a queen better than 3 minor pieces (or vice versa)?

Obviously a lot is going to depend on the exact position, but I'm asking if there are any general signposts - e.g. bishops usually get better than knights if the position is open, or in an endgame, ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 27.9k
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Pawn confrontations: capture, push past, or leave the tension?

When your opponent moves a pawn to a position where it can be captured by one of your pawns, how should you determine whether to capture it, push past it or leave the tension on the board and make a ...
Nick's user avatar
  • 1,847
13 votes
3 answers
2k views

Caruana vs Carlsen game 10 (WCC) why not 18...Nxb6?

In game 10 of the Caruana-Carlsen WCC, why did Carlsen (black) not take the terribly annoying and strong dark squared bishop on b6 on move 18 when given the chance? Instead, Carlsen moved the queen ...
user929304's user avatar
  • 3,396
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is the f6 pawn break in Advanced French so important for black?

I am new to the French (so forgive me if the question seems elementary). I've just come across the pawn break ...f6 for black in the French advance variation, and I find the pawn break quite dubious ...
Brass2010's user avatar
  • 1,220