Questions tagged [strategy]

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

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42
votes
6answers
4k 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....
41
votes
10answers
16k 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 ...
38
votes
8answers
9k 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 ...
30
votes
12answers
9k views

What should I do when I have no ideas and no strategies?

I'm really a beginner in chess, and I just know the rules. So many times in the game I have no idea what should I do. None of my pieces are in danger and I don't have any strategies. What should I do ...
27
votes
8answers
4k views

Is preventing an opponent from castling considered an advantage?

All else being equal, if you have forced your opponent to move their king, thus preventing castling, would that be considered an advantage?
26
votes
14answers
9k 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 moves like ...
25
votes
7answers
3k 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, ...
24
votes
11answers
21k 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
8k views

What should you do when opponent opens with excessive pawn moves?

As a beginner I'm not spending much time studying openings (there are so many!) but trying to work on opening principles. One principle I've read is not to move too many pawns in your opening moves. ...
23
votes
4answers
3k 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?
22
votes
4answers
6k views

Playing the French Defense Exchange Variation

In the French Defense Advance Variation, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 ..., there are some clear game plans for both sides, areas where you want a pawn break, where you want to attack, etc. However, in the ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

What are white's plans in this Scotch Gambit position?

I'll skip the long explanation, but it's not uncommon for me to reach the following position as White out of the opening: [FEN ""] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4 Bb4+ 5.c3 dxc3 6.O-O cxb2 Bxb2 (...
20
votes
8answers
9k 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?
20
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
19
votes
15answers
8k 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, ...
19
votes
6answers
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 ...
19
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
5k 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. ...
17
votes
8answers
7k views

Why is Carlsen being praised for his tie-break play, when Caruana made several game-losing moves?

I followed the three games live on chess24.es (for live commentary from GMs) and chess.com (for actual real time computer analysis). As per my understanding: Game 13 was mostly balanced until 19... ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

Carlsen beat a high ranking GM with 1 Nh3. Conclusions?

In 2018, Magnus Carlsen played a rapid game on chess.com agaisnt Grandmaster Aleksey Dreev in which his opening move was 1. Nh3. [Title "Magnus Carlsen-Alexey Dreev, Pro Chess League, chess.com INT, ...
17
votes
6answers
7k views

Was this “caterpillar” strategy a good way to advance my pawns?

I recently played an endgame as Black in which I though up a silly, but effective, to advance my doubled pawns. Here’s the relevant part of the game. [FEN "8/6p1/2p2kp1/1p1p4/p2P2K1/P1P5/1P6/8 w - - ...
17
votes
7answers
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, ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Who has the advantage at this point in the game?

I was playing the following game and at this point I thought black had the advantage but upon thinking about it for a little while was not sure. At this point in the game who has the advantage and by ...
17
votes
2answers
851 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? ...
16
votes
10answers
5k views

Why do titled players always play online (blitz) speed chess?

If you have been to an online chess server, you will notice that almost all titled players always play quick games (3 0) at a max. On the other hand, if you go to tournaments, it needs cool thinking ...
16
votes
3answers
10k views

Can the Scotch Game really give White chances to get an opening advantage?

If I remember well, Kasparov once said that, besides the Ruy Lopez, the Scotch Game is the only serious attempt for White to get an early advantage in the opening after 1.e4 e5. Is that true? The ...
16
votes
9answers
12k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

When are pieces worth more (or less) than their nominal value?

Which are the most common situations in which pieces are worth more/less than their value, in point? For example, I know that a protected Knight on 6th rank (3rd for Black) of columns d and e may be ...
14
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
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 ...
14
votes
4answers
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,...
14
votes
7answers
761 views

How can I deal with defenses I don't like?

I like to play 1. e4, as I favor open and dynamic positions, and feel comfortable with most black responses, but I there are some openings I don't like, e.g. Sicilian or French. My aversion might be ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Giving up Knight and Bishop for castled Rook and Pawn

The opening showed here is quite common. Is it generally a good or a bad idea to give up a Knight and a Bishop for the King-side castled Rook and the f-pawn? In terms of their "standard" value, both ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Examples of harmony?

Recently my chess tutor used a word which in hindsight is very interesting: harmony. He mentioned I should not just develop my pieces in the opening, but develop them harmoniously. Since then, I've ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

What is counterplay?

I hear this term in online commentaries. I have a vague sense of what it means: you earn yourself some good moves by ignoring a portion of the board and focusing on more promising parts of your play....
14
votes
3answers
688 views

Any tricks to defeat artificial intelligences?

I've been playing a lot against an old build of Chess Free on Android the other day and noted that the AI almost always chooses the safest course of play, boringly eeking out positional advantages. If ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the best strategy for white in this position?

1n3r2/q4pbk/3p2pp/r1pPp3/1pB1P3/1P2BP2/2PQ2PP/3R1RK1 w - - 0 1 I was white in the diagram position in an OTB game I played recently. However, I couldn't find a satisfactory plan. Playing f4 is always ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Why would a player throw a game?

So I am kind of new to chess and I have been playing online. I have been playing for a year and I consider myself a mediocre player, not too good and not too bad. Recently I got this invitation from ...
13
votes
3answers
826 views

How to reach an open position in the 4 Knights Game without exchanging too much material?

I believe that 4 knights opening is the most popular opening, especially among average players. I play it a lot, that's why I want to analyse it. I'm an average player, so I hope you can help me. ...
13
votes
3answers
6k 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
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is Kh8 the best move in this position for black?

Why is, according to Stockfish (depth = 28), Kh8 the best move here for black? This is a position from a game between Emanuel Lasker and Wilhelm Steinitz, 1896. Nb6 seems to be the natural move in ...
13
votes
9answers
4k views

Study endgame first before studying opening? Is it true?

While looking for and comparing suggestions that will help me to improve in chess, I have noticed that some people and some chess book authors suggest that you should study the endgame first. Some ...
13
votes
3answers
16k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Why is 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 b6 so unpopular?

Why is the Sicilian line with 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 b6 almost never played at any level, nor considered in books and similar? It seems logical to me, and after the usual 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Bb7, the Bishop is ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the strategic significance of the English Opening?

I enjoy playing the English opening, pushing my pawn to c4, and trying to out flank my opponent. But I have a hard time, outside of playing normal lines, understanding the advantage it gives, and why ...
13
votes
5answers
702 views

Is this endgame winnable for white? (Knight vs two connected passed queenside pawns)

I would like to know if this endgame is winnable for white. Black to play. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)
12
votes
12answers
8k views

Is chess a game of skill or chance? To what extent?

I want to know whether chess is a game of skill or game of chance, and how much is the degree of skill or chance in terms of percentage. Edit (21 Feb 2014): Please make sure that your answer ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

Equalize - What does it really mean?

We often read or hear in books or video tutorials the following: "With this move, Black can equalize!". Some authors give 15-move or 20-move variations of some openings (e.g. Caro-Kann, Slav, Semi-...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...

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