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43

As the old poem says: For want of a nail the shoe was lost. For want of a shoe the horse was lost. For want of a horse the rider was lost. For want of the rider the message was lost. For want of a message the battle was lost. For want of a battle the kingdom was lost. And all for the want of a horseshoe nail. Exactly the same principle applies in chess. ...


32

Castling is extremely useful in almost all games. It lets you do two things at once. First, it moves your king from the center to the side of the board, where it is much more difficult to attack for the opponent. Second, it brings one of your rooks towards the center of the board, and it crucial in bringing both of your rook into the game. There may be a ...


29

I'm not at all disagreeing with the existing answers - both sound. Indeed every pawn is a potential queen. However, one aspect of the question remaining is: why struggle for a pawn as opposed to a more decisive plan? In the games that you are watching, if they are between capable and well-matched players, very often the game will be quite well balanced with ...


13

The way I see it, neither of you was aggressive in the opening -- you both tried to get rid of your pieces as quickly as possible! Being aggressive is getting many pieces in active positions quickly, not giving them away. When we give advice, we have to take into account the level of the players. Both of you need to work on the most basic skill first: Piece ...


11

There's the Poisoned Pawn variation of the Winawer: [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. Qg4 Qc7 8. Qxg7 Rg8 9. Qxh7 cxd4 In general, though, it's hard to find a good pawn for Black to give away in the French.


11

It's definitely not a good idea. If it were one, there would be a real opening for it. One problem with moving all your white-squared pawns 1 space forward, is that you lose so many moves developing your pieces. However, this is the 'small' disadvantage. The big one is, that all of your white squares are very weak. Look at this position: [fen ""] 1. a3 e5 ...


11

This is a bit trivial as an answer, but too long as a comment. You claim that you can develop "as good as White" but that is simply not true. White begins by interposing the Bishop 4.Be2. You play 4..Bg4. It is now a mistake to play 5.Nf3 because 5..Bxf3 spoils whites Pawns and makes his King insecure. But 5.d4! also gains a development tempo, and forces ...


11

Another point which has not been raised by the excellent answers above is that pawns are easy to block. A pawn can be blocked by just one piece in front of it, and it cannot take the piece which blocks it. Contrast this with any other piece, which can take a piece which blocks its movement (barring other circumstances such as a pin). This property means that ...


10

2... Qf6, while not strictly unsound, is definitely an inferior move, not only because it develops the queen prematurely, but also (and more importantly) because it deprives the black king's knight of a very natural square on f6. Don't panic about a possible king-side attack -- black cannot mate with no minor pieces developed. There are a number of ...


9

World Champion Tigran Petrosian was known to be almost impossible to beat. He's your man. Study his games and legacy. Per Wikipedia, he lost 1 out of 129 Olympiad games. Olympiads are top-notch tournaments and the score is over 20 years of play. He's not a flash in the pan. In his 8 Euroteams competitions (held every three years from 1957 to 1983) he ...


8

You're not being naive. It sounds like you're a positional player. You'll probably favor closed games. Closed games are ones where there are pawns in the center, reducing the long-range power of many of the pieces on the board. Too much memorization is unhelpful. You will need to memorize a a few openings, and not too deeply. As long as you understand ...


8

The issue with your opening strategy is that you neglect the development of your pieces. While you are pushing your pawns, your opponent will bring their pieces into the game. In general, the three most important guidelines of the opening are: Controlling the center. The closer a piece is to the center, the more influential it becomes. Developing your ...


8

In my opinion this is a pretty hard question to answer, because there is no single correct answer to it. The choice of opening repertoire for a player should be determined by his play style, e.g. do you prefer to be aggressive always on the offense or are you more of a tactical player, looking for strategic weaknesses in your opponent's position, do you ...


7

The Cozio defenses, both with 3....Nge7 (1) and 3....a6 4.Ba4 Nge7 (2), have been played by top grandmasters like Nakamura and Aronian. According to the Game Database of ChessTempo both variations are quite regularly played and equally popular: 1160 games for (1) and 703 games for (2). Unsurprisingly, both variants are very similar. After (1) white usually ...


7

Avoid queen mating on g2 is easy: f3, Qg3, Qh3+ are decent options Re4, Kf1 also prevent immediate mate but are not good Winning this position is objectively speaking impossible. Black is up a piece and white does not have sufficient compensation for it. Most players would resign if playing somebody of 1800 strength or even less. If black is a beginner and/...


7

Preceding answers and comments make many good points. Why struggle for a single pawn? The simple answer is: Chess games are mostly won by material advantage! Generally being up a single pawn in an otherwise safe position is a clear advantage, often a winning advantage. In such a situation a GM analyst might say: And the rest is technique! Of course there are ...


6

Yes, there are some standard setups/patterns that are useful specifically for defense, and the most "absolute" such defensive setups in chess go under the term fortress, which are setups in which the stronger side is provably unable to make any progress toward a win. Valentin's answer, for instance, already gives a nice example of a known fortress, wherein ...


6

In my long (20+ years) chess career I haven't actually seen any book/article on 'defence setups'. Probably because there are not many general helpful setups and more often than not you have to adapt to the current position. But there are some obvious common sense ones. One obvious one is the Pawn+Bishop one you mentioned but many times you just don't want ...


6

I'm fond¹ of this one, after sacrificing my queen for some pieces and having to deal with all my additional material being forked all over the place : [FEN "8/3P4/P2rP3/2p2Q2/8/3n4/8/5k2 w - - 0 1"] Note that in this setup, the knight is not bound to its square, as it can move and get back to other pawn-defending squares in no time. It's a very flexible ...


6

if you decided to know how good an opening/defense scores, is there an online database that keeps track of all the games ever played, or do you take for granted what other players told you? For instance if you buy Chessbase, it will deliver a big database with some games. There you can look up for the openings, which were played by the big players. I like ...


6

Here is one line: [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. e5 Nfd7 6. h4 c5 7. Bxe7 Qxe7 8. Nb5 O-O 9. Nc7 Nc6 10. Nxa8 cxd4 Black has castled, and is pretty well developed, while the white king is still in the center, and white does not have one normally developed piece. You probably won't find many games with professionals playing the line, ...


6

There is also the gambit from the game Capablanca-Alekhine (St Petersburg, 1914), but it's not very good. [fen ""] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 h6 (4...Be7;4...Bb4)5. Bxf6 Qxf6 6. exd5 Bb4 7. Bb5+ The check is annoying. If black could castle without disturbance, this gambit would perhaps be playable. I have thought about using the same idea one ...


6

Being aggressive and taking the center are two different things. Regarding being aggressive, if White is making defensive moves, it's OK for Black to do the same as long as each move has a strong purpose. For example, Black might fix flaws in his position by repositioning poorly placed pieces or securing his King. If he instead chooses to attack and there ...


6

After 22. ... Nf6, white will reply 23. Qe6!, threatening a nasty discovered check. 23. ... Bf8 won't work because it is mate after 24. Re7+ Kh8 25. Qxf6+ Kg8 26. Qxg6+ Kh8 27. Qxh7#, and 23. ... Kh8 loses to 24. Bg5! and Black's position will collapse.


6

I would say that type of formation leaves a lot of weak squares, as enemy pieces can occupy pretty much any dark square they want (mainly b4, d4, f4, h4) and start an attack from there with help from the pawns. These pieces will never ever be kicked away. White's light squared-bishop will also suffer because he has nowhere to go, so, for that strategy to be ...


6

The answer by @Brian Towers is both beautiful and true, but not always true. It is perhaps true if you think of every pawn as a potential queen. However, in endings, especially in Rook endings, the textbooks will tell you not to be drawn into passive defence but to keep your pieces active, and counterattack. That being said, you may not have the choice. ...


5

I am a 2210 FIDE-rated player and I have played the French defence in tournaments as a primary defence to 1. e4 since I was a child. Although you may find gambit lines on the Black side in some variations (as many good answers here have shown), you will not be able to play such gambits unless White is cooperative and willing to play against them. The fact is ...


5

There is only one difference between black and white: The first move(no, the color does not count :p). This means that white starts with the initiative. They can make threats first and black should respond. At the moment white lets the initiative go(that is, allows black to make threats to which they must respond) the colors have "switched"(no, this does ...


5

Yes, when your opponent makes defensive and passive moves, you should try to take initiative and attack, no matter what color you are playing. Because White make move first, in very first stage of game they have initative, and Black must counteract against it, so they technically defense, but after opening this advantage becomes a little significant.


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