29

In principle, the middlegame is indeed just raw calculation. In principle, the entire game of chess boils down to only that. But since the space of possible move sequences is so vast, chess is of course too complex from the standpoint of pure calculation for that to be all that we do when we play. And after all, even our computational superiors (chess ...


29

In short, the key idea is to prevent white from playing h2-h3! Bc4 forces the exchange of light square bishops, and thus, sets up Rh3 which blocks the h2 pawn and keeps both the h2 and g4 pawns weak. Concretely, the only piece currently covering h3 is the light squared bishop on f1, so by trading the bishop with Bc4, which white cannot prevent as Bg2 leaves ...


26

I think it is because 21.Rfc1 wins the c7 pawn. If black responds with a queen trade, she can't defend the pawn on c7 because white's bishop can attack a defending rook on c8 or d7. [White "NN"] [Black "NN"] [FEN "3r3r/2p1kppp/B2qp3/2Qp4/6b1/PP2P3/3N1PPP/R4RK1 w - - 0 1"] 1. Rfc1 Qxc5 2. Rxc5 Kd7 3. Rac1 {and the pawn falls} That said, the position is ...


23

In a general way chess engines use a decision tree. The root of the tree is the current position and has a child node for each position that can be made by making a legal move. Each of these nodes in turn have a child node for the positions that can be reached by making a legal move from them. The engine pushes the tree out to a depth defined by its ...


23

You're asking a pretty complex question, but it's good to go back to basics. There are a couple of concepts to consider: Evaluation If a (real) player is shown a position and asked "who is winning this game?", how do they go about deciding? Most likely, they will check a few basic things, such as: material differences, the degree to which pieces have ...


23

It is true that Rfc1 wins the c7 pawn, but even if that where not the case, Rfc1 is significantly better technique than initiating the exchange yourself. The black queen is pinned against the king, so there is no risk of black evading the queen exchange. Stepping out of the pin will just waste a tempo, because then you'll still be able to exchange. If ...


21

I think you partially answered your question. The main fact that you can "...execute tactics now without thinking..." is definitely a good start. Also that fact that you said, it "feels right" is also a good start although you don't really want to play a tactic just because it "feels right". Information on tactics can be found from Louis Holtzhausen site ...


21

The short answer is: white's making it difficult for black to challenge the center with their central pawns. But that's not really revealing much, so let us dig deeper into this beautiful middlegame. The rook doubling is in fact part of a grander scheme that Kramnik has in mind. Once black commits to d6, Kramnik targets a very concrete objective: To ...


20

Should I focus on opening? Do you regularly fail to get out of the opening? Regularly get beaten whilst still in the opening? If yes then you definitely need to work on your openings. Do you usually come out of the opening with a playable position? If yes then you are wasting your time spending more time working on openings if your goal is to improve. Do ...


18

This is a variation that was played fairly frequently, but it has been more or less worked out to a draw, so it is less common at the top levels now. The Ruy Lopez is a very concrete opening, and the capture on c6 has to be carefully considered as it relates to the exact position. In terms of opening principles, you're giving up a bishop for a knight ...


17

I think that this is a good question, but also that the most enlightening way to answer might be to point out what I think is a slight misconception behind it. You say that most analysis you have seen focuses on the development of pieces, rather than the development of unoccupied spaces. But when one focuses on the development of pieces, what does this mean? ...


17

When evaluating a bishop, there are two totally separate things that must be considered. The first is whether a bishop is "good" or "bad". These are very much misnomers because they have nothing to do with the worth of the bishop. The second consideration is whether the bishop is "active" or "inactive". Finally, there may be mitigating factors as well (...


17

Good question! The positional priorities in this position do not really lie in whose bishop has more prospects, but rather in the emerging pawn structure, potential pawn breaks, and either side's ability to create targets and holes in opponent's camp. In short, c4 here is an extremely committal move which should only be played if it can be backed by very ...


17

Short answer: Since after the bishop recapture on f8 (and not the rook recapture!) white is tactically and positionally completely busted, with 5 active black pieces against a completely exposed king in the centre and no foreseeable chance of consolidation in order to eventually benefit from the material advantage. First observations: 15...Bxf8 is with ...


16

In this case, the answer is "gain familiarity with the standard strategical themes of the chosen opening". Black's #1 issue in the Queen's Gambit Declined is what to do with his light-squared bishop, which if ignored can easily get stuck behind the e6 pawn and often a c6 pawn. The two standard ways to free it are Play ...e5 to allow the bishop to move ...


16

I think of game time decisions as yin-yang of tactics vs strategy (or positional play). In that order, tactics are the move-by-move calculations with the aim of achieving material gains (or preventing material losses if you are defending). Positional considerations are your intellectual efforts that do not involve precise calculations, but rather have the ...


15

I don't think one style has an advantage, or at the GM level, there would only be one style; the other would be extinct. The very definition of a tactical player is Mikhail Tal AKA 'The Wizard of Riga.' Others include Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov. Anatoly Karpov and Tigran Petrosian are great examples of positional players. Fischer himself said that ...


14

The game Alekhine-Nimzowitsch immediately comes to mind; a great example of both a zugzwang in a position full of pieces and the infamous "Alekhine's Gun" (the tripled major pieces on the c-file): [FEN ""] [White "Alexander Alekhine"] [Black "Aron Nimzowitsch"] [Result "1-0"] 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Bd2 Ne7 6. Nb5 Bxd2+ 7. Qxd2 O-O 8. c3 ...


14

Classically positional play is what is described in part 2 of Nimzowitsch's "My System". Part 1, The Elements, is more tactical in nature. It describes play in open files, using the 7th and 8th ranks, passed pawns, pins, discovered checks and a few other features. Part 2, Position Play, deals with stuff like Fighting for the center, which you do by moving ...


13

The center is the crossroads of the board. Controlling it will give you access to every other part of the board. At the same time, it will drive a wedge in the opponent's position that hampers communication between king and queen side. Control of the center is usually a decisive advantage in your favor; unless your opponent has heavy compensation (e.g. more ...


13

Excellent question and you made a good assumption. I feel like I can execute tactics now without thinking, but I am not really sure what I just did. Maybe I am missing a positional understanding? That's exactly what you are missing, because tactics are the consequence of good positional understanding (this is a startling claim, feel free to disagree!...


13

The following traps do not lead to any positional loss for the side setting the trap. It's obviously not an exhaustive list- A common trap in the Sicilian [FEN ""] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. c3 Nf6 4. Be2 Nxe4?? 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxe4 Queen's Gambit Elephant Trap [FEN ""] 1. d4. d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Nxd5?? Nxd5 7. Bxd8 Bb4+ ...


13

I recently progressed from 1800 to 2000 in my USCF tournament rating. I don't know how that compares to chess.com ratings. Here are some differences I think I can perceive between my play now and then (I'm not sure what the relative importances are): I memorized a lot of opening lines using spaced repetition (I know, you're not supposed to do this at such a ...


13

I don't know what does "playable" mean for you, but... even though 9... Kh8 isn't a losing move, it's just a waste of time. Even a greater waste of time is the suggested plan with Ng8 and Bh6. Why? Because almost in every position there are more imbalances and you have to choose the most important. Let me explain it: You've already listed two imbalances in ...


13

Yes, white is better in this position, because it controls more space. The black position is somewhat cramped, particularly the queenside pieces (Bd7, Nb8, Ra8) are difficult to develop. The queenside pawns are blocked so the play is going to happen on the kingside. (there might be some tactical ideas for white in the far future related to a piece sacrifice ...


13

tl;dr: "Yes." Discussion: Technically, this position is governed by the basic concept of the "Outside Passed Pawn" and the winning method is to use that pawn to restrict the opposing king's ability to defend the other pawns on the board. The purest expression of that concept is in David's answer, which is to just use the one pawn and leave the other as a ...


12

This answer is something of a kindred spirit to those already given by dfan and jedrus07; both of their answers focus on your light-square bishop, with dfan addressing the big strategic picture that often revolves around that piece and jedrus07 focusing on the concrete pickle it ended up in by the end. I want to share a few thoughts on how its fate and yours ...


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