An outpost square is a square that cannot be attacked by the opponent’s pawns. If you occupy an outpost square with one of your pieces, it is difficult for the opponent to force your piece off that square.
Since he cannot use a pawn to eject your piece, he must use another piece. Sometimes, there is no piece available to eject you from an outpost square. This makes an outpost square very powerful, especially if it is in the center of the board, or deep in the opponent’s territory, or near the opponent’s king.
Outpost squares may be protected or unprotected, sheltered or unsheltered. A protected outpost square is one that is guarded by your pawn. An unprotected outpost square is one that is not guarded by your pawn. A protected outpost square is usually stronger than an unprotected outpost square. A sheltered outpost square is one that is in front of the opponent’s pawn. An unsheltered outpost square is one that is not in front of the opponent’s pawn. A sheltered outpost square is usually stronger than an unsheltered outpost square.
An outpost square is often used as a base for building an attack. When it is occupied by a piece, the power of the piece extends outward in all directions. If the outpost square is in the center, you usually have more control of the center. If the outpost square is deep in the opponent’s territory, it can disrupt and cramp the opponent’s pieces. If the outpost square is near the opponent’s king, it can be used to launch a checkmate attack. You may also use an outpost square as a transit point, a landing place for your pieces to move through on their way to invading or attacking.
The best piece to occupy an outpost square is usually a knight. Put your knights on outpost squares. If the opponent tries to capture your piece on an outpost square, it is usually best to capture back with a piece, not with a pawn. In this way, you reoccupy the outpost square with another piece. If you capture back with a pawn, you may lose your outpost square because it will be blocked by your pawn. An exception to this is when you can capture back with a pawn to make a passed pawn. The passed pawn may then be more valuable than a piece on the outpost square.
From the book, “TOTAL CHESS: Learn, Teach and Play the Easy 1-2-3 Way,” by John Herron
TOTAL CHESS is your complete guide to chess. It covers everything: rules, strategies, tactics and checkmates.
Everything in chess comes in threes. Three simple strategies are presented for the opening, midgame, endgame, etc. Each lesson is brief and covers one concept in simple language that everyone can read and understand.