Most chess players are all familiar with the concept of prophylaxis; it is one of the most important elements in the chess battlefield. By definition, prophylactic thinking means “to prevent the opponent’s plans beforehand”. Certainly easy to understand; however, as it happens with every chess concept it is much more difficult to play in practice.
There were many great players who developed a prophylactic style of play, the most notorious one being Tigran Petrosian, but before him, Aaron Nimzowitch had already mentioned the importance of not always thinking on the attack but make moves to safeguard your position instead.
It is never a good idea to disobey chess principles. Although we live in modern days, where the powerful engines have taught us that in chess the principles or “rules” are not always mandatory, for a human it’s helpful to have an understandable guide on how to play the opening phase.
Therefore, the principles are useful, shortlist of to-do things. Fight for the center, develop your pieces and secure your king by castling. However, sometimes this can get you into trouble without even noticing it.
Positional sacrifice is a very important topic for those who wish to take their positional understanding to the next level.
The importance of positional chess cannot be underestimated. It is a fundamental understanding of the game, it’s core principles and ideas. And it is one of the key reasons why Masters beat club players in almost every game. They simply read and interpret what’s happening on the board better.
A game of chess goes through many phases and changes. Every strategic game must be complemented by the good tactical vision. Every good attacking player needs to have good positional skills.
It doesn’t matter how great a positional player one is if tactical opportunities are missed. Just the same, there are many good attacking players who commit basic mistakes when it comes to playing a quiet, positional game.
The structure we are going to talk about in this lesson is, in fact, a form of hanging pawns.
From a strategic point of view, it represents a weakness for the side having it.
However, it can be successfully used in combination with a dynamic play.
In every game we play, trading pieces in inevitable. However, this shouldn’t be done automatically and it is important to choose the right moment and the right pieces to trade.
Today we are going to talk about queens and when you should decide to trade them off and when to keep them on the board. As always in chess, there are no rules without exceptions, but we have tried to outline a few guidelines that could help you take the right decision in such a moment.
The Carlsbad pawn structure refers to the formation that arises usually, but not exclusively, from the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit.
It can also be reached from other Queen’s Pawn openings such as the Nimzo-Indian and Grunfeld.
We find the same structure, but this time with reversed colors, in the Exchange Variation of the Caro-Kann.
Positions with the isolated pawn are often misunderstood, which many times leads to the fear of playing this type of positions. The common concept is that the isolated pawn is a weakness (and it is!) and we know that we should avoid creating weaknesses in our position. This general idea is correct, but there are no rules in chess, but mostly concepts that should guide our thinking. The case of the isolated pawn is one that enhances this idea. It is a weakness, yes, but it is not so easy to play against it.
A very important feature of the position and one that we should pay special attention to during every game we play is the pawn structure and the changes that it might suffer throughout the game, as your plans should also change with it. The study of the most important pawn formations will not only help you find the best plans during your game with ease, but you will also be able to choose correctly the type of position you want to achieve in relation to the pieces you have on the board.
Ever since we start learning chess we are taught to look for active moves; moves that control the center and help improve our position. We are also told to search for ways to put our opponent in an uncomfortable situation, seek the initiative and try to build an attack whenever this is possible. All the situations described above usually require forward moves. When we are kids, we are most of the time scolded for moving our pieces backward and rightly so.