Today we are going to study a very interesting and important topic, how to win in opposite side castling positions. And one of the best chess players to learn from is indeed… Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (MVL). Maxime is one of the most aggressive of the super-GMs. With the peak Elo of 2819, he definitely knows a thing or two about attacking in the middlegames.
He has a great personal score against Magnus Carlsen and has beaten nearly all the top GMs in various time control games. He is also a very strong blitz and rapid player.
In our new TCW Academy course, Complex Middlegames for Club Players, we will be studying Maxime Vachier-Lagrave’s games to enhance our understanding of sharp middlegames.
GM Jacek Stopa is revealing the secrets of Complex Middlegames. Jacek based this course around the most instructive and educational games, emphasizing ideas and principles that you can directly copy and paste into your own games.
Here is a brief summary of what to keep in mind during the middlegame:
1. Pawns don’t move backward.
It is a trivial rule, but trust me even strong GMs sometimes ‘forget’ about it. Always think ahead when it comes to the pawn moves, and whether they are really necessary.
2. Don’t be afraid to trade Bishops for Knights.
Many club players believe that Bishop is a superior piece and prefer keeping it. It is not so and is decided by the position. If you think trading Bishop for a Knight is beneficial, go for it.
3. Play aggressively, but don’t overextend.
Overextending makes your pawn and pieces vulnerable to an attack.
4. Don’t commit to a certain pawn structure before completely evaluating the resulting position.
Ask questions like these: ‘are my pieces good for this pawn structure’, ‘do I have a clear plan’, etc.
5. Always have a middlegame plan.