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Chess Strategy



I have created and compiled (or am in the process of doing so) all of my chess knowledge as well as centralized knowledge from others with the goal of generating a clear and solid path to chess improvement; my main area of focus is chess planning and strategy. Tactical trainers are numerous, free and effective, however, there is a severe lack of strategic content (the information you need to advance into titled territory). I am attempting to make this information more accessible.

The way to use the website is as follows: Read the subject overviews>choose an Opening repertoire>go to the Planning section and study the corresponding structures>Study Endings and memorize Positional Concepts.

In combination with these efforts it is advised that you also do at least 10 tactical puzzles a day, a link has been provided (ChessTempo) and analyze your games and review master games of similar nature via Chessgames.com

If this formula is followed your skill level will rise immediately and you will perform well in chess tournaments with long time controls (60-minutes+).


Subject Overview


Planning

Planning is strongly associated with the opening. The "plan" is specifically what you're trying to accomplish in a position. A concrete example:



This is the carlsbad structure. It is an overused and highly analyzed position that typically arises from the Queen's Gambit Declined and with colors reversed in the Caro-Kann Defense.

Now I must take a minor detour on this matter of planning to make my point: here we see the Carlsbad position commonly comes from these two openings, well, what good will it do you to study the intricacies of the Carlsbad structure when you typically play the Sicilian as Black?

It's entirely possible that you never see this structure in your games based on the openings you play. Practically speaking, we must ask ourselves, what does this mean? The answer is clear: You must build an opening repertoir with your plans and strategic understanding in mind.

For me, personally, I only play a select few structures that all have somewhat similar goals that stem from openings beginning with 1.d4 d5. Thus my repertoire looks something lke this:
  • White
    • 1.d4 d5 2.c4
    • 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5
    • 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3
  • Black
    • 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5
    • 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 or 1. ...Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 2.
    • 1.c4 c6 2.Nc3 d5

    It's easy to see that almost all of my openings leave me with a 1.d4 d5 structure at some point in time, which means I know what to do most of the time while I play. This is what you should strive for. Why? You can play in such a way that you strive for purely tactical openings relying upon calculation, such as Scotch Gambit or French Winawer and some Sicilian lines,but there is a catch: your opponent doesn't have to go for the sharpest contination. Your opponent can always decline going into complex lines and then you'll be stuck, yet again, on your own with only strategic and positional principles on hand. For this reason, it's much better to focus on being strategically sound rather than trying to memorize millions of lines and learn planning and strategy.
    So, head on over to the Planning section to make sure you're well aware of what you should be doing on the board.

    I'll give some sample opening choices to help facilitate a strategic repertoire.



Positional

Positional play or Positional understanding is simply a list of concepts to consider about a position; you can create a plan to execute a certain strategic goal, for example, the positional concept of the superior minor piece, placing a knight on an outpost:

The knight is extremely powerful in this position and if you notice the bishop cannot ever take the knight. This means that in order for Black to remove the knight it must be an exchange sacrifice (rook exchanged for a minor piece, in this case the knight).


Openings:

In this section the tables will be designed around certain openings that share similar plans and strategic/positional themes.
First choose the table, then study the corresponding structures. After you have become familiar with the structure go to the analysis section for annotated games or non-annotated game collections to see how masters played the same opening.
It's critical that you take every single game (even blitz) and at least compare openings and plans with what you should be doing and what you did do. This will slowly sharpen your openings and middle game play.


1.d4 Sample Repertoire
1.d4 ...d5 QGD/QGA/Slav/Tarrasch
1.d4 ...Nf6 Nimzo/KID/Gruenfeld/Benoni&Benko
1.d4 ...c5 Benoni-complex
1.d4 ...f5 Dutch Defense


1.e4 Sample Repertoire
1.e4 ...e5 Ruy Lopez[many choices]
1.e4 ...c5 Sicilian
1.e4 ...e6 French
1.e4 ...c6 Caro-Kann


Endings:

Endings require precise knowledge of fundamental situations that ultimate become a guideline for finishing games that have not ended in a strategic, positional or tactical domination. The following is a video that demonstrates must know King Pawn Endings:


Fun Zone

Here you can watch the top game from Chessbase's live chess:

Puzzle of The Day from Chessgames.com:


Puzzle of the Day from Chesstempo.com:

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