Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pawns Pointing The Way

Strategy can be so simple! Just look at this position from my last game of the tournament. I was White:

(White played 14. b4? - see the game here ...)

A simple rule of thumb says that you must attack where your pawns point. Hence White must attack kingside, Black queenside. Of course there are exceptions. More precisely, the rule says that you must attack on your dominant wing. Normally this is where more space is, that is why there are very few exceptions from the pawn pointing rule.

With a closed center the attack must be a wing pawn assault. Why? Just because normally you cannot win without invading with your rooks, therefore you must open files. The closed center works as a shield for the king, allowing king pawns to be detached for the assault.

A good plan for White is for example g3, h4, Kg2, Rh1, g4, h5. Black in turn must try, within six moves, to destroy the center or circumvent it queenside and go for the white king. White must be careful to stop this counter-attack with minimal forces and without stopping the kingside assault.

Did I hear anyone say that this strategic stuff is more complicated than the forks, pins and skewers stuff in tactics? It is not. Of course the precise moves in such a plan require tactical skills. But the plan in itself is very simple and easy to understand.

Now why did I play such a silly move as 14. b4? Of course I had the kingside attack plan in mind. But then I had too much respect for 13.-b5, and thought I must stop this pawn immediately. But now my advanced queenside pawns were easy targets, and it was Black to launch his attack first. I have violated a general rule here: Never advance pawns on the attacking side of the opponent.


At 9:24 PM, Blogger Efficient Chess said...

good stuff; some sort of strategic intuition is needed to play pretty chess and my guess is that everybody has some strategic feel since everybody must have pick up something (space advantage, where to attack, pawn structure, etc) along the way.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger DreadPirateJosh said...

excellent post


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