Why do some club players make quick progress and quickly jump from novice and intermediate to expert and beyond… while many others get stuck at 1400 for decades and barely progress?
Is that because they are super smart? Natural-born chess players? Training for 80 hours a week? Nope, not at all. They simply follow the two-step system: LEARN and APPLY. If you learn the important ideas and apply it in your games, your results will skyrocket.
This begs the question, what to learn? You can spend months or even years learning things that will not produce any major impact on your game.
Success in chess involves many things. It requires chess strategy, tactics, calculation and intuition, evaluation and creativity. Chess strategy involves the general positions of positional play.
This video is a free preview of GM Bryan Smith’s course, “Chess Strategy Mastery” in which Bryan covers all the areas of strategy that you need to know in order to take your game to the next level.
In the course, Bryan teaches how to improve one’s pieces, how to gain the initiative, how to gain control of key squares, how to create weaknesses in the opponent’s position (and how to exploit them!), as well as how to convert an advantage into a win through direct attacks or through simplification of the position.
All of these important chess strategy elements can’t really be implemented, however, without being able to analyze each position and evaluate how a move changes things, and which player benefits the most from the structural and positional changes.
GM Bryan Smith analyzes a number of games in order to teach this crucial skill in chess strategy. In the first game, Bryan shows how even a relatively normal-looking position immediately after the opening can hold so much potential to find an advantage, and how Black went wrong with moves that might at first glance look okay. This is how you’ll learn not to mis-evaluate a position, and what the key things are you need to keep in mind with every single move you make.
Chess Strategy: Evaluating a Position
In the video preview, GM Bryan Smith kicks things off by looking at a recent game played in Moscow, 2018. We see the position on the left, immediately after the opening.
It appears to be about equal, with an almost symmetrical pawn structure. The positions of the knights are different – this is relevant.
From here, a pretty standard-looking, almost uninteresting position, Black quickly obtained an overwhelming advantage! It all began when White played the move 1. e4.
This move, on a certain level, fits positional rules and it is not too difficult to understand what White was thinking, It takes the pawn off the same color as White’s bishop, and at the same time fixes Black’s pawn on e5 – on the same color as White’s bishop. However, this move is simply wrong. Why?
First of all, it gives up the f4 square, which Black’s knight can jump into – and does, with 1…Nf4. Here, the knight is much more useful. At the same time, 1. e4 has permanently weakened the d4 square. A much better move would have been something like Rad1.
1…Nf4 looks like it leaves the e5 pawn en prise, but it wouldn’t be good for White to capture it. For example, 2. Nxe5 leads to 2…Rxc3 3. bxc3 Rxe5 and Black has two pieces for the rook and a pawn. In this position, the two minor pieces are much stronger. They would blockade the dark-squares with White having weaknesses on c3 and somewhat on f2. The bishop would make its way to f5, supported by the queenside pawns. Alternatively, if White captured on e5 with the Bishop, 2. Bxe5, Black plays Nd5, forking the rook and bishop.
2. Rad1 was played, a perfectly logical move. 2…f6 adds protection to the e-pawn. 3. Rd7. Perhaps White considered that the rook would be active on the seventh rank and worth enough compensation for allowing Black’s knight into f4, but this is a mistake.
3…Re7 challenges the rook and protects the seventh rank. White has to avoid trades at this point, as each trade would only strengthen Black’s position and increase the advantage. 4. Rd8 tries to keep the piece active, and Black plays 4…Rec7, reaching the position on the right.
How does Black convert the advantage? It has to do with shutting out the play of White’s rooks and bringing Black’s king to a more central position. Watch the full video to get GM Bryan Smith’s full expert analysis and to see what happened next!
Chess Strategy Mastery
There is one thing contributing greatly to chess success that majority club players overlook … and that is chess strategy! Strategy is a roadmap leading straight to your goal. In chess, lack of strategy will prevent you from winning many games. In contrast, understanding and applying strategy will help you beat your opponents, even those rated higher than you.
GM Bryan Smith has compiled over a decade of his experience as a player and coach creating a “university level” course on chess strategy. Instead of focusing on typical things that don’t work for many club players, GM Smith gives you the exact tools and techniques that are proven to work. He’s had success with these skills himself, as he practices what he preaches! Click here to get instant access with 35% off!