The middlegame is the most complex phase of chess, combining tactics and strategy, attack and defense, pawn and piece play. There is so much going on that it can easily become overwhelming. What’s more, unlike the opening where you can memorize theory, the middlegame is a different story altogether! There are thousands of possible positions you can find yourself in.
Thankfully, British Grandmaster Danny Gormally is here to explain his unique philosophy on how to win points and greatly improve your chess with dominant middlegame play.
Danny, in his trademark entertaining and informative style, explains how to master both the strategic and psychological problems players face in real games.
This video is an exclusive free preview of Danny’s 15-hour Master Method: Secrets of the Middlegame. In this sample, Danny looks at the unexpected tactical opportunities that can arise in every game. We’ve all had situations where we were under pressure and we thought we’d lose the game, but often there are cases where the opponent will lose concentration, giving you a chance to get back into the game! But, you need to notice these opportunities if you’re going to take advantage of them.
In games between human beings – as opposed to engines – it’s extremely rare that the player with the better position doesn’t allow his opponent any counter-chances. When analyzing games with strong engines, we can see how often we miss hidden tactical opportunities. You need to be constantly aware of the possibility of finding a tactical idea which can transform the game. Be alert and try to take advantage of your opponent’s mistakes.
Unexpected Tactical Opportunities in the Middlegame
Danny analyzes a game from his own career where such an opportunity arose. The more you explore these kinds of situations, the more likely you’ll spot the opportunities to turn your own games around or avoid making similar mistakes. Let’s take a look. We start with the position on the left.
It is at this point that Black played the move …Rc8, which turns out to be quite a serious mistake. A move like …e6 would have been better.
We should analyze the position at this point. White’s position looks quite promising. The knights are in the center of the board, and the two bishops on c2 and d2 control nice diagonals. A decent, centralized, position.
At this point, a move like Qg4 looks natural, threatening something like Nxg6 with some kind of sacrificial attack. But here, we should also analyze Black’s position and see if we can identify any weaknesses!
Firstly, Black doesn’t have many pieces on the kingside in order to defend the king. Secondly, Black’s kingside pawns have been weakened by the fact the hand g pawns have been moved forward one square. This gives an indication of the kind of move White should be playing in this position: Ng4.
This move immediately attacks the pawn on h6, threatening to capture it with a check. Black now has a tough decision about what move to make.
The first option is …g5, but this is clearly not desirable. It creates even more weaknesses in the position, and White can move the knight around it, keeping the pressure on. A move like …h5 is also problematic because of Nh6+. Here, in the position on the right, Black does not really want to capture on h6 as it loses the bishop.
In games where the bishop has fianchettoed in front of a castled king, it is crucial to keep that piece on the board. In many, many situations, once that bishop defender is removed, White can build up an unstoppable attack. Or as Bronstein said, “mate on g7” will follow!
Be sure to watch the full video of Danny’s great insights into the middlegame and to see how this tactical opportunity changed the nature of the game.
Secrets of the Middlegame
Want to squeeze points out of complex positions and snatch wins in front of your helpless opponent? Want to put in your clever twist and start weaving magic in middlegames? Want to outclass your opponent by the 40th move in true grandmaster style?
Let GM Gormally, in this Master Method course, reveal the ultimate secrets to master the middlegame and play it like a pro.
Starting from the right way to flank attacks to pushing the dreaded h-pawn, or from gaining a lead from move one, to when to go all in…
The 15-hour course touches upon the most vital yet often overlooked aspects of middlegame—aimed for club and intermediate players looking to start playing at the expert level. Click here to get instant access to Secrets of the Middlegame with 50% off.
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