Learn The Fundamentals Of Positional Chess


Table of content:

What is positional chess?

The art of strengthening one’s own position while damaging the opponents’ position is known as positional play. Getting a better position improves your ability to attack and your tactical possibilities.

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Positional chess play is a skill that should not be overlooked. You won’t be able to attain your full potential as a chess player if you don’t grasp positional principles. Your tactics and endgame abilities may be excellent, but you'll quickly become disoriented if you don’t know what to do in the situation.

Rudolph Spielmann, a master of the early twentieth century, famously remarked that, while being able to foresee tactical combinations as well as world champion Alexander Alekhine, he could never get Alekhine’s positions. Alekhine’s superior positional chess play put him in better positions, giving him more chances to identify deadly tactics. Even if you don’t have any tactics in the position, a better chess positioning may help you win in the endgame.

How to improve your positional chess play?

You will need a lot of dedication to enhance your positional chess play. It is insufficient to memorize a single book and solve a few simple issues. It is necessary to observe numerous examples before fully comprehending a particular theme. It is essential to promote critical thinking skills. The ability to think abstractly and envisage things in the future is required. And while you may not see an obvious effect, it will appear, even if it is in an unconscious manner. You’ll virtually instantly know what to think, where to go, and how to guide yourself, which will drastically boost your tournament rating.

When it comes to tournaments of positional chess, you’ll need a lot of practice to improve positional awareness. You must have gone through the positional themes in your own games, both in pain and ecstasy. You’ll also have to examine your own examples with great care. In classic models, you can compare your choices to those of others. Examine your blunders. When you are the protagonist in a preventative decision, a deep strategy, or any other subject, you will be able to recognize and use it much more easily in the future.

Tips to improve positional chess

Here is a list of some simple tips and tricks to improve your positional chess:

  1. Prophylactic thinking: It is critical that you not only consider your own ideas during the game but also strive to anticipate your opponent’s. The actions you make should not only be in line with your own ideas for improving your chess piece position but they should also be designed to counter your opponent’s. Many times, the ability to detect your opponent’s threat is the key to determining the appropriate move.
  2. Pay attention to the pawn structure: The pawn structure often indicates the best course to take in a position. Learn to read it, and you won’t have to waste as much time looking for the right plan. Studying the most common pawn configurations and watching games where the typical plans are used makes it easier to play it yourself the next time you’re presented with a similar circumstance. Start considering the side on which you have the pawn majority, the type of center you have, and the pawn chains in the position, and you’ll notice a huge improvement in your play!
  3. A positional advantage over material advantage: It may sound strange, but it is occasionally wiser to avoid the impulse to go after a pawn or an exchange in order to gain a positional advantage. When you have a positional advantage that keeps your opponent tethered, it’s usually best not to relinquish it and accept a minor material advantage. Most of the time, it will allow your opponent a chance to catch their breath and plan a counter-attack that, while harmless in the short term, can become hazardous over time. Suddenly, you’ll have to locate some precise actions in order to gain a whole point, after being entirely in control of the situation.
  4. Keep an eye out for weaknesses: Train yourself to carefully consider the pawn structure’s weaknesses, both yours and your opponent’s. Start paying closer attention to the pawn moves you make, because each pawn advance could expose significant structural flaws. This is especially critical when putting together a strategy. You should strive to exploit and attack the weaknesses in your opponent’s chess game position while eliminating the ones you’ve found on your own.
  5. Be technical when it comes to materializing the advantage: Don’t offer your opponent the opportunity to become active and get counter-play! It’s critical to remember that the best path to victory is not always the shortest, but the safest. It’s better to start a position with less material advantage but an unambiguous win (for example, an endgame) than to win more material yet play a double-edged game, according to practice.
  6. Examine high-quality games: Professional chess players already know how to handle their pieces, how to position them optimally on chessboards, and how to give them more life. You can discover their motivations by analyzing their games, and then you can use their winning method in your own games.
  7. Find the critical moments: There are important moments in every game. This is a concept that refers to scenarios when you have a number of solid options. It makes no difference whether you start the game with 1.e4 or 1.d4. One of these two is a good place to start for any chess player on the globe.

Important qualities of a positional chess player

We have curated a list of some of the most important qualities of a positional chess player. Let’s have at the qualities below:

  • Passion for the game: You must have a great deal of enthusiasm for the game in order to accomplish the final aim. The climb to the top is difficult and fraught with setbacks. It’s difficult to envision achieving perfection without enjoying the trip. Top chess players are enthralled with the game and chat about it at all hours of the day and night.
  • Ambition: Chess is an individual game, and to excel, a player must have a strong desire to win. Chess, according to Fischer, is a battle fought on the board. This concept emphasizes his personal drive to defeat every foe he faced.
  • Hard work: It goes without saying that a player must train in order to achieve their objectives.
  • Patience: No matter how many hours you work out, results don’t always appear right away. Not only on the board but also in their chess adventure, you must be patient. Strong chess players are more concerned with the form and strength of their own play than with the immediate results. The key is to continue to improve on a daily basis.
  • Fighting spirit: The desire to win is extremely vital, and it is a trait that not everyone possesses. It’s impossible to explain; it’s either you have it or you don’t; it has nothing to do with age or chess talent. It’s all about wanting to win, no matter who your opponent is or what piece color you’re using.

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