Lesson 1

The next lesson is written in a unique formulated format. The information has been bundled to small blocks of text, being emphasized by numbers and stars and broken down to rules, their specifications, a bit of history and explanation breaks.

The martial itself:

Classic and modern development, chess fundamentals and book knowledge. 
Most of the martial has been taken from books, renovated, edited and changed.
Books that have been used:
The game of chess – Tarrasch
My system – Nimzovich
Logical chess (move by move) – Chernav

Target audience: newbie


Chess program, lesson 1
An Introduction to chess

Elements of strategy to take into consideration
“Recognition of moves”

1) the centre
2) open files (play)
3) 7th & 8th rank penetration/occupation and control
4) Passed pawn(s)
5) A pin
6) Discovered check / indirect threats
7) Exchange (also exchange sacrifice)
8) Pawn chain(s)

Advancing the forces to the front line where they:

a) being developed from their initial position
b) control the centre
c) influence the opponent’s camp

The classical approach for development:

a) pawn(s) to the e4 & d4 squares
b) Knight(s) to the f3 & c3 squares
c) Bishop(s) – across their diagonals, usually the LSB (Light Square Bishop) to either c4 or b5 & the BSB (Black Square Bishop) to either f4 or g5
d) King position – 0-0 (to be placed away from the centre files)
e) Rook(s) to the d1 & e1 squares


! As a rule of thumb Tarrasch emphasized the development of Knights prior to the development of Bishops. He reckoned that the King’s Knight is at its utmost when posted on the f3 square. His reckoning was not short in reason. On f3 the Knight will:

a) influence two centre squares (d4 & e5)
b) protect the h2 square/pawn
c) aid in the protection of the King side once the King has castled there
d) will assist as a blockade on the h1-a8 diagonal

The Australian IM (who was also a chess correspondence world champion and a gifted writer) C.J.S Purdy said that you should always play the moves you know you’re going to play anyway.
This simple statement holds deep understanding in it.

To relate this statement to our current topic, a player can never know on his second or even third move where his Bishop will be best posted. There is no reason to commit the Bishop to a specific post when you already know where the Knight is going! To put it simply, you know the Knight is going (and better placed) to the f3 square, you don’t however know where the Bishop is going.

Having said that, it is also important to re-emphasize the values of the knight when being placed on f3 – (see reasons “a” to “d” above). The Bishop however, when being developed prematurely has but one value, to support the King in short castles.

In conclusion, during the early development stage we know where the Knight(s) is going, we don’t, however, know where the Bishop will take part in the game. Therefore, as a rule of thumb we now understand why Tarrasch introduced the saying “Knights before Bishops”.

Explanation break

• Since the Queen is the most powerful piece on the board it is also the most sensitive one. A premature development of a Queen can result in loss of tempo(i) and even early losses when the Queen is trapped or forced into an unfavorable position. For these reasons the Queen’s development should come last! Notice that the development scheme is connected to the piece’s value. 
• Knights (worth 3 points) first, to be followed by Bishops (worth 3.5 points), Then Rooks (worth 5 points) and only then the Queen (worth 9 points) come into play.
• Whenever there is a rule, there is also an exception but we’ll come to that later on

Pawn(s) development

A pawn advance isn’t regarded as development per say but rather as an aid to piece development. Or, in order to “claim” control over key squares.

What pawn(s) you develop and what piece-path (for instance in the Ruy Lopez opening the Queen’s Knight is developed Nbd2-f1-g3, this is called a Knight path) you play is a part of opening strategy/theory.

Main lines (or books moves for that matter) are designed plans of achieving an objective. Whether you like or feel comfortable with that objective should define the openings you adopt to your personal repertoire. 

Therefore, as GM Reuben Fine simply put - you should always strive to stick-to-plans (meaning book plans) even when your opponent played moves that you are not familiar with. That being said, while choosing a move that will support/allow/re-enter your initial plan you should always keep a weather eye on the changes that have been introduced by your opponent’s move.

To put this into a formula, a book plan is only disturbed at the sight of:

a) a better move/plan (creative thought is always welcome)
b) a tactic that will re-evaluate the position and/or gain a clear plus
c) Psychological reasons.

Explanation break

Nimzovich has a unique viewpoint on the thinking process within the development approach. Mind you that Nimzovich sees things in a different way to Tarrasch. If Tarrasch was the father of the classical approach, Nimzovich was the one who established the modern school of chess. Or as we call it today, the Hyper Modern approach.

Without getting into the differences at the moment, Nimzovich tells us this:
If it were possible to develop the pieces without the aid of pawn moves (meaning, if a player wishes to play Bf1-c4 he must first make the pawn move e2-e4 etc) the pawn-less advance would be the correct one.

How so? If the pawns are the infantry, or rather the expendable foot soldier, the minor pieces (those being the Knights and Bishops but also the Rooks) are the elite commando units. As the commander of an army you would prefer to have an army of commandos as opposed to an army of old aged farmers ;)

Having said that, we now understand why the “pawn-less advance” as Nimzovich so poetically puts, is indeed the correct one. You would prefer to get your commando units ready to act and deep into the enemy’s territory and finish the war with one killer stroke rather than waste time with the common, less important soldiers.

If we understand that example we realize the value of time.
In chess we refer to this “time” as tempo (meaning move) or tempi (meaning moves).

We don’t want to waste time advancing our foot soldiers unless:

a) Their advance aids in the development of our commando units.
b) If the foot soldier is under attack and therefore must either advance once more or be protected by another soldier.
c) If the foot soldier is given the opportunity to prove his virtue and aid in the creation of an even larger scope for the commando units, he should definitely do so for if a commando unit is being held at gun point by a mere soldier he is forced to react.

An example:
1.e4 e5
2.f4 Nf6?


3.fxe5!! – white captured a centre pawn with a wing pawn, the capture was made with attack and it forces black not only to respond but in fact to waste another move (which otherwise could be used for the development of another piece) but most importantly, white will use the poorly placed Knight for the gaining of additional space.
3…Nxe4 - forced
4.Nf3 – developing the King’s Knight, protecting e5 and d4 (both central squares) and most importantly stopping Black’s …Qd8-h4+ threat.
5. d3!
– White strikes the infiltrating commando unit with a foot soldier and opens the diagonal for his Queen’s Bishop. But alas, that is not all! …


5… Nc5 - forced
6.d4! – Yes, white moved the same piece for the second time, but he has done so with a gain of tempo. Black is forced to react once more and white has released the diagonal for his King’s Bishop. 
6… Ne4 - forced
7. d5!! – The foot soldier has shown his virtue by storming single handedly and is now attacking the other developed Knight forcing it to retreat back where he came from.


7…Nb8 – perhaps not forced but Ne7 is hardly better, where the Knight Will only blockade the development of the King side forces and prolong black from his castling efforts. 
8.Bd3 – white develops his sniper with attack, forcing black to move his Knight for the fifth time!


! Yet another good move is 8. Qe2! Where upon 8… Nc5 White can adopt a Queen-side-castle plan with 9. Nc3 / 10. Be3 / 11. 0-0-0 


Another example can be seen after the moves:

1.d4 d5
2.c4 Nf6?!


3.cxd5 – where white gains a tempo no matter how black reacts to white’s material plus. Upon 3…Qxd5 comes 4.Nc3 and white hits the Queen, and if black wishes to play 3…Nxd5 4.e4 will not only force the Knight to retreat but will provide white with a perfect centre position/control. (Pawns on d4 & e4)

! This examples covers basic thinking process, in effect modern theory suggests 3. Nf3 being prophylacticly better as 3. cxd5 can be met by the following variation: 3… Nxd5 4. e4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5!

The concept of liquidation

What is liquidation?
When a player decides to liquidate the position it usually means that something went wrong with his plans. It is possible to liquidate a middle game plan that has gone rogue into a less harmful one. By doing so a player either came to realize or recognized in the midst of engagement that his plan will fail if he continues to push on disregarding his opponent’s play. He is then redrawn from his aggressive behavior and tries to liquidate the position back to a draw.

During opening play liquidation is mostly evident in poor (at most times over ambitious) development play.

One can think of a developing plan like an investment. When an investor realizes that no fruit will come from his rogue investment he is willing to liquidate his shares. That is, to sell whatever he has, even at the cost of losing some of his initial stakes.

Why would anyone do such a thing?

The investor realizes that wishful thinking is prospect-less. The investment can and will only go down hill, so instead of losing the entire worth of his assets he loses only some as margin. This brings the game back to steady grounds and frees the investor’s mind for other stocks that at the very least will not be as bad as where the initial investment was heading.

The same philosophy can be adopted in chess.
When a player realizes he over played his hand he folds back and schemes another.

Nimzovich teaches us a harsh lesson that is best illustrated with his own example seen after these next few moves:

1.e4 e5
2.Nf3 Nc6
3. d4 d5?
– Clearly black is in hurry. He wishes to push his forces into war without their persons being carefully studied or covered.


4.exd5! Qxd5
5.Nc3! – white develops while attacking the Queen.
5…Bb4 – black feels good, he tricked white into thinking that a gain of tempo is offered here when in fact, he can pin the Knight to the King and prevent it from moving. By doing so black needs not to move his queen so no tempo is lost. Who has the right assumption here, white or black?


6.Bd2! – alas, the pin is broken. Is this move a concession for white? Of course not, this is a developing move is it not? White not only developed his Bishop but has introduced the attack on the black Queen. This is a critical point in the game. Black can face his error, realize he has misplayed the opening and bring the Queen back in shame – thus losing a tempo. Or, he can liquidate with the next move.
6…Bxc3 – black lost a good piece, for a Bishop is worth slightly more than a Knight especially in an open position like the one in mention, where black could have benefited from the play of his two open Bishop diagonals.
7.Bxc3 – indeed, white not only gained the Bishop pair straight out of the early opening but even more so, has embarrassed black by revealing all the holes in his plan. Black thought he will enjoy aggressive play with his open diagonals when in fact now it is white who will benefit from them! With both his Knights intact black would much prefer to have a pawn on d6 and play a slower, slightly closer game where his Knights would have decent play. 


Nimzovich explains liquidation as: when one’s development is threatened with being held up, one must adopt a radical cure and on no account try to remedy matters by half-hearted measures.

The game continues:

7…exd4 – but why? Why should black not “complicate things” and hit back with his newly strike of e5-e4?
Black shouldn’t make the same mistake twice. He has given white the long term advantage of the Bishop pair but the game is far from finished, if black relieves the tension in the centre and manages to catch up on development. If however black wishes to test his luck once more he will only face failure the second time after the moves:

8.Ne5 Nxe5
– black has lost yet another battle. If he chooses to exchange Queens, white will re-capture with the rook and will still be ahead in development. Have the long term plus of the Bishop pair and now black’s development is even more retarded since the Knight cannot be developed to its optimal square.

If however black plays 7…exd4 the continuation of 8.Nxd4 Nf6 with Be6 and castles and black is holding up. Sure he has lost the Bishop pair but he relieved the tension in the centre and can enjoy a good game with far less complications.

Interesting to notice that it was black who initiated the overly aggressive play, it was black who stormed out with e5 and d5 without any preparation and it is black who ended up with nothing better than stopping his own plans! Black was the one who had to relieve the centre tension he himself created, black was the one who had to give away the exchange when facing a concession he wished to unfold on white. It was black who in the end suffered from the very position he has created.

The End