Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Welcome to the Chess Strategist Blog!

Welcome to the Chess Strategist blog - for those chess players who would prefer to concentrate on improving their strategic thinking in chess! Strategy is an element of chess that cannot be ignored. It is of equal importance to chess tactics for reasons that without sound chess strategy, concrete chess tactics cannot be employed ... !

Many players ask: "What is the difference between chess strategy and chess tactics?"
Indeed, if you look up the word strategy in a thesaurus, the chances are that it will return the word 'tactics' in the definition!

Let me try and explain. Chess Strategy: is concerned with the long-term goal that arises from a position at any point in time during a chess game. Chess Tactics: are concerned with the short-term gains that can be made to achieve the long-term goal hence the link between strategy and tactics.

For example, a long term strategy might be to:
1) Aim pieces at the castled king's position in order to achieve a checkmate by overwhelming piece majority.
2) Dominate the center, steamroller through and queen a pawn.
3) Attack on the queenside with minority attack.

A short-term tactic might well concern:
1) Winning one of your opponents pieces or pawns around the king to bring about this afforementioned majority.
2) Clearing the pawns around the king to expose the king to dangerous, game winning checks wherupon checkmate can be forced (a clearance mate).
3) Taking advantage of a situation when for instance your opponent makes a mistake or oversight when trying to defend against your strategy. You might in this case be able to win pawns and / or pieces. This is the time to use the tactics.

'Tactical gains' can be brought about by use of a 'tactical combination'. This is a series of moves that involves losing material in the short-term to gain more material or advantage in the long-term. However, without the use of the correct strategy in any given position the tactics may never arise. It is important to note that during a game of chess the long-term strategy can frequently change depending on what the position is telling you! Warning: It is dangerous to stick to the same single strategy regardless of what your opponent does!

Normally as an amateur chess player you will find that you possess either better tactical ability or better strategical awareness, not normally both of these in abundance. If you do possess both skills then you are very lucky and you will probably go on to become a very strong player!

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