Winning with Subtle Strategies.

When some one suggests to us in order to improve our chess skills we must study Strategy, we immediately think of the components that one usually finds in any book or CD that make up the study on this subject. We can find a very complete list of these components on our index page at the top titled The Curriculum. Just scroll down to 2. Strategy Basics and you will immediately see it broken down into three complex areas.

However have you ever thought of using different kinds of strategies as a total strategy plan for winning a game?

This is the focus of this page. Listing different types of strategies that one might use as plans to win a game that is not based on the game after it has started, not based on an imbalance, weakness or position in a game and is not based on any chess basics that we know as chess fundamentals of play.

These Strategies are based on a complete complex line of play that have to do with the psychology of the game.

Only recently within the last few years have a few writers scratched the surface of the psychology of the game with a few books on this subject. They choose such subjects as intuition, creating tension, psyching out your opponent.

The problem with those books are that they assume all you have to do is to read the book apply the information and then you will automatically win the game. Trying to win a game using psychology depends too much on the other persons personality and not on sound principles of chess basics. For example we know that if your opponent ignores or violates the basic sound principles of opening theory then there is a very good likelihood that he will create a imbalance in your favor that you can capitalize on.

So how then can we use a different psychological approach that takes into account both the psychological and the fundamental basics of chess theory?

We can look at the human nature of all people. We can use to our advantage of what we know to be true about all people. We know for instance that people are incapable of playing a near perfect game without making gross mistakes like a computer can. People are not perfect they all are subject to flaws and have many shortcomings. People are not infallible and everyone makes errors in judgment from time to time.
People are subject to memory deficiencies, they do not have perfect recall and may make the same mistakes again. They are subject to all kinds of psychological problems like lacking the ability to think things through to a logical conclusion when under stress like the stress when faced with extreme time pressure. When under great stress they not only tend to make mistakes but the mistakes may become outright significant blunders as well.

From these conclusions about human nature we can see that it's not too difficult to come up with some ideas on how to capitalize on these deficiencies.

One winning strategy might be to simply be able to play fast in the beginning of the game so as to put your opponent behind in time and create stress such as a time pressure problem for him as you might be able to do if your opening repertoire is so practiced that you don't have to think long about your next good move. After that, If you keep giving him more and more complex problems and threats to think about to get him even further behind in time, eventually that stress may simply overwhelm him to the point that he will either lose on time or make that blunder that will cost him the game;

1. Strategy One: Winning by just letting your opponent lose the game.

Unlike playing a chess program, we all know that humans make mistakes and blunders. Chess programs don't usually make bad mistakes, the weaker they are the less plies they see ahead and so play less skillfully. Likewise the more skilled is the player the fewer mistakes they usually make also. However, no mater how skilled is the player we can assume that sooner or later they will make a mistake and even blunder occasionally. If they never or rarely ever do this we might suspect they are using a computer chess program to assist them.

So how can we capitalize on these facts? Most players just assume that they and their opponent will make mistakes and hope that their opponent will make more mistakes then they or a big mistake or blunder will happen that will turn the tables in their favor. But how many think of using this knowledge to actually win the game by forming a plan, or a winning strategy around this knowledge?

So now your new strategy to win a game could be to simply to make a plan to play to make fewer mistakes than your opponent.

Do you think this plan sounds much too simplistic? Think again, and then consider this.

Every player makes blunders and mistakes. By playing carefully to make fewer mistakes and fewer blunders than your opponent, you are playing to win by just letting your opponent lose the game through his ineptness.

He does this by simply making more mistakes and blunders than you do and the accumulation of these mistakes regardless of the number can do him in. Especially if the mistakes are more costly than are yours. Yes it's often the type of mistakes that are made, not just the number. You may plan to draw your opponent into such costly mistakes with subtle and safe traps that if they do fail they do not impede your position and cost you material. Many of our training openings have many such traps.

Understanding the Sicilian Defense has 38 traps. Understanding the Petroff Defense has 11 traps and if you really want to know how to specialize in "Trapology" be sure and see, Understanding The French Defense it has 52 traps! And has a nice whole article just on how to master the art of using traps and winning through defensive play. And we even have a whole page just on Traps, Zaps and Mates where you will find 33 more traps that's a incredible, whopping 134 traps!

So what kind of plan should you make to insure that you make fewer mistakes and blunders than your opponent?

1. Only play long games with large increments to give your self-time to ensure that you see all the threats and potential mates, both for you and against you before you move. Give your self time to calculate your opponents knight moves so that you can make anti-knight moves to thwart, frustrate and defeat his plans thus causing him to take risky moves to free his position. May be he will sacrifice a pawn or piece that he thinks will enhance his development. Give your self-time to make a plan based on a weakness he created or make a plan to create one. Remember that it is pawn moves that are at the root of most weaknesses!

Go to this page Making Plans and find out about how making pawn moves can create weaknesses.

2. Study defensive play. The odds are much greater to make mistakes when you attack than when you engage in defensive play.

Most opponents play to win by attacking. Few study defensive tactics theory and strategy. By using superior defensive tactics and strategies, your opponent will soon run out of steam and pieces leaving him vulnerable and weak. In fact your defensive plan might be one to so remove his space and choices so much that you just slowly choke him to death and strangle his king in the process.

3. Play a safe game, don't engage in risky plans. Don't take chances. Don't think that every move must be a threatening or attacking move. Take the time for housekeeping choirs to strengthen your position. Develop all you pieces, castle early. Use prophylactics to strengthen your position or grip on a outpost. Try to take over a weak square for a outpost to put a knight into his camp.

Aron Nimzovich proclaims that neither attack nor defense is a matter properly pertaining to positional play. It is rather an energetic and systematic application of prophylactic measures.

The strategical proposition is that one must over-protect his own strategically important points, that is, provide defense in excess of attack; lay up a store of defense. Over-protect and improve your key points, Improve your weak points, make even more strong points, in short every thing that we can include in the collective conception of strategically important points, ought to be over-protected. Make your position so bomb proof it becomes a stronghold of impenetrable strength.

How can you accomplish this? Through using Positional Play. Read our page on Positional play and see the example at the end called Accumulated Advantage. It shows exactly how to gain the advantage by using accumulated playing.

Each advantage no matter how small is important because a few small advantages added together can mean a winning position. Steintz called this the accumulation theory. If you play to accumulate small advantages you're playing "Positional Chess"

Examples of these small positional advantages include control of the central squares, good pawn placement or good pawn structure, few or no doubled pawns, backward pawns, isolated pawns, early development of the pieces, control of open files, rooks on open files, development of knights before bishops in the opening, trading off two knights for two bishops, trading off a bad bishop, taking the initiative, few pawn islands, a space advantage, castled and safe king, advanced pawn chain, good bishops, control of the center, control of diagonal by bishop, Knights on outposts, control of weak squares, no outposts or weak squares in your camp.

In your games, try to accumulate advantages. Build up your position gradually. Play to control the center. Avoid weakening pawn moves. Develop all your pieces quickly and pointedly. Safeguard your king by castling early. Activate your rooks, placing them on open and half-open files where possible. Double them on one of the files. Make a plan.

Play POSITIONAL CHESS! Seize open diagonals with your bishops. Seize open or half open files with your rooks, Induce weaknesses in your opponent's camp, then use them to launch an invasion. If you do these things eventually the weight of your accumulated advantages will be just too much for your opponent to bear and his position will crash into a winning game for you.

2. Strategy Two. Go to this page, Dynamic Power Playing, and find out how to win through making your opponent see GHOSTS.

Now follow up on these strategies with advanced chess concepts to ensured that they will work properly.

3. Strategy Three. Wining through the Dynamic of Power Playing.

4. Strategy Four. Wining through Space annexation. Go to this page, The Point Count System, and find out how to win through space annexation.