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2 Examples of Positional Tactics

Positional tactics are moves (or a short combination of moves) whereby you improve your position or achieve some kind of positional advantage. On this page I’ll show you a couple examples that illustrate the nature of positional tactics.

As I am sure you know – stronger players seldom give you an opportunity to demonstrate your tactical skill. This is why it becomes even more important to accumulate positional advantages.

I’ve put together a collection of 40 positions that feature positional tactics. These puzzles illustrate strategic concepts that are executed with the help of tactical ideas.

Below are two examples from the set:

Positional Tactics: Example 1

Black to move. What would you do?

Diagram above: Black to move. What would you do?

Scroll down to view the solution.

Example 1 Solution

positional tactics 2

Diagram above: 1… c5! 2. Nc2 Bc6

  • Wins a tempo against Nb4
  • Clears the c6-square to allow Bd7-c6
  • Controls the d4-square and turns the d3-pawn into a target for black’s pieces

Positional Tactics: Example 2

White to move. What would you do?

Diagram above: White to move. What would you do?

Scroll down to view the solution.

Example 2 Solution

positional tactics 3

Diagram above: 1. Bb4!

  • White will exchange his bad bishop for black’s good bishop. A bad bishop is obstructed by blocked pawns in the centre that are on the same color squares as the bishop.
  • Rc2 now defends Ne2.

Training tactics that win material or achieve a checkmate is fun (and it’s important to do them). But positional tactics, on the other hand, helps you achieve positions where tactics become possible.

I’ve compiled a selection of 40 exercises that are specifically chosen to help you improve your understanding of positional tactics.

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In the words of the legendary Bobby Fischer:

Tactics flow from a superior position.

In these 6 words he reveals a very important strategy in chess:

To slowly improve your position by accumulating positional advantages until such advantages translate into an overall superior position. Once you achieved that, the position will naturally present you with tactical opportunities.

To this end, positional tactics are (usually aggressive) moves that increase your firepower, typically by using one or more of the following ideas:

  • Adding pressure on targets in you opponent’s position
  • Force opponent’s pieces into defensive positions
  • Restrict your opponent’s pieces by anticipating and preventing their ideas
  • Using tempo moves to gain time
  • Neutralizing your opponent’s best placed piece/s
  • Moving your pawns in a way that improves the activity (space) of your pieces and/or restricts the movements of your opponent’s pieces

If you work through these 40 exercises, you will significantly improve your understanding of positional tactics. Get yourself a copy and enjoy the long-term benefits you will get from it.