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Mixed Chess Training Exercises #4

In this position it is white’s turn to move. I want to remind you that when you do these exercises, you must focus on your thinking method. Try to apply a logical thinking process to the position.

If you need some help with your thinking method then you can download the Analytical Thinking System – in it I discuss all the important aspects of a logical thinking process in chess.

White to move. What would you do?

You can watch the solution on Youtube

or scroll down to read more about the solution in text.


Ok, so lets get to the solution. What is black threatening here? Black doesn’t have any tactical threats because he can’t check your king, he can’t capture you anywhere, well of course Bxe5 doesn’t make any sense because we simply win the bishop, and black also can’t make any immediate threats against us. However, when you think about threats, you should also think about strategic threats. In other words, you have to think about the position from your opponent’s point of view and anticipate how your opponent can improve their position.

If you follow the steps that I mention in the Analytical Thinking System, then you would notice that one of black’s primary objectives here is that he needs to develop this rook as soon as possible. This means we can anticipate that black wants to play either Rc8, placing the rook on the open file, or a5, to create some space for the rook on the a-file.

So now that we understand how black can improve their position, we can identify our candidate moves. Which is Rc1 or Ba6. Rc1 isn’t the best because black can still play Rc8 and challenge your rook on the c-file. Ba6 on the other hand is a great move because not only does it take control of the c8-square but at the same time it blocks the a-pawn.

Ba6! White takes control of the c8-square and at the same time blocks the black a-pawn.

Now on the next move white can play Rc1 and black will not be able to challenge him on the c-file. This is actually an important advantage to white, because the c-file is the only open file in this position and therefore, whoever controls this file will enjoy an advantage. So white’s best move here is Ba6, followed by Rc1 on the next move.

The main lesson that I want to convey in this specific exercise, is that when you think about the threats, you should not only think about your opponent’s tactical threats but you should also think their strategic threats. And you will only be able to do that if you take the time to think about how your opponent would want to improve their position and then see if you can find an effective way to prevent them achieving their strategic objectives.

I hope you enjoyed this exercise and learnt something from it, cheers.

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