Chess Middlegame Study #1 – Exploring Grandmaster Plans and Strategies

Chess Middlegame Study #1 – Exploring Grandmaster Plans and Strategies


Hello everybody it’s jrobi, i’m going to be
starting a new series with this video for chess middlegame planning strategy and attacks.
It’s going to include examples of grandmaster level kingside attacks, queen side attacks,
and taking advantage of uncastled kings like this game’s going to show. This game was played,
I believe, just let me double check here, in 1984. Playing the white pieces was Gyula
Sax a very strong Hungarian Grandmaster, who unfortunately passed away, and the black pieces
was played by John Nunn and we’re going to take a look at this example of how Mr. Sax
basically capitilized on the fact that black’s king is not castled and he formulates a plan
to exploit that. Just a side note, Mr. Sax, a very strong Hungarian Grandmaster, like
I said, he won a lot of different tournaments, had some very notable games and even influenced
the career of Judit Polgar the strongest women’s chess player of all time I believe if not
very close. So some very good things you can find in his database of games. He even won
the Canadian Chess Open I believe as well, and lemme just double check that I believe
it was the Canadian Chess Open yup Canadian Chess Open Championship in 1978 so he’s had
some very notable games. Let’s get started with this here. So it’s black to move in this
position. I’m starting with black because I wanna highlight exactly what’s going on
here. So black brings the queen down to A5. And I have highlighted the black king. I don’t
really know why black decided not to castle in this position but he wanted to play an
active queen position I guess so he put his queen up onto A5. So we’re starting to build
up a little pressure on the knight on C3 it’s sort of semi pinned I guess you could say
although there’s a lot of defenders for the white queen. So from this position there’s
a very very strong move from white so go ahead and pause the video, take a look at the position,
and see if you can find a really strong move for white in this position. Try to look at
white’s assets on the board, for example the queen and the rook there on the D file, and
just try and see if you can find a nice strong move for white in this positon to take advantage
of the fact that the black king is not yet castled. Well, Mr. Sax found this move. Knight
over to F5. Now, it’s a strong move because it’s doing a lot of different things. First
off all it’s attacking the undefended pawn on G7, it’s also attacking the bishop on E7,
but more importantly it’s putting another attacker on the pawn on D6. So now we have
the knight, the queen, and the rook bearing down on D6. Now, it’s white’s move, so black
has a move to respond to this, and obviously black is not going to let the position collapse
completely here, so what do you think black’s move was in this position? Well, quite simply
black said I don’t want to have anything to do with this, and black took the knight with
the bishop on F5. Now again, let’s take a look at the position. Obviously white’s going
to recapture here with the pawn on E4. But just think about this for a minute, what does
this capture going to do for white? Well, let’s take a look. White recaptures with the
pawn on F5 and what do we have now? We have and exposed file, an open file, leading all
the way to the enemy king on E8. This is going to be troublesome for black, there’s no pawns
on the E file, now granted white’s pieces aren’t on the E file yet really in any kind
of large capacity, but it’s definitely opened up. From here, black plays rook over to C8,
once again electing not to castle in the position, instead bringing another attacked onto the
knight on C3. So the pressure’s building up here. You know, black’s got some possibilities
here, he could sack the rook, take on C3 at some point, maybe come down with the queen
and take the pawn on A2 so there’s some some things going on here for black that makes
the position, you know, a little vibrant for black. So let’s take a look at what Mr. Sax
did here. Well Mr. Sax decided to bring the king over to B1. Give an extra protector to
the pawn on A2 and get his king off that file with the rook bearing down on it. Black responds
queen over to C7. Giving another defender to the pawn on D6 and getting a nice little
battery bearing down here on the C file. However, there’s no huge threats to white in this position.
Mr. Sax responds by pushing his pawn up now to G4. Now this pawn is not defended, it’s
attacked by a couple knights, so black has an opportunity to grab the pawn if it so desires
to do so and exactly that’s what Mr. Nunn played, he took the pawn here on G4. And this
pawn was a little bit kind of like bait, I guess you could say, because after this move,
white brings the rook over the G1, it’s attacking the Knight, the knight’s defended, so black
isn’t panic mode yet, but I don’t think Mr. Nunn took a look at the resulting moves that
would follow. He pushed his pawn up now to G6 so he’s attacking the pawn on F5, I’m not
exactly sure of the rationale of the G6 pawn push in this position, you know he can still
castle, black still has the option to castle in this positon. The bishop can’t really access
G7 easily so it’s going to take a couple moves to get over there, but I guess Mr. Nunn thought
this would be a good move in the position, if you guys can think of a good reason to
push that pawn up there go ahead and post that. I don’t think I would push that in that
position but I am definitely not a grandmaster so there could be something I am missing there,
but if we go back a move, a move like nG5 could not be played or sorry ne5 could not
be played because it just hangs a pawn, so you know in the position, black didn’t feel
any huge threats coming on with this rook, the knight was defended, he pushed the pawn
up and now watch what Mr. Sax does. He comes in and takes that rook with the or takes the
knight with his rook. Black recaptures, white plays knight up now to D5, forking the queen
and the bishop! Obviously the queen needs to be saved, queen peels back to D8, and look
at that, just a nice little slide move over here with the rook onto E1 and now all of
a sudden we got some big problems in the bak black position. The bishop is pinned now onto
E7, it’s got two attackers, what’s black gonna do? Well, black tries to bring the knight
back to E5, only problem, we’ve got that covered, white takes with the bishop launching attack
onto the rook on H8, once the pawn recaptures, white comes in snages that pawn up with the
rook, and once again we have that pin on the dark square bishop, we have the knight attacking
the dark square bishop, we have the queen defending the knight. This light square bishop
hasn’t even contributed to this brutal attack yet, but it is brutal for sure. Black finally
decides to castle, and in this position obviously white snags up that dark square bishop, hits
the check, king goes over to H8, now what does white play in this position? White simply
brings the light square bishop up now to D3, the knight’s still protected from the rook,
this kind of severs the connection of the black queen to the white queen, and the white
queen’s got some ideas here obviously it’s got open access along this dark square diagonal,
it can do a lot of different things. It’s got this whole rank to play with here, one
the second rank. Black responds queen now to D6, attacking that rook, the rook currently
doesn’t have a defender. White just drops the rook back, gives the bishop defense of
that rook. The knight still can’t be taken, black doesn’t have a lot of great options
in this positon, so it brings its rook over now to D8 to you know create this little cannon
coming down here onto the bishop on D3, but there’s no real threats in this position.
So from here white plays queen to C3, hits the check on the enemy king, the enemy king
needs to be protected so black pushes the pawn up to F6, the pawn’s supported by the
rook. At which point white captures the pawn now on G6, black obviously can’t recapture
it’s just gonna fork itself with the king and the rook, so black takes the pawn on h2
with the queen and white captures on the pawn on H7 and black actually resigns in this position.
It’s just such a crushing position to be in that there wasn’t there’s really no hope for
black, for example, if the black king captures, we have this nice discovered check here with
the bishop and the queen will drop. If we go back to this position if black tries something
like queen takes pawn, we have a similar thing the rook comes over to H4, if the queen captures,
we just have the a fork here with the king and the queen so that’s definitely not good
for black. And if the king tries to just get out of dodge by moving to a G7 it does open
up a longer line, but unfortunately the line just leads to nowhere, and um basically gives
a world of hurt for black in the position. And white’s going to queen here soon, and
black is pretty much done for. So it’s a really good example of how Mr. Sax took advantage
of the fact that the enemy king just was not castled. And unfortunately for black, that
led to a lot of problems and it was a really good plan for Mr. Sax to capitalize on this
and you know I really if I had a favorite move in this this whole game I probably really
liked this move. It just really opens things up, you know it’s a strong knight move! It’s
attacking a lot of pieces but even more importantly it’s gonna open up the E file and now we’re
gonna have a couple files open up onto the enemy king location and that was key! And
black didn’t really have much of a choice here so when he captures and the pawn recaptured
you know we just had that nice open file open up! We got that weak pawn on D6, all kinds
of things in this position! And then of course, another move that I liked was the simply pushing
the pawn up here to G4 and you know that was pretty good too! Kind of like a nice little
bait move there, leading up to the rook sack on G4! Now obviously black could have prevented
this a lot a you know a long time ago, black had several opportunities to castle, but didn’t
take it. So if there’s another lesson there it’s castle as soon as you can! You know there’s
no real reason to delay your castle unless you have something really solid lined up that
you know is a forceful line and um you don’t have to to a castle your king and get him
to safety. In all other positions get your king castled! Get him out of the firing line
so that something like this doesn’t happen to you! [laughter] Alright guys hope you enjoyed
the video I am really gonna like this series here I want to work on my middlegame planning
and attacking lines a lot. I think that you know in my personal game the most improvement
that I have is is in this area, like my endgame is pretty good, my opening’s pretty solid,
and you know my middlegame’s not horrible but it needs work for me to break this plateau
and get to the next level of chess. So I hope you liked the video, take care and we will
see you next time!

19 thoughts on “Chess Middlegame Study #1 – Exploring Grandmaster Plans and Strategies

  1. g4 was a common sacrifice motif to open lines toward the enemy king, still always nice to see =D  Thanks for the nice vid 😉

  2. Best "done for" I've ever heard at 9:37

    Btw, I appreciate that you announce "you may pause the video", but there's really no need to stop after saying it. If I want to pause, I'm quick.

  3. Really enjoying all the new videos and new lesson series you're posting. Keep it up, I'm learning a lot! 🙂

  4. Great to see you are back making videos!  Would love to see you analyze the Anand v. Carlsen championship (if you were taking suggestions).

  5. Thanks for the video jrobi. Following is just a thought with my amateur experience.
    After gxh7, how about ..Qh1+? That might lead to survive a bit longer.
    Leading for white to defend by Re1, followed by ..Rxd3 Then cxd3, Qxh7 attacking the e7 and continuing… Let me know what you think… Cheers ! Desh

  6. It was almost beginner-like of black to continually refuse to castle. Some GMs do not like playing the simple principled moves!

  7. jrobichess: Your chess videos are the best, but i disagree with you on castling. I have seen many games where chess masters never castles, or keep the opponent guessing. In fact i would venture to say until there is an obvious threat, or even strong pressure from opponent you shouldn't rush castling as long as the king is protected. When your final king location is set that is when your opponent can scheme, and leverage pawn attacks.

  8. Great video! Would it be possible to look at various middle game strategies coming out of different openings?

  9. I could be missing something, but isn't g6 just a prophylactic move to protect against h3, kicking the knight away and leaving g7 open for the rook?

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