Meaning of Chess Strategy

The word strategy is often synonymous with chess. Almost every time someone wants to describe an activity that involves strategy, chess is used as a metaphor. Take American football for instance. Whether it is college football on Saturdays or the NFL on Sundays, you can rarely go through a whole game without hearing the TV commentators make some reference to chess.

When it comes to chess players though, the words 'strategy' or 'strategies' invoke different meanings. Players think of strategy as being the opposite of tactics. While tactics involve combinations and sacrifices, so-called "fireworks", strategic play is much calmer and involves long term positional planning aimed at achieving overall superiority.

Do you Need Chess Strategy?

The first question you might ask is do you really need to become better at chess strategy? Isn't tactics enough? As it turns out, strategy is incredibly important. I am not denying that you will always have a favorite. Even world champions are known for one or the other. When you think of Kasparov or Alekhine for instance, the words "tactical genius" immediately come to mind. Karpov or Capablanca on the other hand were famous for their positional play. Nevertheless, if you go over the games of these great players, you will quickly realize that they were incredibly adept at the other part of the game too.
How to Become Better at Chess Strategy

Improving your strategic play is much harder than working on your tactics. It is much more time consuming and many find it to be a whole lot less fun. The way to do it is relatively similar though: lots of practice, which in this case means going over dozens and hundreds of positions where the players had to make a choice of strategy.

Solving chess puzzles or problems is a whole lot of fun, isn't it? As all of us are well aware, we put a lot of effort into keeping our bodies fit. Gyms and hundreds of magazines and videos tell us how to do it. But what keeps our brains fit?

Well, the chess puzzles and problems that you will find in the Academy are a good start. As long as you have the discipline to try to find the solution yourself before jumping to the lesson, you should derive great enjoyment and benefits out of them.

As you will see, they vary between combinations, openings, middle games, endgames, and everything else there is. One of the more intriguing features about them is that you won't know in advance what you are looking for. All you will know is whose move it is. The rest is up to you!

The idea is for these chess puzzles and problems to simulate as well as possible a real life situation. During a real game nobody notifies you that you should be looking for a queen sacrifice or a great positional maneuver, right? It is up to you to study the position and decide what the best move would be right there.

In the Academy's training environment your task is very similar. The only advantage you have over a real game is that by showing you the position I am letting you know that something special is about to happen. Figuring out what exactly is your job!

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