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Chess Strategy

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.

Understanding the Thought Process

Poring over positions is not enough though.  What you have to do is "get inside the head" of the Grandmaster.  Understand what he was thinking, what questions he was asking of himself, when he came up with the correct strategy choice.  This the only way you can learn, so you can replicate such a thought process during your own games.  So please, if you are going to work on strategy, find the right learning resources. One such resource is this very site, so I invite you to take the tour and see what it has to offer!

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