Developing at the Opponent’s Expense

I’m working my way through “How to Play Better Chess” (Fred Reinfeld, 1948), an old book that focuses on chess strategy and tactics by analyzing games of chess masters. The book has five sections focusing on opening strategy, middlegame strategy, middlegame tactics, middlegame defensive play, and endgame techniques.

This post will focus on a part of the opening strategy section: “Developing at the Opponent’s Expense”.


If you develop and neglect the center of the board, your opponent can develop with a gain of time. This is because you will be struggling to catch up, either to attack the center or because you will be lacking time and mobility to shift your pieces around the board because (since it is less efficient to not go through the middle of the board).


Here is an example of a master playing against an amateur, who has neglected attacking the center. Additionally white’s bishop “sacrifice” results in a poor trade – losing a central pawn for the pawn on the bishop file. Another moment of neglecting the center.