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: “Exploitation of Weaknesses Arising from Lack of Mobility”
Certain pawn formations are incredibly powerful because they deny a share of the center by an opponent, this depriving the pieces of mobility.
This situation is dire for the one without center control. They must gain ground in the center. If not possible, they must settle for a passive defense (no good), or strike out in any way possible to get freedom. In striking out, weaknesses are created that lend themselves to being exploited by the player with more central control and mobility.
In the game below, there are several moments where Black has chosen poorly and neglected the center. Their position gets shut down, and later in the game they try to break out.
After move 18, Black makes a move to open a line for his Bishop, but this opens his position to enemy pieces. After move 19, it only becomes worse.