Improve Your Chess In 15 Minutes: How To Reassess Your Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances

Beginners, Intermediate
How to reassess your chess mastery through chess imbalances

How To Reassess Your Chess Mastery Through Chess Imbalances

Starting a chess game without having a clear plan is suicide. It is very important to develop a plan and adjust it to fit the position on the board. The foundation of any great plan is a good assessment of the position. It is necessary to determine the strength and weaknesses of both sides and that is where chess imbalances come into the picture. Therefore, having an in-depth knowledge of chess imbalances will significantly improve your game. 

Also see 10 Of The Best Chess Books For Intermediate Players

Chess imbalances denote any difference in the two respective positions,i.e the black players’ position and the white players’ position.

“To think that the purpose of chess is solely to checkmate the opposing king is much too simplistic. The real goal of a chess game is to create an imbalance and try to build a situation in which it is favourable for you.”

“an imbalance is not necessarily an advantage. It is simply a difference. It is the player’s responsibility to turn that difference into an advantage”

How to reassess your chess by IM: Jeremy Silman

In this article, we are going to be explaining how to reassess your chess mastery through chess Imbalances.  We’re going to be explaining 3 types of chess imbalances

Pawn Structure 

Superior Minor Pieces (Bishops and Knights)


Pawn Structure

The pawn structure is the building block of a chess position. Understanding the pawn structure is crucial to knowing how to reassess your chess mastery through chess imbalances. Generally, pawn structures can be divided into three. The isolated pawn, the doubled pawn and the passed pawn. 

The Isolated Pawn

Screenshot 20220419 171842 lichess
The Pawn on d4 is an isolated pawn

An isolated pawn is a pawn that cannot be supported by another pawn. An isolated pawn has both its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages of an isolated pawn are: 

  • The files on both sides are free for your rooks to utilise
  • It gives extra space to allow you to move your pieces more freely

However, there is also a downside to having isolated pawn 

The disadvantages are:

  • Your pieces will be stuck defending it.
  • It is typically worse in the endgame where most pieces have been taken off the board. 

Therefore, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of having an isolated pawn gives you an edge over your opponent.  

The Double Pawn

Screenshot 20220419 171640 lichess
The pawns on d3 and d4 are double pawns

When you have two or more pawns on the same file, they are called double pawns. Having double pawns is generally considered a weakness because it greatly restricts the mobility of your pawn. However, they can be used to gain more space and provide open files for your rooks. 

The Passed Pawn

Screenshot 20220419 171715 lichess
The pawn on b4 is a Passed pawn

A passed pawn is a pawn with no opposing pawns preventing its advancement. A passed pawn can gain promotion if it reaches the other side of the board. Passed pawns are considered to be a major advantage as they can ultimately be promoted to other pieces. However, they can also pose a weakness as they can be attacked quite easily if they are not protected by another pawn. 

Superior Minor Pieces (Bishops and Knights)

The Bishop and Knight are two distinct pieces in the way they operate. Bishops move diagonally on their respective colours (white bishops move on white squares and black bishops move on black squares ) while knights move in an L- shape. Since knights are the only pieces that can “jump” over other pieces, they can manoeuvre their way through closed positions better than bishops who cannot jump and as such, they favour open positions. Therefore, in a closed position, the knight is to be preferred while in open positions, the bishops are better. Understanding this basic rule will be a valuable aid in how to reassess your chess mastery through chess imbalances. 


There’s a famous quote by a grandmaster that says “he who controls the most space will win the game”. This goes to show that in a chess game, you should strive as much as possible to control more spaces on the board. Doing so will restrict the number of squares your opponent has available and ultimately win you the game. 

For more information on chess imbalances,  you can read the book:How to reassess your chess by IM: Jeremy Silman

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