Improve Your Chess Middlegame With These 4 Critical Tips

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How To Improve Your Chess Middlegame?

Many players possess a broad understanding of how to play in the opening. They follow the good ol’ opening principles—develop your pieces, castle your king early, a knight on the rim is dim, control the center, don’t push too many pawns, develop knights before bishops, don’t move the Queen out early, and some more general guidelines. They try to recall the theory or ideas involved, which seems to do the trick for them.

But after the opening, many of them get stuck because they don’t know how to proceed, what plans or strategies to adopt, or the best squares for their pieces. So they start making funny moves, and before long, checkmate lands on the board. Have you ever been in this kind of situation? Then this article is for you.

The middle game is one of the most difficult phases of the chess game. It’s a combination of tactics and strategy and determines how the game will proceed. This article will look at some actionable tips you can take to improve your chess middlegame.

When Does The Middlegame Begin?

Welcome to the middlegame.

The Middlegame begins when you’ve completed your piece’s development, the castle’s your king, and connected the rooks. At this time, you begin to come up with plans and ideas to hold on to as the game progresses. Whatever strategy you adopt will impact the rest of your game.

It’s critical always to have a strategy to play by whenever you play a chess game. You should never move pieces because you ‘feel like it’. It should always be based on a carefully calculated decision and plan. In his book, Former world champion Garry Kasparov said, “It’s better to have a bad plan than no plan at all.”

Here are six tips that’ll help you triumph in the middlegame stage:

1. Understand the Requirements of the Position

These requirements are the first step to creating a healthy plan for your game. Next, you need to assess the position and ask yourself questions before forging ahead with moves.

This is a close position. Image: thechesswebsite.com

For example, you could ask yourself, “Is this position open or closed?”. Rather than play random moves, it would help if you played according to the requirement of the position.

READ ALSO: 10 OPENINGS NAMED AFTER POPULAR PLAYERS

2. Ensure You’re Benefitting From a Piece Trade

A lot of beginners make this grave mistake frequently. They trade their active chess pieces for that their opponent’s inactive ones. It would help if you learned how to exchange pieces that’ll benefit your position.

For example, it’s generally known that knights excel in closed positions, so you try to retain your knights whenever you’re faced with a closed position. In the same vein, bishops excel in open positions, so you should know that bishops are superior to knights. 

Never swap your active minor pieces for your opponent’s inactive minor pieces. Similarly, it would help if you strived to trade your inactive pieces for the active ones of your opponent.

White’s light-squared Bishop is an inactive piece. Image: Lichess

One of the most fundamental concepts to remember in the Middlegame is that you should trade as many pieces as possible except pawns if you have a material advantage—this aids in reducing your opponent’s counter-play and bringing you closer to converting the win.

3. Play Through The Middlegame of Experienced Masters

You can begin by studying the games of the more experienced players like International masters and Grandmasters in the openings where you play. It aids in improving your opening understanding, but it also aids in identifying the various plans and concepts in the ensuing Middlegame.

It will be wise to study the middlegame theory from Garry Kasparov’s games. Image: ChessBase

Please look at how they try to keep their pieces on certain squares. Which pieces are maintained, and which ones are exchanged? It’s necessary to keep an eye out for common patterns in these positions if you aim to improve your chess middlegame.

4. Start Playing Correspondence Chess

Correspondence chess is an excellent way to practice and improve your chess middlegame skills because there is no time limit to adhere to. By playing 2-to 3 correspondence games with a three-to-four-day time constraint for each move, you’ll have enough time to set up a chessboard to act out the game and think properly about strategies and plans to adopt. That’ll help in knowing how to devise a successful plan.

So that’s all for now. Let me know if the article helped, and we’ll love to hear your testimonies!

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