‘Positional chess’ or ‘positonal play’ is one of the most mysterious things about chess. Often, if someone plays a series of good moves but you don’t know why, you can just say “One side outplayed the other,” and leave it at that. Learning about the rules of positional play has been one of my greatest pleasures in my chess development, so much so that I now primarily consider myself a positional player.
But what is positional play? In short, it’s improving your position. It’s about putting your pieces on the best squares. It’s about making your pieces do more than your opponent’s. If you have two Bishops and your opponent has two Knights, for example, then you want to exchange central pawns, not blockade them, that sort of thing.
If you do this well enough, you might reach a strategically won position, where your position has improved so much that your opponent cannot resist your advances. You are a python, squeezing your opponent to death. There is nothing more frustrating than being on the receiving end of one of these, but doing the squeezing is sublime! Continue reading