Chess Strategy makes you a strong player!
If you ask an International Master what is the main difference between him/her and a Grandmaster, the answer will be: “Strategy!”. There should be no question as to what is the biggest difference between a club player and a master. Again, it is the chess strategy. That's why there are many masters who are not good at tactics, but they can easily beat club-level players.
When a player does not have a good strategic understanding of the position, they will choose a wrong direction of play. After some moves, they will reach the end of the road and will not see any further logical continuation. At this point, the player usually makes a tactical error. Analysis with a chess engine rarely can identify the weak strategic ideas, just the tactical errors. That is why many players think that their strategic play is good and they only have problems with tactical play. In fact, the weakest part of most players concerns strategy. We can only confirm that this is true.
It is chess strategy that tells you what to do in various positions, how to seize the initiative, construct reliable attacks, have powerful ideas, and obstruct your opponent’s play.
During the middlegame, better positional decisions, often imperceptible to a weaker player, bring small advantages that accumulate and become a clear strategic advantage. Only a sound positional understanding can make you play better and eventually beat stronger opponents.
CALCULATION: without evaluating our opponent’s tactical and strategic resources, our strategy can fail. Thus, we often need to calculate variations. Calculation, together with tactics, should form one part of a complete chess training.
Tactical operations or forced lines have to be calculated precisely. However, most of the calculation that we need to do during a game is constituted by unforced lines – to prevent an opponent’s dangerous idea and to choose the best way to realize our own - this being chess strategy! Positional thinking will help us to predict how the opponent would play against us, and to identify what moves and plans are dangerous and need to be considered. It also helps us to distinguish real threats from the rest. That is why stronger players calculate less! They also ‘feel’ (or know) when calculating lines is critical for the outcome of the game or when they can simply follow their plan. So, strategy helps chess players to calculate easier too.
A good understanding or feeling for the position also constitutes a tactical asset. A chess player who understands well the quality and dynamics of the pieces has a good sense of danger and a keen eye for tactics. Strategic weaknesses are the source of tactical possibilities. Developing a good strategic vision will help you to spot tactical possibilities.
The study of the middlegame and strategy in general should be the main part of a good chess training program. You cannot be good enough at strategy! The more you study the middlegame and strategy, and also train your calculation skills, the better you will become as a chess player. That is why in the Grandmaster Package, we focus a lot on the middlegame training, chess strategy and calculation.