Is that Pawn or Piece poisoned?

Grandmaster Igor Smirnov created a great video aimed at players who want to improve their play. The video is named: “Chess Lesson: The most common mistake“. While the video is aimed at better player trying to get over a hurdle in their game, the video opened my thinking in a new direction, and has lead to improvements in my own game.

For a beginning chess player any improvement we make or learn is a big step up the ladder. What I took away from the video was two major thoughts. Both thoughts center around a big mistake I think most beginning player make. Grandmaster Smirnov emphasized, or at least for me he did, one major thought about playing chess. That thought he branded is, “To take is a mistake”.

When we start learning to play chess we watch better player trade off pieces, and they are successful in their games. We get the idea we should be trading or taking pieces ourselves whenever the opportunity presents itself. Grandmaster Smirnov shows in his video, many examples where taking a pawn or a piece is a mistake and whenever we are presented with the opportunity, to pause and consider what taking the pawn or piece does for our game, and our opponents game.

Occasionally the opportunity to take a pawn or piece does much more harm to our game, or helps our opponent than the pice is worth. I learned some apparent are ‘poisoned’. Poisoned is a chess term that means about what the word says only in the context of chess rather than the act of being poisoned in the regular sense.

Taking a pawn or piece at the wrong time can destroy the placement of our army by weakening them with the movement of a pawn or piece which was until the moment we moved it, doing a very important job. By moving that one pice to take a pawn or piece that appears to be easy picking, cost us the game by giving our opponent an advantage by a weakness we created. At times this weakness is so great we lose the game.

If we do not create an unrecoverable weakness in our game, taking a piece could allow our opponent to bring a rook or bishop into the game where previously it was trapped on the back row doing nothing.

A final help this video was for me was understanding there are times when moving my pawns it is a better move to move my pawn forward rather than trade it off. For example my pawn has made it five rows down the board, and it is chilled by a pawn moved up from the other side. If taking the enemy pawn means losing it, and simply moving it forward one more time means there is a possibility it will move forward and be promoted, a better choice is to move the pawn forward.

It is well worth your time to watch this video and understand the points  Grandmaster Smirnov makes in his video. The link once again is: “Chess Lesson: The most common mistake“. I hope this video helps you in your game too.