Power Strategy 1: development is everything

by Albert Silver
4/28/2015 – Development! Development! Development! This could just as well have been the title of the first DVD in the Power Strategy series by GM Mihail Marin, whose lesson on the topic will help emphasize not only its importance, but also the myriad ways it can be leveraged, exploited or punished for lack of. A fascinating and profound presentation.

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The word strategy is such a vast and generic description that it can be hard to know what to expect even with the lengthier caption “From the Opening to the Middlegame”. After all, that could mean the transition, involving any number of aspects, some or all. Here the Romanian grandmaster makes the point of his focus clear from the onset and with a single-mindedness that impresses.

A beginner player is usually given the classic set of guidelines for the opening: develop your pieces, occupy the center, castle the king. This small checklist can easily leave the part on development somewhat diluted among the other items on this to-do list, but as will become clear time and time again, nothing can substitute proper development.

This lectures and commented games on this detailed DVD are divided as:

  • Deviating from natural development - punishment
  • Converting an advance in development
  • Maintaining development advantage
  • Developing sacrifices 
  • How to catch up in development by ignoring minor threats 
  • The tactical benefits of perfect development  

All aspects of development are covered, and all using examples of games by top players, some lesser known than others. Marin also shows that while the greatest players understand this principle to perfection, even they are prone to excesses that can be punished mercilessly, whether it be Petrosian, Fischer, or others.

The list of video lectures is well-organized and impressive

An important adage imparted by the author is that before one can break the rules, seeking exceptions, one must first master it. After all, if you break a rule without realizing what conventional wisdom dictated and why, then the deviation was not an expression of creativity but one of ignorance.

Who better than Tal to illustrate the power of development?


The games to exemplify the lessons are all well-chosen, and leave one with a deeper understanding of what
the consequences of proper or improper development are, including how to punish and how to recover from it.

At the end of the lectures, are a series of video quizzes helping to reinforce the lessons at hand and if you want some further examples, GM Marin has also selected over 50 games providing comments to help emphasize the role of development in those particular games.

The grandmaster selected over 50 games, all with comments emphasizing the importance of development

Whether a teacher trying to find material to really illustrate the significance of development, or a student wishing to improve, this is an interesting work that puts the concept of development under the microscope like no other. The only important caveat, if come can call it that, is to realize that while the general idea of development is often viewed as a ‘beginner’ notion, this is not a beginner work. It presumes an intermediate level of play in which this deeper look will benefit.

'Power Strategy 1' by Mihail Marin can be purchased in the ChessBase Shop

Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications, and the content creator of the YouTube channel, Chess & Tech.


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