Understanding before Moving 29: To exchange or not to exchange

by ChessBase
5/30/2021 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 29th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman talks about good and bad bishops and wonders which pieces to exchange and which pieces to keep on the board. | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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Many players struggle with the question which pieces to exchange and which pieces to keep on the board. This question goes to the heart of our strategic
understanding. For how do we determine what are good and bad pieces?

There was once a player who wondered why he always ended up with the wrong pieces
against former world champion Tigran Petrosian, while his opponent almost
always had the right pieces!

The Armenian knew better than anyone how to maneuver his opponent
into a strategically lost position. At the chess club where I used to play,
there was a player who was a big fan of Petrosian. In his good days he reached
a rating of 2200+ but he often said that he was just a patzer.

This was mainly due to the fact that tactically he was often surprised. "But one thing I do
know is what makes a good or a bad bishop, and with that knowledge I can even
beat strong opponents!" he said.

After all he managed to stay in the highest league of the Dutch club competition for a long time. From the initial position, after the moves 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Bd7 Black delayed the development of the knight on b8 and instead put his
light-squared bishop into play first. What is the idea of this? And what is
Black's longterm intention?


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