Understanding before Moving 33: To trade or not to trade (2)

by ChessBase
6/27/2021 – 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 33nd instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman asks again whether "to trade or not to trade". | Photo: Tommy Grooten

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To trade or not to trade?

Developing a strategic plan is one of the most difficult tasks in chess. Where do you start, what are the important characteristics of the position and what plan of action do they suggest?

I think that the well-known saying "better a bad plan than no plan at all" is one of worst pieces of advice a chess player can get. In fact, such a player would fare much better when he asked himself a few useful questions.

In each position he can think about what the pawn structure tells him, which pieces  are active and which are not, which pieces he should exchange and which pieces he should keep on the board, and so on.

These questions might allow him to find a reasonable concept that will help him to get through the middlegame well.

In the diagram position below White just played Ra1-d1 and Black has to decide how best to proceed. Perhaps he can ask the questions given above to come up with a nice strategic concept. What would you play and why?


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