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Improving the Worst Piece

by | May 10, 2021

Hello, chess enthusiasts!

In today’s post, I want to bring your attention to the strategic theme of improving the worst-placed chess piece. In many static positions, (when there is not a lot of immediate conflict between the pieces) one thing we should be aware of is which of our pieces stands the worst, and how we can find a function for it. The position below comes from the game Yip-Koneru, St Louis 2020 from the first round of the Cairns Cup. It is Black to play. How should she improve her position?

The reader should notice that in this King’s Indian structure, Black’s bishop on h8 stands quite poorly. This is clearly the piece which will take the most work to improve. Now we just need an idea to bring it to a better diagonal. In the game, Black found the first move of the correct positional concept but failed to follow up properly. What followed was a very fine positional domination of the light squares by White, leading to a nice positional win.

I hope you enjoyed this instructive moment from an interesting positional battle. Thanks for reading!

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