One of my bigger struggles is looking at a position and not understanding what the most important feature is.
It’s not necessarily that I look at the position and don’t understand the answer to that question – it’s that I often don’t even ask the question.
Take this position for instance:
The game is Aberg-Smith 2012 and it’s Black to move. Take a minute and ask yourself what the most important feature is.
I spent time trying to get the knight to the c4 square. But I never did like the idea of 17…Na3 18.Ra1 Nc4 19.Rxa7 and now Black is in a world of pain.
Then I thought about playing …f5 to try to lock down e4, but that doesn’t do much either.
Here’s the thing though…this game appears in the “no pawn break no plan” chapter of Pump Up Your Rating by Axel Smith. So had I asked myself the question I would have noticed that Black can play 17…e5 right now to undermine White’s c pawn before it gets too dangerous, but that if Black doesn’t do so now, then White will play f4 and that’s that as far as the …e5 break goes.
So after 17…e5 White is forced to take or make serious concessions. Then after 18.dxe5 Bxe5 White is still slightly better, but that c pawn doesn’t look nearly as scary as it did before.
I need to start adding a step where I ask myself in any position I’m analyzing “What is truly the most important feature of this position?” Hopefully if I do so I’ll get in the habit and this will simply become second nature.
Here is the entire game for anyone who is interested.
Til Next Time,
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