Banish the Beginner Label Forever with Susan Polgar’s Scholastic Chess Training

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This Susan Polgar chess course will provide you with a systematic approach to improving your game.

When you have moved past being an absolute beginner at chess, it’s essential to have a system for improving.

A haphazard approach will lead to wasted time and energy.

There are numerous advantages to having a system. Among them are:

  • Staying on track.
  • Using your chess study time more efficiently.
  • Building on each lesson.

What helps is taking the different aspects of a chess game and working through them step by step.

In this article (and video) you’ll learn about piece activity, pawn structures, weaknesses, king safety, and more.

Piece Play

A game of chess is all about piece play. You can’t win a game of chess unless you are better than your opponent at piece play.

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Who wouldn’t want a former World Champion helping them improve?

When we are beginners, we often win and lose games because of blunders. When we become better players and face better opponents, we can’t rely on our opponents making blunders.

This means we need to get better at using our pieces. Here are four things to help you improve your piece play:

  • The relative value of the chess pieces.
  • Piece activity.
  • Pawn structure.
  • Permanent weaknesses.

Relative Value of the Chess Pieces

Chess pieces have an absolute or material value, and a relative value. 

For example, the absolute value of a pawn is 1 point, but when you are about to promote a pawn, to a queen, its relative value is nine points (the material value of a queen).

The king has no material value because if you lose your king, the game is lost. 

When you calculate the relative value of a piece one of the most important factors to consider is: how active is the piece

A knight that attacks another piece has a higher relative value than a knight defending another piece. If one of your pieces is pinned, its relative value is low because it can’t move.

When thinking of trading, you must consider both the material and relative value of the pieces. Sometimes it’s a good idea to trade a rook for a knight or a bishop. 

This is called an exchange sacrifice and is often played to gain a positional advantage like weak squares around the castled king. 

If you are in an endgame with a rook against a bishop, you might trade pieces to enter a winning king and pawn endgame. Being up material gives you more options.

Piece Activity

A simple but effective strategy is to identify your opponent’s bad pieces. Does he have a bad bishop?

If one of his bishops is blocked by his pawns, then exchange the other pieces. This will leave you with an active piece against his very passive piece.

What you must avoid is exchanging his worst piece. Capturing his bishop with your knight would be a bad trade for you and a good one for him.

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Capturing the bishop is a bad trade for black because the bishop is blocked by the pawns.

Understanding what positions your pieces are most active in is essential to making the best use of them. When you have the bishop pair, you must do everything you can to open the position.

Rooks are very powerful when they control open files or have semi-open files with targets for them to attack. They are not very strong in closed positions.

Always try to create a position where your remaining pieces can be at their best, and your opponent’s pieces are at their worst. Keep the position closed if you have a knight and he has a bishop.

Let Susan Polgar teach you how to take your middlegame up a notch.

When transitioning to a chess endgame, be sure to make it as favorable as you can for your pieces. A knight is a much better piece if the pawns are on one side of the board.

Knights can’t move as far as a bishop. A bishop can attack pieces from long-range and is best in an endgame with pawns on both sides. 

You will learn all about winning endgames in this quality Susan Polgar chess course.

Pawn Structure

Where you place your pawns impacts on your piece play. 

In the French Defense, black’s dark-squared bishop is a much better piece than his light-squared bishop. The pawns on e6 and d5 block the bishop.

This is why it’s essential to pay attention to the pawn structure when choosing an opening. Understanding how the pawns and pieces combine will allow you to make the right trades. 

Of course, in this Susan Polgar chess course, getting a good position from the opening is well-covered.

If you choose to play the French Defense and can trade your light-squared bishop, it benefits you. You have exchanged your worst piece.

In the French Defense black's light squared bishop is blocked by the pawns on e6 and d5 making it a bad bishop.
Pawns on e6 and d5 make black’s light-squared bishop a bad bishop in the French Defense

Philidor said, “Pawns are the soul of chess,” and there’s no doubt they are important. 

When you are down a bishop, or a knight, do your best to trade all pawns.

Your opponent can’t checkmate you if all he has is a king and a bishop or a knight. 

Increase your knowledge of pawn formations with this Susan Polgar chess course and improve the structure of your positions.

Look at what others are saying:

Excellent course to move play quality up several notches highly recommended for post-beginner to intermediate players looking for tips to improve their play – Donald H.

Create Permanent Weaknesses

It’s important to consider if we are creating a permanent or temporary weakness. Sometimes we help our opponent by creating what we think is a weakness.

Doubled pawns in a semi-open file are a weakness because we can attack them with a rook. However, in the Italian Opening if we double pawns with …fxe6 we give black more control of the center.

Capturing the bishop on e6 with our bishop helps black because he brings another pawn into the center with f takes e6.
Playing Bxe6 gives black an extra pawn in the center. Bb3 is a better move because if black plays …Bxb3 we play axb3 opening the a-file for our rook.

Black can free himself of the doubled pawns by playing …d5. Sometimes doubled-pawns are a weakness, but not always in chess.

One weakness that lasts an entire game is if white is forced to recapture on f3 with a pawn. The move gxf3 makes the h-pawn a permanent weakness for white.

When your opponent has a weak pawn structure, a good strategy is to transpose to an endgame. Then his king or another piece will get tied down defending the weak pawn.

In this comprehensive Susan Polgar chess course, you will learn more about piece play and many other essential chess basics.

Final Thoughts

To get the most from your pieces and improve your game it’s important to have a plan for moving forward.

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There is nobody better than GM Susan Polgar, with her many years of coaching experience, to help the improving chess player.

The Susan Polgar Scholastic Training chess course will help you reach the 1500 Elo mark with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of chess. Get this course now and save 50%!

This course is also an invaluable aid if you are a parent or teacher wishing to teach children how to play chess.

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