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Methods of Playing in Positions with Closed Centre - Part 1

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Methods Of Playing In Positions With Closed Centre - Part 1

GM Grigor Grigorov

Dear Reader,
We are about to start dealing with an extremely complex and important type of middlegame positions - closed centre. As a chess trainer, I have understood that the closed positions are something like a nightmare for inexperienced chess players. The reason is rather simple - in such kind of positions, the ability to create the right plan is much more important than the calculation of concrete variations. In order to find the right plan, however, we need a lot of knowledge and experience. That is why everyone who wants to progress in the field of chess should spend a considerable amount of time on studying closed positions.
I would like to bring to your attention another factor which explains the importance of the current topic. After learning the subtleties of the closed positions, you will understand better a number of openings which lead to positions with a closed centre. As an example, we could point out King's Indian Defence, Ruy Lopez, Classical Benoni, French Defence and many others. As we have mentioned on many occasions, it is not possible to build a reliable opening repertoire without understanding the typical middlegames.
In my first article dedicated on the closed centre, I will discuss the following pawn structure: c4, d5 and e4 against c5, d6 and e5. This pawn structure is quite typical for King's Indian Defence and Classical Benoni. Despite the fact that I have always played this structure as White, within the framework of the current article, I will present the ideas of both sides. I hope that at the end of this course, your chess understanding will be higher.

I would like to start with one of my recent games in which I played against the Bulgarian GM Krum Georgiev. My opponent played his favourite King's Indian Defence which was met by the solid Fianchetto System. After the first 11 moves was reached the position on the diagram. 


Since it is White to move, I was obliged to create a long-term plan. As the reader could see, White's d5-pawn gives him a space advantage on the queenside. In order to establish his plan, White could refer to one of the classical positional principles which say that we should play on the wing where we have a space advantage. That is why White should try to build an activity on the queenside.

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