We are happy to present the newest course by IM Boroljub Zlatanovic - Weak Squares. The ability to create and exploit weak squares and square complexes is one of the most important skills for every positional player.
The course is divided into two sections: Endgame Positions and Middlegame Positions. Each section contains 20 carefully curated model examples and 5 practical exercises to solidify your understanding and enhance your strategic intuition. It goes without saying that all the exercises come with annotated solutions.
Preview by the Author
From the outset, it's typical for players to seek optimal positions for their pieces. Ideally, these positions are both secure/comfortable and influential. However, achieving this, and maintaining control over such squares, is challenging. Still, adhering to well-known advice can be beneficial. Always aim to over-control such squares. This is important not only due to potential exchanges but also for the flexibility of switching pieces on crucial squares to alter the game's pace and create threats from various angles.
Picture a scenario where your knight dominates in front of a weak backward pawn. If you allow your opponent to capture it and then you recapture it with a pawn, you'll be left with a nearly ineffective majority, unlike your opponent.
Another tip is to always target and remove your opponent's pieces that control vital squares you wish to dominate. Weak pawns often leave behind essential squares for the opponent. By taking these squares, you can block such pawns and subsequently mount an attack on them. Without such control, the pawns can advance!
Thus, controlling key squares is intricately linked to creating blockades, which always have broader implications. By blockading your opponent's weak pawns, you can also often inhibit, and even paralyze, their forces. The significance of this strategy will become evident after thoroughly studying this course. Embrace these principles, and you'll be astounded by their impact on your positional understanding.
In the endgame, controlling key squares isn't as vital as in the middlegame because there aren't as many opportunities to immobilize your opponent's forces. However, key squares still need to be occupied, and over-control should be exercised. Essentially, controlling key squares should offer you strategic advantages on both wings, especially if the key square is centrally located.
The principle remains: engage on both wings when feasible. Often, controlling these crucial squares will result in superior communication lines. Use this to your advantage to target weaknesses on both sides. If necessary, create these weaknesses. With fewer pieces on the board, a piece positioned on a key square becomes significantly more influential. Hence, it's crucial to keep it secure and maintain its dominance.
Key squares emerge in nearly every chess game during the middlegame, often in front of backward pawns, isolated pawns, and within structural holes. As the game progresses and pieces advance, certain squares become vulnerable. If these can be exploited, they turn into key squares, particularly if they're located in front of weak pawns. To subsequently attack a weak pawn, you first need to blockade it. Doing so restricts your opponent's active play since the pawn obstructs their defensive pieces. I often advise: "Always place a piece (preferably a knight) in front of an opponent's weak pawn (central if possible), as long as it remains safe!" For those unacquainted with this tactic, the influence and overarching impact of this piece will astonish you. The universal advice of over-controlling and eliminating opponent pieces that control such squares is paramount here.
SAMPLE MODEL GAME