Middle Game Strategy


Class 1 The Rhythm of a chess game
Class 2 Targets/Weaknesses
Class 3 Harmony
Class 4 Outposts
Class 5 Minor Piece Battle
Class 6 Transfer of the Advantage
Class 7 Alternating
Class 8 Attacking the king
Class 9 Pawn structure: when to change it
Class 10 Closed Positions

In this course, we take a look at 10 topics connected to middlegame strategy. Rather than look at Grandmaster games, I’ve decided that I will mainly look at examples from my own games.
1. Rhythm of a game- When you study any topic, especially a topic as complex as chess, it is useful to study it on both a macro and a micro-level. In this first lesson, we will look at the big picture. What does the flow of a chess game, in the most general sense, resemble? Are there any patterns we can discern, and could these be meaningful? How useful is the computer’s eval graph of a game? We will look at different games and break them down into describable phases. “A” leads to “B” leads to “C” leads to “D”. What students will hopefully see is that it takes many moves to build up an advantage, and many more to convert it to a win.
2. Targets- This refers to anything in the position that is vulnerable to attack. The king is always a target because he can be checked. An undefended pawn can also be a target. We will look at examples of fast play used to exploit targets early on and end the game quickly, as well games and illustrate slow, mounting pressure on a weak point.
3. Harmony- This is a very general term that describes pieces working together. We will try to break this down into more concrete principles- Your pieces should be protected, but not obstruct each other. We will look at examples of how a position with good harmony flourishes and a position with poor harmony collapses.
4. Outposts- Sometimes called holes, these are homes for knights inside the enemy position. A true outpost square is a square that can not be attacked by pawns. We will look at how knights (and other pieces as well)
can use these infiltration points.
5. Minor piece battle- Many middlegame positions are characterized by this confusing, but very important struggle. Which of the minor pieces are most helpful to me, and which to my opponent? How can I exchange my underperforming minor pieces for my opponent’s excellent minor pieces? Do the minor pieces have the potential to improve or are they going to hold me back in the long run.
6. Transfer of the advantage- Often in chess we can accrue an advantage. It could be a material advantage, like being up an exchange. It could be a positional advantage, like control of an important file or square. However, you may find that sitting on the advantage isn’t bringing you any closer to a win. In this lesson, we will look at ways to turn one type of advantage into another, more winnable one.
7. Alternating- Closely related to the principle of two weaknesses. The idea is to create threats on two parts of the board. As your opponent rushes to defend an attack on the kingside, they find that they are short of defenders for a second attack on the queenside.
8. Attacking the King- Checkmate is what the game is all about! Sometimes going for the throat in the middlegame is where it’s at. We will look at when it is and when it isn’t a good idea to attack the opponent’s king directly. We will also look at what a successful attack may look like.
9. Pawns and pawn structure: when to change it. This topic can be very confusing. Rather than look at plans associated with specific pawn structures, we will look at when to make a pawn move and when not to make a pawn move.
10. Closed positions- These are positions without a lot of pawn play or open lines for pieces to attack. These positions are characterized by slow maneuvering.

Lessons will conclude with analyzing the games with the instructor.

As part of the package, students will be given access to the course material (lectures and puzzles) in lichess, as well as homework puzzles for each class.

This is a GROUP COURSE with a maximum of 20 participants. Each class will have 2 MASTERS present for the whole class.

COURSE DURATION: 10 weeks (1 lesson/week)
DELIVERY: Zoom + Lichess (Participants will need to create a free lichess.org account)
COST: $200 for the full course. (Venmo, Zelle, Paypal, etc.)