In my first book, The Rockford Chess Academy Lessons 1 - 8, the student was taught the rules of Chess including, how the pieces move and capture. Algebraic notation was taught and demonstrated with many examples. Simple checkmates and different types of draws were also covered. A chapter was also written to give examples of piece development.
This book will cover lessons 9 - 18. The main focus of lessons 10 - 18 will be tactics. Lesson 9 will give more guidance on where the pieces should be placed in the opening and middle game.
Lesson 9 Where DO the Pieces Belong??
Proper piece placement is the very first step to winning a Chess game. Each piece has its strengths and weaknesses. So, to understand both, would allow a player to use his pieces wisely and set up positions that favor him.
The Rook is the most powerful piece next to the Queen. These tanks need to be on open files. What is an open file? It is a file that has no pieces on it other than the Rook. Let us look at Diagram 51.
Diagram 51 Diagram 52
1. d1-d7! a8-c8
Now, look at Blacks position. His Rook is tied down to his Queen side Pawns. And the Black King is tied down to the King side Pawns. See the strength of that lone Rook? Not only does he own the open "d" file, but now he is on the seventh rank. This leads me to the other place that Rooks need to be, the seventh and eighth ranks or if you are Black, the first and second ranks. White has lined up these tanks on the seventh rank. He has already won a Pawn. His threat is now the "a" Pawn. Black is at the mercy of the pigs on the seventh rank.
Bishops are long distance pieces, just like Rooks. They need open diagonals. If you have pawns blocking your Bishops, they need to be moved. The move, d4-d5, in Diagram 54 opens up an attack on the "g" Pawn with a threat of checkmate. It also threatens the Knight at c6. At best, Black will only loose a Knight for a Pawn. At worst, he can loose his King! Bishops love the long diagonal as demonstrated by the b2 Bishop. But, they also like squares that allow an assault on the King such as c7 in Scholars Mate.
Diagram 54 Diagram 55
Knights are short distance pieces that need to get to the middle and cannot easily be attacked by the Opponent. If your Knight sits on the first or second rank, it is hopefully in transition to another square or it is playing defense. The third rank is a good start for your Knight. It gets him out and ready to go to the middle somewhere. For White, c3 and f3 are good squares to land on. The squares a3 and h3 are NOT good for your Knights.
Diagram 56 Diagram 57
White has already played a questionable Knight move. Black has made the proper moves with his Knights.
Knights like the fourth, fifth and sixth ranks. They influence their opponents moves more as they get posted further up the board. Knights are as good as Bishops when they reach the fourth rank. They are better than Bishops at the fifth rank. And finally, they have a choke hold on the opponent at the sixth rank.
The Black f5 Knight is posted Nicely.
Diagram 59 Diagram 60
Shows that the Black player is going to have to weaken his King side The choke hold is on after b5-d6.
Pawns or loose material or the game. The f5 Knight makes g7 square
is very weak.
We will just touch on Pawns. Pawns alone are weak. Some pawns that get doubled are weak too. Try to avoid the type of Pawns shown in Diagram 61. In the diagram, the White King and Rook are defending weak Pawns on the King side. The Black King is going to have his way on the Queen side Pawns.