Winning Chess Strategies by Yasser Seirawan and Jeremy Silman is part of the famous seven-book series of instructional tomes.
The series provides lucid explanations on a range of different aspects of the game.
It is a major coup for Chessable to bring Yasser on board. The release of Winning Chess Strategies is hopefully just the start of a ‘beautiful friendship.’
What does it have to offer?
A whole range of highly instructive lessons on the art of chess strategy, expertly presented by one of the world’s best chess communicators.
The Importance of Chess Strategy
Making the Most of a Material Advantage
Stopping Enemy Counterplay
Understanding Where the Pieces Go
Superior Minor Pieces
How to Use Pawns
The Creation of Targets
Attacking the King
The Great Masters of Strategy
There is so much excellent material in this course, presented partly by over 10 hours of video action with Yasser in full demonstrative flow, that it was quite a challenge to stop watching and get down to the task of selecting a segment for this post.
According to Yasser, ‘Amateurs tend to distrust Knights because:
– Their pieces and pawns are always being forked by the horrible beasts.
– They don’t know how to use them properly.’
The is plenty of expert advice regarding this tricky piece in the section on Understanding Where the Pieces Go. Yasser pays a lot of attention to the knight, correctly identifying it as a piece that definitely needs to find good squares quickly. If it is in an inferior place then it can be very difficult to relocate the knight, especially if one is in a hurry.
Yasser looks at numerous positions and shows how to place the knights in context and successfully.
Despite the antiquity of chess, opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the knight still vary considerably – even amongst World Champions, as Yasser explains:
‘A favorite of some Grandmasters (like Petrosian and myself) and given second billing behind Bishops by others (the great Fischer loves Bishops), this poor jumper is looked down on by many amateurs and secretly feared by others.’
Ending the Distrust
Yasser is on a mission to help change the attitude shown to the knight.
‘This section is devoted to ending this distrust. It’s time to learn how to make the humble Knight rule the board!’
His typically lucid delivery pints the way to get the best out of the piece.
‘‘Unlike the long-range Bishop, the Knight is a short-range piece. This means that it needs to advance up the board to be strong. However, an advanced piece can easily be attacked by enemy pieces and pawns, so the Knight needs a support point, a quiet square where it can safely rest while simultaneously casting a menacing shadow over the board.’
There are some conditions when considering support points.
‘This desirable square can be considered a support point only if it cannot be attacked by an enemy pawn, or if attacking with the pawn would severely weaken the enemy’s position.’
In a nutshell, ‘Knights need advanced support points to be effective.’
Yasser shows how to get the best out of the support points.
Here, Black has two excellent support points at g4 and e4. A knight lodged in either place will be difficult to remove and it will exert significant influence in White’s half of the board.
Yasser goes on the demonstrate the strength of the knight once it lands on g4.
Black is clearly planning to play …Qh2+, placing the white king in grave danger.
Yasser’s love of the knight and the various ways in which to get the best out of it is a recurring theme in Winning Chess Strategies.
Anyway, that is quite enough of me for one day. I am sure you would rather watch this serious video of Yasser in action instead.
Head here for further information on the Winning Chess Strategies course.