Once you have achieved
the first two goals of the opening, development and control fo the center,
what do you do next? Well, most people want to get started attacking the
enemy. But you can't attack the enemy if you can't get your pieces to
his side of the board. So, to attack well, you must open up lines of
You need an
open file for your Rooks, and you need open diagonals
for you Bishops. To "open" a line means to get the pawns
out of the way. Sometimes the pawns go away by themselves, by trading.
Sometimes, we have to sacrifice, or give away, a pawn (or even a piece!)
to open lines. But don't give away pieces without a really good reason.
Remember, the advantages you have from better development or open lines
are all temporary advantages. The disadvantage you have from giving
away a piece is a permanent disadvantage. It's OK to exchange a
temporary advantage for a permanent disadvantage, but only if you can
win before your advantage dribbles away.
In the following game, Black converts his
temporary advantage of better development and control of the center into
a win by opening lines of attack. This game was played in London in 1851.
White has one pawn
in the center, two pawns attacking the center, and one piece attacking
the center. Black has one pawn in the center, two pawns attacking the
center, but look! Black has three pieces attacking the center. White has
one pice developed in seven moves, while Black has three developed.It
will take White two moves to develop the knight and two to develop the
Bishop, since the pawns are in the way. So Black has a huge lead in devlopment.
But this lead could disappear any minute unless White can open more lines
and start an attack. How can he do that? It looks like he has to waste
time and move the Bishop a second time. But Anderssen has a better idea.
By sacrificing the
bishop, Anderssen opens up the Rook against the White King and the attack
If White could only have
two moves in a row, he could checkmate Black. 11. Qb3 and 12. Qxf7 would
end the game right away. Unfortunately for White, Black has a move, too,
and his threats are even stronger. 11. . . Rh1+, 12. Kxh1 Qh4+, 13. Kg1
Qh2mt gets there quicker, since White never gets the chance to announce
checkmate. So Black has no choice but to defend against this awful threat.
White resigns because the
three-move mate is inescapable. Do you see it?
Once your development is
done and you have control of the center, start to open lines for your
piece, and close lines for your opponent's pieces.