Game#3 – Light-squared domination

Light-squared domination in chess.

Light-squared domination can be an important them in a chess game. This is a game from 1992 with my friend Omer played at the Kings Park Library. I get the upper hand very early and deliver a crushing attack on the light squares. Controlling the long diagonal is a recurring theme in many chess openings.

For amateur players, this advantage alone is not enough to win. Careful calculation and technique is important. This is a good example of how overconfidence and lack of focus can change the outcome of the game. In this game I got lucky. My opponent did not move his King to a square that would have given him full equality. However, instead of patting myself on the back I should have taken the time to carefully analyze the position. Why? Because I nearly gave back my advantage !

Watch the video analysis, here.

Improving you chess should happen from any game you play – even ones where you deliver a crushing victory. Always look to see how you can improve your technique, no matter how one-sided the victory. Remember, your opponent will find good moves when he knows he is in trouble. When your pieces are controlling the long diagonals, look for ways to invade your pieces onto those weak squares.

If you would like to see a professional quality game that use light-squared domination, look at Menchik-Alekhine, 1932. Alekhine does a splendid job of controlling the long diagonal that leads to victory in just 40 moves.

Takeaways from the light-squared domination game:

Too many pawn moves in the opening. Beginner’s are taught this very early in their chess studies and there is a good reason why. First, moving too many pawns creates weaknesses. In this case, the light-squares on the kingside were terribly weak and open for attack. Secondly, early pawn moves can put you behind in development. You’ll notice that in this game both were problems.

Another unintended consequence of early pawn pushes is that it allows your opponent the liberty of getting away with bad moves. How can you punish your opponents poor moves if you can barely find time to develop your pieces? You can’t. So always remember that more than two pawn moves in the opening is rarely justified. When it is, you should have an excellent reason for doing so.

Counter bad pawn moves with piece development. My early g3 is a good example of this. Instead of trying to complicate things, I should have played Nc3. Just develop a piece and continue the game. Chess really is a game of war. You cannot win battles with half your army missing from the battlefield. So look for every opportunity to develop your pieces, particularly when your opponent forgets to.

A weak king is not a dead king. Even with his king in the middle of the board, Black could have gotten the advantage by playing Kc6. It’s a crazy move that doesn’t make sense but it works. Even when you have an overwhelming advantage, take the time to work through your moves. Ask yourself: Does this attack work? Is there a defense I am overlooking?

Play for operational excellence. This is a term you often see in information technology. It has to do with not just getting the job done but doing so with the least amount of effort and maximum efficiency. Chess is a game of efficiency too. Don’t pat yourself on the back because you were able to hurl pieces at your opponent that gets him checkmated. Seeing the Kc6 defense is proof that even having an advantage is not he same as winning a game.

Have you played any games where light-squared domination decided the outcome? Have you ever been the victim of light-squared domination? Please share your thoughts below.

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