Most players generally have the idea of how one should play in the opening as they are quite straightforward and one has to just remember the theory or the ideas and they are already out of the opening.
In contrast, the middlegame is the most complex phase in the game of chess. It’s a mixture of both tactics and strategy.
In this article, we’ll look into how to improve our middlegame play.
Know when middlegame starts
The middlegame starts when you have finished the development, your king is castled and rooks are connected. This is when you should take your time and start looking for different types of plans and ideas. The plan which you would be playing over here would shape the rest of the game.
Moving forward it’s very important that you have some plan/idea or the general direction in which you should be playing the game. You should never make a move just for the sake of making it. It should always have some idea or a plan behind it. My coach always use to say “It’s better to have a bad plan than no plan at all!”
Ask the question is the position open or close?
We should always play according to the needs of the position. I often hear beginners asking me the question is the bishop better or the knight. And my answer always stays the same – Depends upon the position!
When the position is close knight is always better than the bishop. When the position is open the bishop is far better than the knight. Asking these critical questions would help you to plan accordingly.
How to play in the closed position:
How to play in the open position:
Which chess pieces to exchange?
One of the important skills in the middlegame you should develop is exchanging the right chess pieces. Exchanging the right pieces most of the time often leads to a better position right out of the middlegame.
Never exchange your active minor pieces for the opponent’s inactive pieces. Likewise, you should try to trade your bad pieces for the opponent’s active pieces.
A knight is usually better than the bishop in the close position and bishops are stronger than the knight in the open position.
Keeping this thing in mind while playing the middle game often helps you to take accurate decisions.
One of the important principles you should remember in the middlegame is whenever you are ahead in the material you should trade maximum pieces as position expect the pawns.
This helps you to reduce the opponent’s counter-play and helps to get closer toward converting the final point.
Play through a strong player’s middlegame
You can start by examining the games of the stronger players in the openings in which you play. It not only helps you to improve your opening understanding but also helps you to pick up on the different plans and the ideas in the resulting middlegame.
Look how they are placing their pieces. Which pieces are exchanged which pieces are kept? Look out for standard patterns in the position they play.
Start playing correspondence chess
Correspondence chess is the ideal way to train and develop your middlegame skills as there is no time restriction you have to follow. Start with playing 2-3 correspondence games where you keep the time limit of 3-4 days for each move.
Keep a chessboard and play the situation over the board. Play out the moves by actually playing the different scenarios over the board. After the game is over analyze the game and try to figure out how the play could have been made better.