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Middlegame Masterclass
GM Danny Gormally

28 June 2018

In this series, which will hopefully form the backbone of a future video series, I’m going to focusing on middlegame ideas and concepts which turn up on a regular basis.

Editor’s note: Danny’s new video series has been recorded and will be available soon exclusively for Ginger GM.

And not just strategical concepts either, but also more psychological ones, like what to do in certain situations when you’re under pressure, for example. In this first part we’re going to be focusing on mastery of knight play in the middlegame.

Knights in the Center Part 1 - Fragile Knights

In my last article we looked at my game against Stephen Gordon, where in the early middlegame I seemed to lose my way quite quickly. So let’s return to the critical position.

Careful use of the knights can gain the initiative. One player who perhaps understands dynamic play as well or better than any chess player in history is Vishy Anand. Perhaps then it’s unsurprising that in an early game Anand demonstrated his mastery of the use of knights in the center:

Knight Exploiting Weak Squares

Knights can be very powerful attacking pieces due to their ability to exploit weak squares in the opponent’s territory. A classic example is the following Kasparov game:

In the next game, played at the recent 4NCL, Black also exploited this theme of a knight reaching the powerful square of d3 to win in comfortable fashion.

Knights Exploiting Unguarded Squares

The ability of knights to dictate the play is often related to time - for example if a player lacks the time to defend weak squares, or mobilise his own knights, which is exactly what happened in the next game.

About the Author
GM Danny Gormally

Danny Gormally is a talented English Grandmaster. He lives in the bustling market town of Alnwick, somewhere near Scotland.

Danny’s first DVD for Ginger GM, Improve Your Practical Play was released in September 2013.