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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

The Middle Game: Taking the initiative

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

Think of the three phases of chess as the setup, the battle proper, and the aftermath. In the opening, you are merely preparing the landscape where your pieces will be moving around. So that is the time when you take up space and position your pieces in the right squares to control as much of the board as possible.

The endgame is the aftermath of all the action and fighting wherein you are left with just a few remaining forces who would try to maneuver their way to victory. This is the time when technique, calculation, and a whole lot of stamina and perseverance comes in to play.

However, the middle game is the place where you can joust it out with your opponent to see whose idea would come out triumphant over the other. It is a battle of wits, strategy, and foresight. The one who plays the most creative moves that would surprise or catch their opponent off guard would have the advantage. And that’s why it is important to take the initiative in the middle game. There are a few ways to take the initiative.

Launch your attack

Obviously, whoever launches the first attack on their opponent after all the preparations have been made would seize the initiative. However, it’s not that simple. You don’t merely pounce on your opponent’s pieces without thinking about the consequences. Remember this is all about who has the superior strategy.

I recall reading an article about Kasparov saying that the first person to launch an attack is the one who attacks his opponent’s piece with a pawn. He says that is the beginning of the attack.

If you think about it, there is some sense to his logic. Though an attack is a concerted effort from all the pieces, the footmen are usually the first ones to go into the fray. The reason for that would be their tenacity and versatility. They are the ones who enable the other pieces to advance and move freely in the enemy camp. They provide support for the other pieces and their placement on the board determines which direction your attack will go.

Tactical combinations

Another way to take the initiative is to make use of the perfect placement and timing of your pieces in order to do tactics that could give you a material advantage. Surely, when you are able to gain the upper hand in terms of material, this will provide the impetus and momentum to charge straight ahead against your opponent.

However, this can only be done when you have the right positional advantages. If you are simply trying out some tactics without polishing the “what comes after”, then it wouldn’t soon lose steam and fizzle out. You have to build the proper foundation and ground to make full use of tactics.

Lie and wait

Okay, hold up. You might be thinking that this is a bit weird since we are talking about taking the initiative after all, so why would you suggest to simply lie and wait? It could be because I have no other idea that I can come up with and this was the best thing. But seriously, prophylaxis and waiting patiently can also be a way to take the initiative.

Especially in a very dry game where you are both treading a narrow path and not want to commit a big mistake, it would be best to continue improving your position little by little until the time is right to enact your plan, if you have one. Obviously, you should have a plan, otherwise this is useless.

You can also simply wait for your opponent to make a mistake or try to set him up for a trap but you shouldn’t count on it. Instead, you must take concrete steps to surge forward and get the upper hand over your opponent.

Having the initiative

Finally, once you have the initiative, you better make sure to hold on to it and not give it away by blundering. The initiative isn’t something that will be permanently in one side’s possession. It is always going to be a fight to keep the initiative. So developing a good plan to come with it is crucial. Only then will you be able to maintain the momentum and take the game from your opponent in the end.

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