Strategy means long-term planning and thinking of ways to change the position in your favor, and creating plans is what differentiates the good players from the weak ones.
Middlegame plans can rarely revolve around tactics. Most often, they include strategical or positional thinking and coming up with ways to improve which are 5 or 10 moves deep. Beginners tend to make a common mistake of playing aimlessly and simply moving their pieces around without considering the key aspects of a position or planning in advance.
Good players, on the other hand, spend most of their time coming up with plans and not thinking or calculating one single variation or move. I’m not saying that you should come up with a plan and stick to it blindly, not caring about the dynamics of a position (a topic for a whole other video), but that having a plan in mind will greatly decrease the chances of careless, aimless play, blundering or spending large amounts of time meditating over a single move.
There are two types of plans – positive and negative ones. The positive plans include any ideas which might improve your position or any single aspect of it, and negative plans are the same, only applied to what your opponent might want to do to improve his position, and you trying to prevent that.
Very often during a game, if you can’t think of a good plan, you can look for a negative strategical plan. Think of what the person on the other side of the board wants to do. Surely you can find something that worries you. Once you do, create a strategical plan to prevent that.
Using positive and negative plans will leave you less prone to being startled by a move your opponent makes, because you will know what’s coming. It will also improve your middlegame play significantly. Having plans and maneuvering your pieces accordingly simplifies the thinking process significantly.
The easiest way to improve at creating strategical plans is to analyze! Look at random games. Put them on move 20 and find plans. Once you’re done with your own ideas, look at what the players did. Think of what their plan was while making that move. Trust me, most often, every single move a grandmaster makes was part of a plan! Reconstructing what they were thinking will make you stronger and faster. And remember, a bad plan is better than no plan at all!
Video Rating: / 5