Each week this column presents a tactical puzzle in the form of a mate-in-two. I wish it were as easy to provide practice for strategy decisions too.
Since that would be very difficult, I thought I would discuss one efficient method for studying strategy. If you study tactics, you notice that many of the moves are made by the heavy artillery. To understand strategy, the pawns are more pedagogical.
It is not logical to attempt to grasp all of chess strategy right away; we will break down the problem into smaller classes the key to this aspect of chess. Consider the most popular middlegame pawn structures.
Some examples of middlegame pawn structures are locked center, isolated d-pawns, open center, etc. Please note that the correct strategy can only be ascertained if one considers both sides pawn structures: knowing only your own is not sufficient.
In this week's featured game, GM Ivanov achieves a great advantage in the middlegame. With a locked pawn center, Ivanov has the initiative on both sides of the board. If you study locked pawn center games, you will find that often white will be attacking on one side and black on the other. With control of the entire board, GM Chernin is forced to constantly defend his position.
One false step (23...Rg4?) permitted Chernin to equalize, and then eke out a win in the endgame. 23...Qxb2 was a much more solid move continuing to attack both sides of the befuddled white position.