Creating a Weakness
By Chad Lieberman
In many of your games, you may come to a point where a logical plan doesn't seem to exist. Your opponent has equalized during the opening of the game and you can't find any weaknesses to attack.
When the plan is not clear, you should create a weakness. In this week's featured game, Mr. Costello creates such a weakness with 16.a5. When black captures 16...bxa5, all of a sudden, white has a target.
Although white did not continue perfectly (and ended up losing the game), this change in the pawn structure guided his piece development. He forced black to accept some pawn weaknesses on the queenside.
Instead of seeking play in the center of the board as Mr. Costello did in the game, he should have focused his attention on the newly created weakness. Moves such as Ra1, Qd2, etc. would have made much more sense in the position.
Unfortunately, he sought action near the center and eventually paid the price. Next time you find yourself at a loss for a plan, attempt to create some weaknesses in your opponent's camp. This will guide your play.