In this week’s edition of Novice Nook, Dan Heisman advises that “more pawns in the center are good”. He illustrates this principle with the following position: Dan argues that White, instead of capturing with the queen, should capture towards the centre with the pawn, based on the following three principles:
1) If you have a choice of pawn captures, capture towards the centre.
2) More pawns in the centre are good.
3) If one side has a semi-open file and the other side hasn’t, and there are no open files on the board, then this is a distinct advantage for the party with the semi-open file.
I think the last two principles refer also to the idea of “if attacked on the flank, strike back on the center”: White’s attack plan focuses on the semi-open f-file and thus the kingside flank; capturing towards the centre with the f-pawn not only opens attacking chances, it is also a pre-emptive measure against Black’s counterstrike in the centre. And here’s the gif to sum up the idea: