Move Decisions Based On Square Colour

Was it Blue Devil Knight who told the tale of a man who became so obsessed with the notion of “square colour”  and “colour dominance” that he forgot to protect his hanging pieces? Such cautionary tales of over-worrying about nebulous ideas notwithstanding, I believe thinking along the lines of “square colour” and “colour dominance” is an important step in improving one’s game once a decent tactical aptitude has been acquired.

ACIS of Caissa member Harvey has an insightful post on the subject. The basic idea emerging from his analysis is that you use your strong squares not just as outposts but as hubs or gateways (or “conveyor belts” in Harvey’s words) to access other sections of the board with your pieces. The idea is certainly gif-worthy, but not easy to illustrate.

Today I’ve also encountered another thinking process using colour considerations. In his latest installment of answering viewer questions, FM Dennis Monokroussos talks about how he selects candidate moves and then goes on to articulate his thought process for the position below. About 25 minutes into the video, he says:

Why wouldn’t I put the queen on c6? Well, the answer to that is two-fold. So first of all, at least at first glance, with all these pawns on light squares, I mean I’m thinking that I want to have my queen on a dark square because otherwise I’ve got nothing at all that can fight for dark squares, right? My light-square bishop can’t, and I don’t have any knights, and, you know, the rooks will eventually get there but they’re still going to fight for the dark squares behind the pawns rather than possibly in front of them, so queen c7 or queen e7 come to mind.

This thinking about pieces in terms of “what square colour can they fight for”  struck me as a very helpful and indeed practical. Chess is very much a struggle for territory when the pawns are still on the board, and square-colour certainly ranks among the most important factors in territorial struggles. Here’s the corresponding gif with the position Dennis was looking at:

Of course, you still have to find a move and you always have to take the specifics of the position into account, but unless you make your decisions solely based on colour, I’m confident that considering the aspect of colour does more good than harm. If nothing else, it gives you new ideas, and that’s almost always a good thing.

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One Response to Move Decisions Based On Square Colour

  1. One of the most difficult things for me has been transitioning from viewing chess as a merely set of pieces as opposed to a set of squares.

    This tip is very clear and concise. Not to mention not requiring a high intellect to understanding.

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