Working on pawn skeletons.
Christmas is a good time to catch up with exercises. I'm about halfway the third and last strategy module of PCT. If I compare the amount of themed exercises of PCT with the positional ideas I use in my own games then I can get an idea which positional ideas are underrated and which are overrated by me.
My ideas of increasing the relative piece activity are right on the mark. It comes in several kinds of flavours:
- Opening lines
- Occupation of open lines
- Challenging of occupated open lines
- Creating outposts
- Maintaining outposts
- Improve your worst piece
- Pawn sacs to open lines and to clear squares
- Restrict the pieces of the opponent
- Claim space
The following positional ideas have only a few or no exercises devoted to them by PCT so I probably overrate them in my play:
- Inflicting a bad pawnstructure on behalf of the endgame (double pawns, pawn islands etc.)
The following positional ideas I use hardly at all in my play yet PCT has a lot exercises devoted to them so I probably underrate them:
- Create targets in the form of weak pawns
- Fixate weak pawns
- Attack weak pawns systematically
- Trade off to a good knight against a bad bishop ending
- Use the pawnstructure to base your plan on
- Sac innocent pawns to create a passer
- Working on color complexes
"One of the most important chess-playing traits you can develop is a mind-set that I call target consciousness. When you have this mind-set, you are always looking for ways to exploit the weaknesses of your opponent. You should become so enamored with this idea that when you play, you become obsessed with creating targets (weak points) in the enemy position. Once the target materializes, you should systematically search for ways to hit it, and you should not rest until every weakness of your opponent has been turned into an advantage of your own! Here is the strategy:
Emulate the the great chess masters. They are all mini-Terminators. They scope out targets and hunt them down mercilessly untill they can use them to their own advantage!"