This is a position from PCT strategy module 3.
White to move
According to Rybka there are at least 4 moves that lead to a win. That this often happens in the more difficult modules doesn't make training easier, but I can live with that. That is not what I want to talk about. The move that PCT happens to advocate as the best is 1.g4
And that is interesting. That pawnmove does two opposite things. It restricts black's knight and white's bishop.
And that is the bane of the positional player. The choice between two or more ideas. Often there is a difference in time between the ideas. As it is here. The restriction of the white bishop has no direct consequences, while the restriction of the black knight has. So the valuation is based on the question if the advantage now is decisive or will the disadvantage backfire later.
There seems to be a tendency that the effect now is very often (but not always) more important than the effect later. That clarifies why most amateurs including me are so bad in positional play. It is very enticing to treat long term advantages as the best fit. Neglecting the needs of the position now. Especially with pawn play that is the case. There are a whole set of rules that defines how to keep your pawnstructure good for the endgame and how to mutilate the pawnstructure of the opponent. But the role of the pawns in the middlegame is quite different and much less known. Good pawnplay in the middlegame precedes over a good pawnplay with the ending in mind. I must learn to adapt to this new way of thinking. I have the feeling that that is very important.
The Life and Chess of Anatoly Karpov
15 hours ago