Importance of chess strategy – Part 1

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Aim to be a good chess tactician, but don’t neglect to develop a sense of chess strategy. That is the message we tried to convey in “What is chess strategy?”. While explaining the differences between chess strategy and chess tactics, we showed how they interplay in a game, with a concluding surmise on how inadequate/incorrect chess strategy might have cost a landmark match for a World Champion.

For those who approach a chess game with thoughts only in terms of chess tactics, possibly because they are good at it and won games against some senior players, we will now show how brilliant chess tacticians prevail in their games! We will make our point after you have appreciated the talents in attacking chess tactics displayed in the game.

Unless you are a real chess enthusiast, you may not have come across the name of Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov (1912-1974) of former USSR. But you are not likely to forget him when, discounting that ‘mouthful’ name, you play some of his games and find why those proved to be quite a ‘handful’ for many better-known top players of his time! He was capable of defeating any player by his imaginative and fierce attacks and this way he may remind you of Mikhail Tal who was 24 years his junior!

Nezhmetdinov came from a poor family and lost his parents early in life. He learnt chess by watching others play and he had a natural talent for chess (which can only be for chess tactics, because chess strategy needs study and development of perspective which cannot come naturally)! This enabled him to win some local tournaments but his further progress got hampered when he joined the army during the Second World War. His chess career could start only from 1946 when he was 34 years old and this may be the reason he lagged in chess strategy!

Vladas Mikenas (1910-1992), his opponent in the following game, earned the title of International Master in 1950, the very year it was introduced. Nezhmetdinov earned it 4 years later in 1954 on the strength of his performance at Bucharest, the only time he played outside USSR.

All this is to put a perspective on the game that follows, where he played as White against Mikenas in 1948. The game is not considered among his great games because of its many flaws, but glimpses of his attacking propensity come through nonetheless. I chose it because it appeared as a very strange and amusing game to me and I hope you will share in my feelings when you go through the opening moves!

1. e4 Nf6   No Knight probably faced what this one did!
2. e5 Nd5  
3. c4 Nb6  
4. c5 Nd5  
5. Bc4 e6  
6. Nc3 Nxc3   Black probably had enough of moving around that Knight, otherwise he could try 6. … Nf4 and then 7. … Nxg2 or Ng6 or Qh4
7. dxc3 Qh4  
8. Qe2 Bxc5  
9. Nh3 f6  
10. exf6 Qxf6  
11. Qh5+ Qg6  


Position after 11. … Qg6

tactics make a quick job

12. Qxc5 Qxg2  
13. Rg1 Qxh3  
14. Rxg7 Nc6  
15. Be2 e5  
16. Bg4 Qh4  
17. Qd5 Resigns   White threatens 18. Bxd7+ Bxd7 19. Qxd7+ Kf8 20. Qf7#
If 17. … Ne7 then 18. Qf7+ Kd8 19. Bg5 with threat of 20. Qxe7#.
If in response to above line 19. … Re8 then 20. Qxe7+ Rxe7 21. Rg8#


While accepting that White has totally outplayed Black with his attacking chess tactics, you must be wondering why we showed a pure tactical win when we apparently wanted to establish the importance of chess strategy that seems to be totally absent in the above game!

Please have your patience. We just wanted you to be aware of the strength of a player capable of brilliant chess tactics. The above game is only an introduction, but in Importance of chess strategy – Part 2, we will see how Nezhmetdinov makes a short shrift of a well-known Grandmaster and chess theoretician and then continue with our leitmotif!



  1. Steve says:

    This part 1 is really helpful for people like me who are still at the beginning level

  2. ChessMaster says:


    Thanks Steve, but if you really want to learn the importance of chess strategy, please stay away from Nezhmetdinov! We may suggest our article on chess strategies and then the basic rules of deployment and a beginner’s game plan. When you know what you have to do when you start a game, go through the many articles on chess tactics presented here and then go back to studying Tal and Nezhmetdinov to find what tactics they used!


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