A very short chess opening lesson for class C and below

See this move? This Bb5? People keep playing it in blitz.


Don’t play it.

It’s a very bad move. (Or else it’s good in such a sophisticated way that most of us won’t be able to follow through on the ideas.)

Here’s why it’s so bad.

Look at the pawn structure. The pawn structure dictates what plan each player must use in the next phase of the game.

White has a central pawn chain that gives him more space, and particularly freedom to maneuver on the kingside. If Black castles short, White is likely to make a good attack. That’s White’s most obvious plan.

Black wants to undermine that pawn chain, blow it up, liquidate it to free his pieces. The current base of the pawn chain is d4. So Black will attack d4. Thus has it ever been in the French defense. His most critical way of doing that is by attacking it with a pawn (…c5) and threatening to capture. That’s Black’s most obvious plan.

So what happens after this bad Bb5 move is that Black plays …Nc6, and White typically plays Bxc6 . (What else would the bishop be doing out there? Its ability pin something to the Black king is very short-lived as Black will play …Be7 and …0-0. Either you trade it or you just completely wasted a tempo by putting it there.) Black will respond …bxc6.

Now look at the new position. What piece would have been really useful in White’s kingside attack? A killer bishop sitting on d3, scoping the g6 and h7 squares. And what again is the key to Black’s counterattack on the center? The c-pawn.

By playing Bxc6, in one fell swoop you have tossed overboard one of your best attacking pieces and also given Black AN EXTRA C-PAWN. So he’ll trade on d4 and then get to play …c5 AGAIN! Your ability to execute your plan is weakened and Black’s ability to execute his plan is strengthened.

Do not do. Many failpoints.


8 thoughts on “A very short chess opening lesson for class C and below

  1. A lesson for class C’s that can actually be understood by class C’s. Well done.

    Also found on internet chess: if someone opens 1. e4 2. Bc4, they’re going for Scholar’s Mate. Of course it will fail, and it’s an easy mark 90% of the time.

  2. Well if Bb5 doesn’t work (and I already know that dxc5 doesn’t work) then what the heck am I supposed to play against you in that position? :)

  3. ( in a squeaky fake little kids voice)

    Gee, mister, why are you so cranky at us little Class players? We make these mistakes without knowing any better. If you only stick around long enough after your quick victory and enlighten us perhaps we’ll make the same mistake only two more times.

  4. But that’s what I just did. :)

    Y’know, it’s an interesting artifact of our club structure – I almost NEVER play anybody below class A. Only when I go to USATE. So I haven’t actually looked it up but I would guess my overall results run 50% or so.

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