Chess is a game that requires you to come up with strong ideas and plans to defeat your opponent. But it’s not just about that – it’s also essential to KNOW your opponent, his ideas and plans, in order to be ahead of him, and therefore to defeat him. Therefore, you should be able to foresee your opponent’s ideas and figure out ways to prevent/RESTRICT them!
I’d like to recall a quote from “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” And that’s what we are going to learn today – to KNOW your enemy, his plans, and most importantly, how to RESTRICT them.
What is Restriction in Chess?
If you’re looking for a definition, the author of this lesson gives one – restricting your opponent is the strategy of avoiding certain squares or moves from your opponent; i.e. to restrict your opponent’s ideas/pieces. So, it works with 2 steps:
- Consider WHAT exactly our opponent wants to do – what positions/squares his pieces seek to go on.
- STOP it through some means – either attack that square or block your opponent’s piece/pawn.
As I said above, our guest coach IM Asaf Givon (who is the author of the courses “Exchange Pieces like a Pro” and “From Opening to Middlegame”) has prepared a really beautiful lesson on this topic, explaining how to restrict your opponent’s pieces with practical examples. One of the examples is actually a game played between Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov.
As Asaf said in the lesson, besides having a strong, practical meaning, the act of restricting your opponent’s ideas and plans also helps you gain a psychological advantage. When you play a move that doesn’t allow your opponents to execute their own plans, very often they get frustrated about it and play bad/self-destructive moves. If you want to learn more about psychology in chess, I recommend that you study my book Champion Psychology – A book for future chess champions.