16 May 2017

Develop Your King

In one of my many blitz games this morning, I had one of those many experiences when I realized that I was playing poorly and now seemed to be losing material.

Stripes,J (1806) -- Internet Opponent (1852) [D06]
Live Chess Chess.com, 16.05.2017

1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.Bf4 e6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.e3 Nb4

White to move

In my despair, I remembered the words of Wilhelm Steinitz:
[W]e consider it established that the king must be treated as a strong piece both for attack and defence. This means that so far from requiring great protection early in the game a few simple precautions which we shall further explain, will render him so safe that any attampt at attacking his wing will be more dangerous for the opponent than for himself.
Wilhelm Steinitz, The Modern Chess Instructor (1889).
Steinitz was concerned with the king's role in self-protection on the king's side, when the king itself is the target. My opponent was angling for my rook, winning an exchange.

7.Kd2! Bc2

My opponent might have tried 7...Ne4+ 8.Nxe4 dxe4 9.Ne1 (9.Ne5? f6)

8.Qc1 Ne4+ 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.Ne1

Black to move 


10...Ba4 seems to be a better effort to take advantage of the king in the center.

a) 11.a3 Nc6

11...Nd3 is as in the game 12.Nxd3 exd3 13.Bxd3 f6 White has a one pawn advantage.

a1) 12.Bg3 (12.Qc3 e5 appears dangerous). 12...e5 13.d5 Na5 and White is losing at least an exchange.

a2) Nc2

b) 11.b3 is probably safest.

11.Nxd3 Bxd3 12.Bxd3 Bb4+ 13.Ke2 exd3+ 14.Kxd3

Black to move

14...0–0 15.a3 Be7 16.Rd1 f6 17.Ke2 Qe8 18.Bg3 h5 19.h4 and I went on to win the endgame.


  1. Dude you were fine in diagram 1. After Kd2? he should just develop his pieces normally and be better.

    Why didn't you go 7.Rc1?

    1. I thought that Rc1 would lose the exchange. Of course, it does not. But, that's the state of my thinking when I'm on a losing streak.