Trading Off Your Worst Piece in a Chess Game


Jeremy Silman’s magnum opus stresses sizing up the imbalances in a chess position and then exploiting those imbalances in your favor. Silman, an exemplary chess teacher and author, keeps it very simple when he defines a chessic imbalance as any difference in the position. Pedagogically, Silman is just renaming one undefined term, imbalance, for another undefined term, difference. Silman’s predilection for keeping things simple is to be commended.

In the following game played at the Internet Chess Club, Black uses the methods outlined in Silman’s How to Reassess your Chess  to seize the initiative. Black’s worst piece is clearly the g7 bishop whose only role appears to be defending the puny, weak d6 pawn. Contrast this with the White Prelate at d2 which is not immured by his own pawns.

The above description of the Silmanian ( Hope that is how you convert Silman to an adjective!!) imbalances cry out for Bh6 thereby trading off Black’s worst piece for, arguably , Whites’s best piece.

Also note that after Bxh6 Nxh6, the Black Knight is ready to hop to f7 defending Black’s anemic d6 pawn! All of this shows that Silman is a chess author worth studying and that harmony is indeed an element of the Royal Game!!

You know how you read a book over and over and it becomes part of your psyche? That is Silman’s book! He has influenced my chess thinking, my overall thinking, and my writing style.

Exchanging Your Worst Piece

1 comment on “Trading Off Your Worst Piece in a Chess GameAdd yours →

  1. I left the Royal game for around 7 years to study psychology and took a course on obsession as it relates to depression.

    Let’s face it. Chess is an addictive pursuit as evidenced by the nervous breakdowns of famous players like Rubenstein, Neumann, minckwitz,Carlos torre,Rotlewi, Weinstein and nimzowitsch.

    Hard core chess players like these guys often harbor suicidal tendencies. I read of the sudden passing of engineer Mark Diesen and could not help but wonder if the clutches of Caissia was the cause of a possible self inflicted death.

    Charlie Rose, in his interview with Magnus Carlson, asked Magnus if he was concerned with connection between chess and mental illness. I don’t remember if Rose ever referenced suicide directly, or if the incidence of mental illness is higher in the chess population compared to general population.

    A counter claim against chess players being suicidal is once they off themselves, they have played their LAST game of chess!

Leave a Reply