18 Jul 2016

How to exploit your opponent’s bad piece?

Help your pieces so they can help you”, said Paul Morphy, one of the greatest chess masters. Indeed, that’s true – you cannot play a chess game without your (active) pieces. It is essential, as having active pieces is considered a positional advantage.

So what happens when your (or your opponent’s) piece is not active but passive? True, this would be a positional disadvantage. Chess players often say that bad pieces are just spectators in the game. Where that bad piece is a bishop, it is considered a big pawn. Worst of all is having a passive piece –that is practically equivalent to a piece down.
bishop and pawn
Suggestion: you might like to study how to make use of important chess squares – click here.

Today, IM Boroljub Zlatanovic has prepared a video lesson for you on this topic. He will teach you with a game played between the ‘Endgame Master’ José Capablanca and William Winter.

In this lesson, you will learn about the disadvantages of having a bad piece, how to exploit it (if your opponent has one) and how trying to improve a bad piece costs time and material … and lots more.

You can watch the video lesson by clicking HERE

Below you will find the key points based on what you will have learnt from the lesson:

Key points

  • Finding the correct plan to realize a big positional advantage
  • You should play on the flank opposite to your opponent’s bad piece
  • The very well-known and useful principle for a successful endgame (active pieces)
  • When you don’t have active pieces, you cannot attack
  • The power of an intermediate move
  • Drawbacks to doubled pawns
  • Converting positional advantage into material advantage

Author information
IM Boroljub ZlatanovicIM Boroljub Zlatanovic

Boroljub Zlatanovic is a Serbian International Master and professional chess trainer. He became a FIDE Master, and in 1995 was Youth Champion of Serbia and a member of the national youth team. He was a two-time champion of the University of Belgrade and won 10 Serbian Open Chess Tournaments.

Note: you may also like to study about “Transforming Advantages in Chess” – click here.

P.S. Have you ever exploited an opponent’s bad piece(s) and won the game? Let us know about it – please write in the comments below, as I’ll be very happy to read them. :)


Learn to play the endgames like Capablanca! Learn how endgame masters think and how they come to the right moves.
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