Prophylaxis

“… Weak points – still more, however, strong points – in brief, all the points that we can be grouped together under the collective concept “strategically important points”, must be over-protected…”
A Nimzowitsch, My System

The above quote summarizes the idea of “prophylaxis to the inside” as described by Nimzowitsch. This covers anything that we must do to have full control over the important points of our own position. Also as a reminder:
“Prophylaxis (in chess) = guarding or preventing beforehand”
As per the norm it is easy to talk about this theoretically and it is much harder to apply it in the heat of the battle. Be honest and admit when was the last time you actually did have prophylaxis in mind during a game?

We were also guilty of ignoring it during one of our voting chess games:

The main moves we had in mind were 25… a4 and 25… Nd7. Both got equal number of votes and the system chose to play the 25… a4 for us. What we had in mind was to keep our attack going based on the principle the faster attack has the first shot at winning. The opposing team played the simple 26. h6 … and got our king in trouble for the duration of the game. In the position above White’s attack is very straight forward and wins the game.

Luckily the opponents missed it. However the h6-pawn continued to influence the game:

From the above sequence it is easy to see we got our shot. White also failed to deal with our attack in a prophylactic way and now had to defend. The game was far from being over but at least we were running the show. It is quite unfortunate we chose the wrong move here. The possibility to checkmate them was very hard to resist.

The game continued for a number of moves:

After the wrong turn at move 39 White simply exchanged the main pieces into a won endgame. We played mostly for fun to see how the opponents would win it. Probably we should have resigned at move 54 but there were no takers. Hope this provides an up to date example how an old concept not only still applies but makes the difference today. Remember prophylaxis if you want to be successful more often than not!

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/chessessentials/id593013634?mt=8
I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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