The Power of Playing Your Pieces in the Center

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Chess players are often advised to play towards the center –to develop their pieces towards the center. And that’s just how most of the chess openings start, for example the Ruy Lopez, the Sicilian Defense, and even the Queen’s Gambit. The initial moves are all towards the center, starting with 1.e4 or 1.d4.

Why should you play towards the center? The answer is very simple – when your pieces are in the center, you can move them ANYWHERE you want to; it is much easier for you to pivot them towards one side of the board (or even keep playing in the center) from the center, than to pivot them from one flank to another, i.e. from one corner of the chessboard to the other. Simply put, central pieces are more flexible.

In this video, RCA guest coach CM Tryfon Gavriel analyses a game played between Wei Yi and Zhou Jianchao in the 4th Danzhou Tournament, 2013, explaining the power of playing pieces in the center.

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