The importance of initiative in chess

November 30, 2007

Even when you are losing, you sustain hopes of a miracle as long as you hold the initiative. If you can hold the initiative long enough, sometimes your opponent blunders, leaving you with a draw or win.


In the above position, I, as white, blundered and grabbed the knight, completely forgetting that black gets to grab my bishop with check, and then picks up my knight on the next move. Now my only hope in the game was to make something of his undeveloped queenside and put pressure with my rooks and queen along the c and d files. After a few more moves, we reached the following position:


Thus far, black has sustained the pressure very well, coping both against the pressure on c8 and d7. Here, the simple Qe5 holds the position very well and my attack is finally losing all steam. But having come this far, he blunders and plays Bb7. All of a sudden, d7 is weak again and a move later, it is time to resign. Pressure does funny things to people!




  1. …But does it matter that d7 was weak as long as he forgot to move his queen and you took it? As long as you took the queen, it would be mate no matter if d7 was weak.

  2. Sorry for being unclear with my comment about d7. After my move (a4), Black is forced to either give up his queen (by leaving it at b5 or moving to c6) or by moving it anywhere else and allowing mate on d7. That is the point I was trying to make.

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