The idea of initiative confuses a lot of beginners. What does it actually mean?
Is it sacrificing a piece and going for a combination? Is it squeezing the life out of your opponent’s position? Is this tactical play or positional?
If you ask a decent coach, he will let you know that initiative is everything in chess.
You might sacrifice a piece. You might grab the critical squares too. You might even have to lose the tempo if needed.
So what does gaining the initiative mean? It means to act and “force” your opponent to react.
Easy to say but extremely hard to implement.
That’s why we bring to you GM Misa Pap’s latest exclusive offering, Fighting for Initiative, where Misa goes over fourteen top-level games to show you in practice what initiative looks like.
In 10 hours, he approaches this complex subject from different perspectives and tries to break it down in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
If you are a club level player trying to work on your chess skills every day, this training will be of help.
Here’s what you will learn:
- Anand’s 19…f5 wonder. A big thing about initiative is “one you gain it, don’t lose it.” Even a quiet, little move like this as demonstrated by Anand against Aronian in 2015 Tata Steel match is enough. With Misa’s commentary move by move.
- The dark squares around… Let Aronian show you how to take advantage once the f-pawn moves forward around the king. No time to castle even for White. Done right, White’s position collapses even if the other player is Wesley So.
- One mistimed pawn capture. When Karpov, as White, took the d6-pawn in his 1993 Linares match against Kasparov, it gave the initiative to the Black’s central knight… jumping around and wrecking White’s position. Again, no time to castle for White.
- Morphy’s punch combo. That’s what it felt like. Once those “punches” started, it’s almost over for his opponent. In this game, Misa shows how his opponent tried to save a pawn and lost the game instead. Thanks to Morphy’s initiative.
- Losing the initiative. Knowing when you have got it is of importance. If you don’t, you will probably play an inaccurate move and end up losing it nonetheless. Check out the 1953 Candidates match between Kotov and Gligoric for this.
Chapter 1 Kotov – Gligoric 1953
Chapter 2 Petrosian – Gligoric 1970
Chapter 3 Fischer – Keres 1962
Chapter 4 Fischer – Bisguier 1963
Chapter 5 Portisch – Fischer 1966
Chapter 6 Karpov – Kasparov 1985
Chapter 7 Karpov – Kasparov 1993
Chapter 8 Kasparov – Karpov 1992
Chapter 9 Kasparov – Topalov 1999
Chapter 10 So – Aronian 2015
Chapter 11 MVL – Ponkratov 2021
Chapter 12 Girschuk – MVL 2019
Chapter 13 Aronian – Anand 2013
Chapter 14 Rotlewi – Rubinstein 1907