GM Irina Krush considers that time is but one aspect of chess success. Along with time, you must master space and harmony.
Understanding the importance of time, space, and harmony will give you the edge at the chessboard.
A Tempo in Time
A material advantage is often better than a material disadvantage, but it isn’t the most important advantage. All that extra material doesn’t count if you don’t have the time to use it.
One of the best ways to learn the value of time is to play a chess gambit opening. Gambits also teach you how to use the time you’ve gained to the best effect!
This means you mustn’t rush to win back your sacrificed material. Otherwise, you risk losing the advantage you gained in time.
When it will take your opponent two or more moves to castle, do your best to launch an attack. Even if it means sacrificing material.
In the opening, it is vital to keep pawn moves to a minimum. During the first fourteen moves, try to keep your pawn moves to six moves or less.
Spend your time in chess openings on piece development.
One of the most classical and reliable of all chess openings is the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Learn how to play this solid opening with this comprehensive guide.
Space in Chess the Irina Krush Way
Lacking space means your chess pieces will get in each other’s way. The simplest solution to getting more space is to exchange your pieces.
By exchanging pieces, you lessen the value of your opponent’s space advantage and move closer to an equal position.
Naturally, if you are the one with the space advantage, it is best to avoid piece exchanges. Be patient and use your extra space to regroup, even if it means moving a piece backward.
Remember, you don’t want to let your opponent hold a space advantage for too long. Things are not going to get better for you unless you react fast.
Instead of suffering in a cramped position, be willing to sacrifice a pawn or more to break free. The renewed activity of your pieces will help you regain the material you sacrificed.
Seizing the initiative is always crucial in chess and is often worth one or two pawns.
Always look to undermine the pieces your opponent is using to control space.
Remember, advanced pawns not only threaten your opponent’s pieces, but they also give you more space to maneuver in behind them.
Harmony in Chess the Irina Krush Way
Before you can create harmony between your pieces, you must complete your development.
Your pieces need to share a common purpose when you are developing them. For example, in the Nimzo-Indian Defense, black uses his knight and a bishop to control the important d5 and e4-squares.
Another way to develop harmony among your pieces is to play moves you know you will play before those you might play. If you are undecided between …Bf5 or …Bg4, then castle first.
Keeping your position as flexible as possible will increase harmony between your pieces.
You can create greater harmony among your pieces by using prophylaxis. Always ask, “What does my opponent want? What is his threat?”
When your pieces work to stop his attacks, you will find they naturally work harmoniously.
Take a look at how Irina Krush incorporates all three elements in her game. Take special note of how harmoniously her pieces combine.
Melekhina, Alisa – Krush, Irina, USA-Ch Women, 2015, 0-1
It’s tempting to see the concepts of time, space, and harmony as purely positional; they are equally crucial in tactical positions.
These three chess elements apply to all three phases of the game. They are as crucial in the opening as they are in the middlegame and the endgame.
In every phase each tempo in chess must be considered extremely valuable.