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Exploiting weaknesses Part I

GM Swapnil Dhopade & FM Ankit Gajwa

GM Swapnil Dhopade & FM Ankit Gajwa

Headcoach - Chess Pathshala

  1. August 15, 2020

Exploiting weaknesses Part I

Hello Dear Readers,

In our previous article, we dealt with recognition of weaknesses in a position. Recognition of weaknesses in the opponent’s camp is the first step towards exploitation of weaknesses. In the games that are going to follow, we will see how one side skillfully exploited the weaknesses in their opponent’s camp.

The following game between Geller and Fischer is very famous. Geller frequently went for the Be2 system against the Najdorf, and achieved very good results with this system. His handling of such classical positions was very good. He was also a renowned exponent in the realm of attack.


  1. In the above-mentioned game, Geller skillfully exploited the backward b7 pawn.

  2. White’s central pawns on c4 and d5 were another cause of concern for Black.

  3. Its advance was threatened by the white rooks on d1 and b6 (which was available to the White rook due to the weakness of the b6 square).

  4. Geller’s exploitation of such small weaknesses was therefore very instructive.

Let us see another example by Geller where he exploits weaknesses in the opponent’s camp. 


The advantage given by correct exploitation such weaknesses radiates to other parts of the board. In the above-mentioned game, once white’s pieces obtained complete control of the d5 square, black’s position became cramped, the activity of his pieces was restricted, and furthermore, the weaknesses on d6 and b6 were now more prominent than ever.

What kind of weaknesses can exist in a position? Well, there could be many. But some of the most common ones are –

  1. Pawn weaknesses – when a pawn is separated from its colleagues, or when the pawn is backward, or when the pawn is too far advanced it the opponent’s territory and cannot be easily defended, etc.

  2. Weak squares – As mentioned in our article on Recognition of weaknesses, this is often directly correlated to the pawn structure. 

  3. A group of squares or diagonals – Sometimes a certain complex of the square could be weak, i.e. weak dark squares

  4. This is by no means an exhaustive list and I would recommend the readers to think of another kind of weaknesses in a position that can be exploited.

 Let us know in the comments!

Finally, I would like to offer a position for the reader to exercise their skill in the exploitation of weaknesses.

Try to first recognize the weaknesses you can make use of, and then find a way to exploit them.

Happy solving!


White to Play!

White to Play!

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