by Larry Wallace (Monticello, Florida USA)
I have been playing chess for 50 years, however 47 of those years it was ALL combat chess. You know the game style, attack, attack, attack and take as many pieces as you can as quickly as you can.
I retired 3 years ago and have taken a slower more calculated style. I have studied more in that 3 years than the previous 47. I study Jeremy Silman and use some openings such as the Pirc and Sicilian.
My games go fairly poorly as I move up in difficulty. I play much with my program Shredder 12.
I lose because I have problems with pawns and figuring out weak squares. If I play at 1200 I am ok, but as I move up to 1300-1400 I fall apart in the middle game.
I have spend some time reviewing online chess courses and still have trouble seeing the weak squares of my opponent, or I move my pawns and create openings for attack because my pawns are not placed properly.
I win perhaps 10% of my games at 1300-1400. I seem to make pawn moves that trap my bishops and knights behind the pawns. I literally have no moves to get them out. Then the opponent comes in past my pawns and I am destroyed.
I have found that the online courses such as Chess24 do not stress pawns. Yasser Seirawan has some courses that I have watched but he also does not go into any detail on pawns. However I know they are geared more to the better players so I am not critical of them.
Alas that is my story. Perhaps you can give players who are weak with pawns and spotting weak squares a few tips and or guide us to locations where we can find easier to understand strategies for this area of chess.
I would like to say that I do enjoy the Backyard Professor videos. Kerry Shirts has made over 100 videos of his progress from someone just like me to being a much better player. The videos are funny and I can see so many of my mistakes as he journeys from 1200 to 1700. He shows his failures with openness and sometimes his games end with a win. Providing a link below.
In closing I am doing much better this last 3 years. Chess is fun and exciting and I am playing some with my son and grandson.
Thank you for taking the time to ask me how I am doing. I visit your site daily and enjoy it much.
Larry Wallace, Monticello, Florida The Deep South, USA….