Positional Games for a Tactical Player

A sequence of forcing moves and a retreat — A Pagan’s Way of Thinking

In most positions where you’re up material, you want to trade down. But, this position is completely winning due to the material loss, but how would you put it away quickly and most effeciently?

Think Like a Pagan.

And, after pawn takes, you can disregard your bishop as well.

So, pawn takes, of course, and?

Think like a pagan —


In a less obvious game, it might be more difficult to come up with an ever progressive threat; you might first need to build a pawn structure that both works against your opponent’s setup — their development and coordination potential — and then work on coordinating points, or targets. Targets are created and agitated by targeting, the piling of pieces on a single square or piece. Like hitting a pinned piece again; it is good practice.

This game was played against a really strong Belgian player. In this position, to make progress, you first make threats…

Brandon was rated 2113 at the time of this game, playing at the strength of a FM or NM, with exceptional games of beauty and artistry …

Now he will have to guard the base of his pawn chain with pieces, tying down forces which would otherwise attack, while doubling up on this weakness is relatively easy, for white to coordinate his pieces is more difficult.

And here, Brandon shows his long term strategic thinking is just as sharp as his tactical, forcing sequences and combinations. Sometimes to go forward, we must …

And white has some shit to deal with here…

if he notices what’s coming with the re-route.

As we see in all of his best games, Brandon’s initial set-up – his defensive structure has made his opponent’s pieces useless in the long term. Only two pieces are development, and it’s not easy for the others to quickly make their presence felt. But each of Brandon’s pieces are on effective and optimal squares, even the rook on a8, which can easily come into the game via a6, a possibility afforded by the early threat against the queen on a5–a move that shows its immediate and long term purpose here as the final sequence falls into place.

But under enough pressure, your opponent will blunder. Not only pieces, but their entire position can go from slightly worse. From the position where the bishop begins to reroute with Be8, black has a decisive advanage (-4, which is the equivalent of being up a piece):

Black to play and win.
(You’ll at least win the exchange)

But, should the opponent make a mistake and not block with the rook, he’ll face mate.

And he makes the mistake…

Mate in 3 with best defense. Black to play…

And here I just took the rook.


We don’t always play the absolute best move every time. Sometimes we just play like humans. In a game played quickly, or if you see a winning move – outright winning a piece, it’s not a hard decision. And the game is lost for white, regardless.

And he makes the mistake of taking a pawn and attacking a rook. So do you move the rook or find a better move? Again, black to play and mate.


At the end of the game, again we see good coordination, piece coordination, and the strategic retreat and replacement of the bishop generated enough threats so that black dictated the terms of battle throughout the entire engagement. And it wouldn’t be a proper Brandon game without a gift to the Goddess of Chess, Caissa, of a knight at the end for a forced mate.

Check out the whole game here:



Published by

Brandon K. Nobles

Brandon is an author, poet and head writer for Sir Swag on YouTube. With 630k subscribers. Since February 2021 he has written for the most important and popular series, News Without the Bulls%!t and the least popular work on the channel, History Abridged. Brandon joined the channel in late January, since then his work has been featured every month in News and History. His novels and works of fiction have also been well received, and he continues to be a proficient and professional chess player. In his spare time he like to catch up on work.

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