Rules Are Good But Most Of Them Have Exceptions

For playing better chess there are some general rules and beliefs about what we should and should not do; for example rook endings with a rook pawn is a draw, we should not move our pieces twice in the opening, opposite color bishop endgames are always draw and so on.. Most amateurs follow these rules blindly while experts tend to be more interested in the exceptions.

What I want to say is that you can evaluate or judge positions on general grounds but you shouldn’t set them in stone. It’s important to always look for exceptions, and this in turn can set you apart from your opponents.

Here are a few examples from experts’ games:

Rule: Pawn Weakness and Bishop Inside the Pawn Chain

This game was played between David Janowski and the legendary Jose Raul Capablanca in 1916. Capablanca had doubled pawns on the b- file, and it is worth seeing how he covered his weakness by moving his light squared bishop inside the pawn chain and then used the weak b-pawns to establish a nice outpost on c4:

Rule: Opposite Colour Bishop Endings Are Drawn

It may be true in most cases but still you can study the endgame technician’s games and grab some ideas which provide exceptions. In this game, Capablanca choose an opposite coloured bishop endgame and went on win:

It is also worth seeing the world championship match played between Topalov and Anand in 2010.

Rook Endings With A Rook’s Pawn

We normally believe that in rook endgames the position is drawish if the stronger side has an extra rook’s pawn. But if you study the Vancura position and drawing zone given by Peter Romanovsky in 1950, you can still find the way to win. Here is an example:

Ashvin Chauhan