Positional Chess Strategies

Positional chess refers to structural strategies such as pawn structure and where best to put your pieces. It is the opposite of tactical chess, which refers to checks, captures, pins, forks, skewers, and other combinations. Some people say that positional chess is dull whereas tactical chess is exciting.

Usually the concept of “positional” chess relates to the Middlegame. There are somewhat different strategies for Openings and Endgames, although some positional characteristics are always important in any phase of the game.

Overall Positional Situation

The overall positional strategies relate to the general setup of the board:

Board Structural Elements

Particular positional elements on the board include things like:

  • Open files
  • Half-open files
  • Half-open files with backward pawns
  • Weakened King Position
  • Holes
  • Weak Squares
  • Weak Diagonals
  • Weak Color Square Complex
  • Fortress
  • Blockade
  • Piece Majority (piece concentrations each side of the board)

Pawn Structure

Pawn Structure: There are many elements of positional chess in regard to pawn structure:

Piece Play

Pieces: The role of pieces in positional play is their general strengths and weaknesses. Each piece has slightly different aspects. General aspects of pieces with Positional play with pieces include:

Rook Positional Play

Rooks and positional play include things like:

  • Rooks Prefer Open Positions
  • Rooks Act from a Distance
  • Rooks on Open Files
  • Doubled Rooks
  • Rook Battery
  • Keep Rooks at Home Early
  • Rook Outpost

Knights and Positional Play

Knights and their positional themes:

Bishops and Positional Play

Bishops in positional play include:

Queens in Positional Chess

Queens in positional play include:

King Positional Play

King positional aspects:

Tactical Elements

Some types of tactical concepts are also important in positional play:

Related Chess Tactics

Read more about these related chess strategies: