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In chess, “active” refers to a piece that is well-positioned to influence the game. An active piece has the potential to control key squares, threaten the opponent’s pieces, or contribute to an attack.

Similar terms: dynamic, influential, controlling, threatening, attacking, powerful, dominant, strong, aggressive, assertive

Why is Active important?

Active pieces are crucial in chess because they give you more control over the board. Active pieces can limit your opponent’s options, create threats, and help you execute your strategy.

Conversely, inactive pieces are less useful and can hinder your progress.

Examples of Active

  1. A rook on an open file, controlling key squares and ready to penetrate the opponent’s position.
  2. A knight in the center of the board, threatening multiple enemy pieces and limiting their mobility.
  3. A bishop that has a clear diagonal, putting pressure on the opponent’s position.

How to Make Pieces Active

  1. Develop your pieces towards the center of the board in the opening.
  2. Look for opportunities to place your pieces on squares where they control key lines and diagonals.
  3. Use your pawns to create open files and diagonals for your pieces.
  4. Avoid placing your pieces on squares where they can be easily attacked or blocked by enemy pawns.
  5. Constantly re-evaluate your pieces’ activity and look for ways to improve their position.

Famous examples of Active pieces

  1. In the “Game of the Century” between Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer (1956), Fischer’s queen became incredibly active, dominating the board and ultimately winning the game.
  2. In the “Immortal Game” between Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky (1851), Anderssen’s bishops and queen became very active, creating a powerful attack that led to a brilliant sacrificial victory.

The importance of balance

While having active pieces is important, it’s also crucial to maintain a balance between activity and safety. Overextending your pieces can leave them vulnerable to attacks or lead to positional weaknesses.

Always consider the trade-offs between activity and security when positioning your pieces.

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