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Modern Ideas in Chess by Richard Rèti

8. Close Positions

We have seen that Steinitz in his scheme of play endeavoured, contrary to Morphy, to bring about a close game. We have also learnt that Morphy principle, based on the quick development of pieces, is the correct one only in open positions. After that had been grasped the next problem with which players were confronted in the period of scientific chess was to discover principles upon which close positions could be dealt with. To have discovered such principles, deeper and more numerous as they were than those relating to development in open positions, is due to Steinitz. The latter, again unlike Morphy, set forth his thoroughly revolutionary discoveries concerning chess technique in books on theory, and also in his analysis of games. He became thereby the founder of a school of chess which, till a few years ago, was, generally speaking, the leading one. Steinitz discerned that in close positions the development of pieces was not of first importance but that certain continuing positional characteristics were so. These are shown by the available material in pieces on the board and by the structural appearance. His discoveries are far too comprehensive to permit of their being fully set out here. But in order to afford some conception of his ideas I give two of the games which show frequently occurring instances of the employment of those positional characteristics already referred to.