20 Dec Outpost Squares – A Complete Guide
An outpost square is a square that cannot be attacked by the opponent’s pawn as it is protected by a pawn, usually on the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th rank. Outpost is a square that players can launch attacks from, predominantly using a knight.
An outpost is usually on a semi open file.
This square is usually a safe and typically advanced square for a piece. Here, advanced meaning the 5th rank or beyond.
Generally, the opponent finds it difficult to trade or chase away a piece that is positioned on an outpost square. The opponent can try to trade a piece for the square but usually this trade is a bad trade or the opponent sacrifices a piece for this square.
Outposts are not necessarily only for knights, since knights are short range pieces, they are stronger when placed on an outpost. The outpost is usually on a, c, d, e or f file, and controls the central part of the board.
In this example, the knight on c4 is on an outpost square. It is attacking the pawn on b6 and is also defending the pawn on e5. It is also difficult to attack or trade this knight as it is strategically positioned and protected by a pawn.
How to Create an Outpost?
Post every pawn move, there is usually a weak square left, these pawns need to be protected by other pieces. The intention is to eliminate these protecting pieces in order to create a weak square for your opponent that can later be occupied.
You can also create an outpost by attempting to force your opponent to move his or her pawns.
How to Play Around an Outpost?
The main idea is to undermine an outpost, that is instead of trying to attack it immediately, try to build pressure on and around the outpost.
For example, in the position above, Rook on the file to d8 would build a good amount of pressure on the white bishop on d5. If you plan on pushing a piece away then the player must be prepared for a bade exchange or trade.
In some cases, in order to undermine an outpost, the player has to allow his/her opponent to creates a passed pawn.
An outpost restricts the opponent’s move options and promotes the formation of weaknesses. The most important use of an outpost is to use it as a base to develop attacks, much like an outpost used by a military. An outpost square can also be used to transfer pieces to another part of the board.
Aron Nimzovich introduced this concept to the world in his book ‘My System’ where he said that a strategically important point should have more defenders than attackers. He also wrote that overprotecting of a squares and pieces strengthens the position and makes the square more valuable.
Outpost exerts permanent pressure on your opponent’s territory that is very difficult to get rid off. This also helps to block the opponents open files and allows the controller of the outpost to dominate the position. The concept is slightly complicated to teach and study but as the concept gets cleared, the creation of an outpost proves to be extremely useful in game play to attain better positions.