Monday, September 17, 2018

After 1. Ng4

Maintaining the initiative is a method for pruning when you think forwards. In the previous post I was reminded that we must think backwards first. Backwards thinking starts at the end of the line: the targets.

There are four potential targets:
  • King
  • Queen
  • d8Q
  • Bishop

In the diagram of the previous post, we couldn't discover anything that signals that we should start with 1. Ng4. This means that we can only find 1. Ng4 by trial and error in combination with luck. If you are lucky you find 1. Ng4 within a few minutes. If you are not lucky you can think for days on end.

That is of course the horror scenario that we want to prevent. That is why I start the analysis now after 1. Ng4. If we can determine fully what is going on after 1. Ng4, then we might be able to find out how that is telephoned to the position before 1. Ng4.

BLACK to move (after 1. Ng4)

Case A
No matter what black does, 2. Nxf6 wins.
Except for two scenarios:
  • 1. ... Qxd7 (A1)
  • Bishop moves to anywhere but stays in contact with the promotion square d8 (A2)
The power of 2. Nxf6 is based on the following:
  • It captures the only defender of the promotion square
  • It defends pawn d7
Ad A1
  • it removes the promotion threat
  • it attacks the rook
Ad A2
  • It saves the bishop
  • Hence the promotion square remains defended

Case B
No matter what black does, 2. Rg8+ wins.
Except for three scenarios:
  • Queen moves to a square where it is in contact with d8 (B1)
  • Queen moves to a square where it is in contact with the bishop (B2)
  • Bishop moves to anywhere but stays in contact with the promotion square d8 (B3)
The power of the rook sac is that it supports 3. Nxf6+ with tempo

Ad B1
When the Queen is defending the promotion square, we cannot sac the rook since the rook is needed to protect the promotion square.

Ad B2
When the Queen defends the bishop, we cannot sac the rook since the rook is needed to protect the promotion square after for instance 1. ... Qf5 2. Rg8+ Kxg8 3. Nxf6+ Qxf6

Ad B3
  • It saves the bishop
  • Hence the promotion square remains defended
  • Hence f6 has an additional defender 
What can we learn from all this? 

UPDATE
The bishop as such isn't a target in this position. Play d8, and you will win it. But you will find out de power of blacks a-pawn. You probably must sac a piece back to stop it.

That leaves us with the K, Q or d8Q as potential targets.

A target must be either immobile OR part of a duplo attack. Otherwise it will escape.
The natural target of this position seems to be the promotion square. There is nothing more immobile than a promotion square at a moves distance.

There seems no more unnatural move than 1. Ng4, since it abandons the main trump of white. So what's the power of 1.Ng4 ?

Although it abandons the pawn, it poses a threat. The bishop is the defender of d8. When it is captured, promotion becomes possible.

Black can take the d-pawn, but that "schlucks" up a tempo.

When the pawn is gone, the promotion square stops to be a target. So we are in need of a either one new immobile target OR two targets for a duplo attack.

For me this is a total new way of thinking (system II) with total new patterns (are you awake, system I?).

It is a new pruning method. You look for one immobile target OR two targets for a duplo attack. There is nothing else. There can't be. You can abandon a target only with tempo. But you must know what your new target(s) are. Everything else can safely be pruned as being not potential viable.

If black decides to NOT take on d7, only moves that relate to d8 OR the bishop are relevant. Other moves can't influence the threat. Hence they can be pruned from the tree of analysis without further worrying.

Let us grow a brain for target awareness AND tempo's!!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Determining the targets

The initiative is a mighty pair of pruning shears for the tree of analysis. But it isn't right to start with the initiative. The initiative works forward. We have proven in this blog time and again, that we need to think backwards first. Aox remembered us to that with his description of his ideal approach to a problem, in his comment on the previous post. We need to start with the targets. Otherwise we will not get anywhere. What questions should we ask to get the right targets and the right attacking square from this position?


 diagram 1. White to move


2R5/3P1pkp/5bp1/1q2N3/p7/6BP/5PPK/8 w - - 1 1

[solution]


Monday, September 10, 2018

Preliminary moves

Just when you start to think you are making progress, you stumble on a position where everything you have invented so far can be thrown out of the window. Or at least it seems so. We talked about this position before (June 3, 2017). Can the tree of analysis be pruned by the mighty shears of the initiative here?


 diagram 1. White to move


2R5/3P1pkp/5bp1/1q2N3/p7/6BP/5PPK/8 w - - 1 1

[solution]

UPDATE
Our system I is not so well developed that we recognize the knight fork direct from the beginning. Nor will we be able to develop our system I to that degree. That is what this blog has proven. But can we reach the same solution by applying simple means? Like simple reasoning and the rules for the initiative?

If there is nothing forcing in this position, then we can never force the end combination. Hence there must some force be applied. When we have found a move or two, our system I may find it easier to kick in and reveal the knight fork.
Let's give it a try.

The first thing that must be recognized, is that the immediate promotion is leading us nowhere. Black must give up his bishop, but it might well turn out that we have to sac a piece back to prevent the black a-pawn from promotion.

Then, what is the target?
Both the king and the queen are too volatile to be a target. The most logical target is the promotion of the d-pawn. I consider promotion as a gain of wood, and not different from capturing a queen. d8 is the target. The bishop will try to sac himself to prevent the promotion. The bishop is partly immobile due to his function. This means that the first try must be to deter the bishop from the diagonal OR to trade him off.

1. Ng4 enhances the immobility from both the bishop and the king. 
The logical reaction is 1. ... Be7
It is easy to see that after 2. Be5+ the trade of the bishops cannot be prevented.

The other try is 1. ... Qxd7

With one target in place and an immobile king on the board, our system I has way more chance to recognize the fork from this stepping point.

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Additional punch

From the previous post:


Additional punch
Your moves must have an additional punch. An example of an additional punch is:

  • a duplo attack
  • an attack against an immobile target
  • a desperado
  • an intermezzo move
Moves with no additional punch can be pruned from the tree of analysis.

Hypothesis:

All moves in the main lines in the past few posts obey to this rule. Both yours as the opponents' moves must have an additional punch. The moment your opponent can't keep up and he is left with only moves without an additional punch, he will lose wood or he will be mated.

This means that we have here a gigantic pair of pruning shears which will be able to prune the tree of analysis in a drastical way. Before I'm going to investigate this hypothesis, I must elaborate on the term additional punch a bit more.

Duplo action move 
Duplo attack is too limited, since it only is about the function of attacking. Duplo action is a much broader term, which comprises defensive moves too.

Definition: a duplo action move is a move that requires at least two actions or one duplo action move from the opponent to answer.

Immobile target
A target can be immobile in a few different ways:
  • due to lack of space
  • due to a function that cannot be abandoned
The immobility makes that the opponent needs at least one extra action to free himself. Only a duplo action move can free him without the loss of a tempo.

Desperado
A desperado action is usually a capture with an additional threat. In fact it is a duplo action move. The opponent needs a duplo action move to answer:
  • The desperado must be recaptured
  • There must be an additional threat
Otherwise the opponent loses a tempo.

Intermezzo
An intermezzo move is, just like the desperado, just another instance of a duplo action move.

Lets have a look at the first diagram of the past posts.


Diagram 1. Black to move

r3k3/p4p1p/4p1r1/2p1n3/4nN1Q/P1PqP2P/3B2P1/2R2R1K b q - 1 1

[solution]

1. ... Ng3+
  • action 1: check
  • action 2: attack rook

2. Kg1
  • action 1: save the king
  • action 2: loses a tempo

2. ... Qxd2
  • action 1: capture the bishop
  • action 2: loses a tempo
Notice that black can afford to lose a tempo when white does so first

3. Nxg6
  • action 1: take a rook
  • action 2: threaten mate
3. ... Qxe3+
  • action 1: check
  • action 2: defend the knight
4. Kh2
  • action 1: save the king
  • action 2: lose a tempo
4. ... Nxf1+
  • action 1: take a rook
  • action 2: check
Notice how white can't keep up in move 4.
Notice how the threat of black's move 1 is executed with tempo

5. Rxf1
  • action 1: take a knight
  • action 2: lose another tempo
the final blow
5. ... Nxg6
action 1: capture the knight
action 2: defend against mate


Let's have a look at the penultimate diagram.


Diagram 2. White to move

r3rbk1/1p3ppp/2pn1qn1/p2p1b2/P2P3P/2PB1NB1/1PQNRPP1/4R1K1 w - - 1 1

[solution]

1. Rxe8
  • action 1: capture a rook
  • action 2 and 3: duplo attack against bishop and king
1. ... Rxe8
  • action 1: capture a rook
  • action 2 and 3: defend against duplo attack against bishop and king
2. Rxe8
  • action 1: capture a rook
  • action 2 and 3: duplo attack against bishop and king
2. ... Bxd3
  • action 1: capture a bishop
  • action 2: threaten queen
3. Rxf8+
  • action 1: capture bishop
  • action 2: check
3. ... Kxf8
  • action 1: capture rook
  • action 2: lose a tempo
The final blow
4. Qxd3

An earlier diagram



Diagram 3. White to move



3r2k1/5p2/1p5p/p1qb4/5R2/P1N1p1P1/1P2P2P/2Q3K1 w - - 1 1


[solution]

Let's look first at the branches that can be pruned.

1. Rg4+
Since the black king isn't immobile, the attack peters out.

1. Rf5
It is a duplo attack, but since the bishop isn't B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended), black has the time to save his queen, rook and bishop

1. b4
Since this isn't a duplo action move, black has the time to save his pieces.


The main line:

1. Qd1
  • action 1 and 2: duplo attack against B and R
  • action 3: make the bishop B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended)
1. ... Rd6
  • action 1: defend the rook
  • action 2: lose a tempo

2. Rd4
action 1 and 2: reinforce the duplo attack

2. ... Bb3
  • action 1: attacks the queen
  • action 2: attacks the rook

3. Rg4+
  • action 1: check
  • action 2: save the rook
and white can cash in the bishop.







Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Summing up

The following elements have proven to be able to act as a pair of pruning shears.
In no particular order:
  • Postponement moves
  • Additional punch
  • Losing a tempo
  • points of pressure must be B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended)
  • lines of attack as cannons
  • change of target
  • hierarchy of threats

 Postponement moves
Postponement moves are designed to solve your problems without losing the initiative (the "additional punch"). Your main threat perseveres until you have solved the counter threats against your pieces. Postponement moves which lose the initiative can be pruned from the tree of analysis.

Additional punch
Your moves must have an additional punch. An additional punch is:
  • a duplo attack
  • an attack against an immobile target
  • a desperado
  • an intermezzo move
Moves with no additional punch can be pruned from the tree of analysis.

Losing a tempo
In most problems you don't win a tempo, but your opponent loses one. We must develop a sense for that. When you opponent loses a tempo, all other lines can be pruned from the tree of analysis.

Points of pressure must be B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended)
Otherwise the lines of attack that make use of the point of pressure can be pruned from the tree of analysis. If they are bad in stead of b.a.d. it is even badder.

Lines of attack as cannons
Lines of attack can be seen as the artillery pointing in the direction of targets. Only lines of attack with additional punch deserve attention. The rest can be pruned from the tree of analysis.

Change of target
The move sequence 1. ... Ng3+ 2. Qxg3 in the previous post changes the main target (the initial cash cow) from Bd2 to Qg3. That means that the tree of analysis must be reevaluated.

Hierarchy of threats
Your punch must be harder than your opponents'. Otherwise you can prune the line from the tree of analysis.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

The battle for the initiative

The previous posts showed us that the battle for the initiative is the nec plus ultra method for pruning the tree of analysis. We must feed our vulture with simplified knowledge about the initiative. System I must assimilate the chunks that are related to the battle of the initiative. We must develop a sense for moves that give up the initiative.

The following diagram is a copy from a post of Apr 28, 2017. We discussed it there. Can you describe what is going on in this diagram in terms of the initiative?


Diagram 1. Black to move

r3k3/p4p1p/4p1r1/2p1n3/4nN1Q/P1PqP2P/3B2P1/2R2R1K b q - 1 1

[solution]

UPDATE move 1
Bishop d2 is hanging.
What is the problem if black takes it immediately?
  • Rg6 is hanging too
  • Ne4 is abandoned by the black queen
What is the problem if black doesn't take Bd2?
  • Qd3 is hanging
  • Rg6 is hanging too
Can the capture of d2 be postponed?
Postponement moves have the following characteristics:
  • They solve the problems
  • They leave the initial threat intact
  • The contain enough "punch", so they can't be ignored
The "enough punch" constraint is a great pair of pruning shears for the tree of analysis. Since the black queen is under pressure, enough punch means a check.

There are three possible checks. All other moves are out of the question.

It is not difficult to calculate which check is the best. But the question is, how far can we stretch the idea of the initiative. Can we find the best check in terms of the initiative. Can we prune two of the checks in stead of calculating them?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

REDUX problematic initiative

This diagram is a re-post from June 16, 2017.
It shows exactly why I don't make progress in chess. Back then I have pondered about this position for days. Now I tried it again, but I have forgotten almost all the details. Meaning that I don't learn anything by the way I treat such position.

I pondered about this position until system II was satisfied. System II is a logical thinking fetishist. It is satisfied with a theoretical explanation of the how of the position. That is of no use for system I, though. For system I you need a deeper understanding of the position. The how is not enough. You need an understanding of the why of the position. Why does it work? What can I learn from this position so that I can see the solution in the future within seconds? It doesn't make sense to do other puzzles when I haven't fully grasped the essence of this position. The how is totally clear by now. System II is totally satisfied. But there is still a whiff of magic hanging around this position. I can construct the solution, but I don't see it. Construction is typically something from system II. But in order to see it, matters must be simplified even more. That is what I mean by deep understanding. I'm not there yet, with this position. It doesn't make sense to go on with other positions before I have found the essence of this one. Satisfaction of system II is simply not enough. System I needs simplicity. Deep understanding sounds pretty highbrowed, but it means more simplicity.

Diagram 1. White to move
r3rbk1/1p3ppp/2pn1qn1/p2p1b2/P2P3P/2PB1NB1/1PQNRPP1/4R1K1 w - - 1 1
[solution]

UPDATE Aug 24
I see three cannons pointing at the enemy:
  • Bg3
  • Battery Qc2 Bd3
  • Battery Re1 Re2
Drawing the lines of attack reveals these canons.

Removal of the guard
Nd6 is clearly blacks most problematic piece. The immediate take of the defender doesn't work. The removal of the guard works only when you can do it with gain of tempo. It is one of the standard scenarios.

Exploiting the overloaded defender
Bxf5 doesn't work. It doesn't work because the move doesn't gain a tempo. It gives black the time to solve his problems. The white bishop doesn't threat anything from f5. That gives black the time to counter attack with Rxe2.

Main line
What baffles me the most in the main line is, where does white gain a tempo? Actually that is the wrong question. The question must be "where does black lose a tempo?".

The answer is: after Rxf8+ Nxf8. The problem is that Nxf8 (or Kxf8) has no additional punch. That gives white the time to cash in.

The vulture
I might have wanted to slaughter the vulture a bit prematurely. Apparently the vulture must get more education. It can fly for hours above this position, but it must know where to look at. My system II is so busy with its intellectual self-gratification, that it forgets to feed the poor beast.

The intellectual chunks of food are totally inedible for the vulture. System II must predigest them, taking into account the nature of the beast.

Initiative
Again the preservation of the initiative is the key to pruning the tree of analysis. I must predigest this further.