Tuesday, November 21, 2006

You can only catch a duck when it is sitting

Law of J'adoube: tactics flow natural from good positions. But what is a good position asked Nezha? In order to find out, I did some experiments today.

Most opponents of equal strenght are about equal in tactical skills. If they are not, one can outwit the other. The only thing that is needed is a complex position. No matter if it is better or worse. That's why a better player can give a knight beforehand and still win the game.

If you are of equal strength, and of equal tactical ability, you can win if you have for instance superior endgame skills. In that case you need a quiet position that is likely to trade off pieces and reach an endgame.

If all skills are equal, tactical, positional, endgame and the like, then a good position would make the difference.

Today I let two engines play together: Toga II and SOS. From those is Toga to be known as the stronger engine. Toga won all regular games.
I think that a better position is related to the amount of space every piece has. If both pieces have equal space, usually every threat can be met.
The amount of space that is available to both your opponents and your own pieces, is regulated by the pawns. They form the landscape which is the background of the battle.

To proof my hypothesis I let Toga II and SOS battle from the following position:

diagram 1

It is different from the initial position because I didn't want a capture at move one. I tried different scenario's, but they all ended in a draw. No matter who was the first to move.

Hypothesis of Temposchlucker:
Positions with no pawns and equal material tend to draw.

It are the pawns that form a good position by restricting the pieces. You can only catch a duck when it is sitting.
In the mean time J'adoube had a revelation that within the same pawn structure pieces can be placed good or bad.


  1. I think I discovered that certain pawn structures requires certain pieces to be in certain locations.

    I'm not sure what makes a good position yet. I know that in the White pawn structure with the isolani, a Rook on e1, Bishop on b1 or b3, Queen d3 and Knight on e5 is almost always good. That position can support the Rook lift to e3, the Queen transfer to the g file, the h pawn march, play down the c file or play down the e file with the d5 pawn break - it all depends on how Black is defending as to which one you choose.

    Of course, this is only for d4 openings. I haven't even begun to explore all the positions for e4 openings. That will come in another year or so. [grin]

  2. I think the main reason for the draw is not «landscape» but the fact that no side can make a new queen.

  3. Mouse,
    I tried it with only pawns: that was a draw too:)