Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Building My System

Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knight Grande Merda.
May his rating be reciprocal to the rainforests!

At this moment I work my way thru "How to reassess your chess" of Jeremy Silman.
The book has a very strange tone. Silman is insulting his readers regularly. Or at least he ridiculizes them. His terminology "Silman Thinking Technique" makes a somewhat silly impression too. Because mental aberration is not uncommon under good (and bad) chessplayers I take that for granted.
There are a lot of good things in the book.

I have read a lot about positional play lately. From Silman, Seirawan, Capablanca, Nimzovitch and Karpov. They tend to give an abundance of idea's and rules. A lot of it is superfluous for players with 5 years or more experience. I mean, if I'm in check, I don't need a checklist to remind me that I have to do something about it. Or that I have to look for tactics.
If I neglect all rendundant information, strategical play boils down to three elements:

Piece mobility.
In the broadest sense this comprises creating outposts, opening lines, good vs bad vs active bishop etc..
The basic idea behind this is twofold:
Create a safe home for a piece from where it can work.
Create pathways to the enemy camp by opening lines.

Gaining space has as goal to clog up the enemy pieces. J'adoube pointed out that space is only beneficial as long as there are pieces on the board which are denied space.

Pawn structure.
Basic idea: if you trade off all pieces, is the remaining pawn endgame winning?
Besides promotion pawns can be used for piece mobility- or space-purposes, which is often in conflict with the basic idea of a good pawn endgame.
Further can weak pawns become a target of their own.

I'm going to rebuild all this within the next weeks to "Temposchluckers Silly Man Thinking Technique System"


  1. I have to be honest and point out that it was GM Baburin who actually determined that space was only important when there were a lot of pieces on the board.

    Credit due where credit earned.

  2. There is another advantage to space. Space is often achieved with pawn which will be closer to being promoted in the end game...
    I have had nice attacks interupted by the threat and material advantage made meaning less by the pawn threatening early promotion.

    You might want to mention overprotection in your positional summary. If you try it I would love to hear about your experiences with it.

  3. Phorku,
    I consciously left that out because I didn't want to make things too complicated right away, but you are right of course. When I work these things out I will mention it.

  4. dude, I am so glad to hear someone else that!!! I keep that book in my car and browse thru it whenever i have down time. I thought the exact same thing...he is insulting and and cocky as hell. I like the book cuz it gets me to thinking about things i would normally never consider but i think he comes off as sounding like a total jackass.
    Cdog out

  5. Silman is much worse in Amateurs Mind, so much so that i've vowed not to touch anything by him.

    at least HTRYC has some decent content. AM is just insulting IMO. but , to each his own.

  6. Now its my turn to tell you what you told me:

    > The trouble with following your own system is that you have no one else to blame when you fail. As I found out myself.


  7. If your opponent is not a weak player in most cases when you achieve something on the other hand you have to accept that you give away something in exchange for that. For example if you have an isolated d pawn you have more space, but you have a potential weak pawn. If all pieces are exchanged you will probably lose the game. This determines the general plans for white and black in such positions. Another point to me seems that I often do not know the right plan. I just have no idea. There are positions that I do understand and a lot that I do not understand. If I understand what to do I play much stronger and everything seems very clear to me. If not and there is no tactics in the position I just make moves. And I am not able of finding a plan in such positions. There are chess books on strategy written by much stronger chess players and as consequence with more accurate and insightful comments. But Silman is good in teaching weak players how to think to find some form of reasonable plan. A least that is my impression after reading half the way through “The Amateurs Mind”. Of course you have to train that just as tactics. So does anybody know a book with 1000 positional chess puzzles :-) ?

  8. Space.. the final frontier... to boldly go where.... wait wrong space.

    Years ago I got more out of Nimzovitch than the Silman, the insulting chess coach. I've read about Zebra's and Tigers and how to chose a move. But it does seem to all boil down to the star trek thing... the Space- time- continuem. Meaning, Knowing how to gain and control space, getting your pieces deployed in timely manner in active locations, and having them all work together.

    Thinking strategies, I read somewhere that this is what you practice while training. During the actual game, you just do it.

  9. Reborn,
    PCT has 720 positional problems of good quality.

  10. Blunder,
    I just found out that space is just another element of piece mobility in its broadest sense.