Finding my way in the chessdevelopment- and training jungle in order to improve my rating.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
The fine art of pruning
If you look at the web, you see mainly two schools of chess, who consider themselves opposite to each other. I'm talking about the tactical or strategical approach to chess.
The tactical afficionados belief in the geniality of mankind and see a tactical move as one of the highest creative outings of the human mind. These guys have a romantic image of mankind.
The strategical afficionados think that chess is actually too difficult for mankind. They realize that no one can oversee the full impact and length of all variations of a complex combinational move. Hence they feel it as an act of gambling to make such moves. Since they hate risk, they prefer to keep the game as simple and surveyable as possible. They tend to accumulate little advantages and try to condense them to a win.
Capablanca is an exponent of the strategical school. Basically he always moves forward, denying the opponent as much space as possible. If an enemy piece hinders him, he trades it off. But he never goes back. When he sees a favourable ending, he trades the queens and he goes for it.
The technique of Capablanca gives the strategical inclined the idea that it is possible to steer the game in a direction that they want it. For Karpov it was more satisfying to win a game by having steered well than by gambling with tactical moves. The chess tree has a sheer unlimited amount of branches. Every move cuts off possibilities, prunes one or more branches. Capablanca thought that wise pruning on both sides would always lead to a draw in the end. In the past century that idea isn't proven. On the contrary, when you look nowadays, you often see the chopping of savages. The super GM of today is pragmatic and takes the best of both worlds.