Monday, January 15, 2007

Looking back looking forward

About 8 years ago I started with chess after a break of nearly 20 years. I read quite a pile of books from Euwe. That was the first time I encountered information about positional play. I tried to apply the advice of Euwe in my games, which for 90% didn't work. When I obtained the bishoppair after a long struggle of 20 moves, meanwhile deteriorating my position, I had to flee for his omnipresent knights to protect my precious pair. Most of the time I could only make a move or two before I lost the pair.
If I tried to make a plan, that was simply ridiculous! If my opponent wasn't willing to cooperate, how on earth could I implement a plan? Where is the ship going, when there are two captains that steer by turns for 5 minutes?
That lead me to the conclusion that it was way too early for positional play.
So I forgot all this stuff and just started to play. Accepting any position as a given fact, only influenced by the position of the planets and the rating of my opponent.

I'm always very focussed on what I'm doing. Which means that I have a great power to ignore things that I consider irrelevant for the moment. The upside is that I can go really deep, the downside is that I miss the wide view.

I got acquinted with the idea's of prof. de Groot about pattern recognition and I read that chess = 99% tactics. And so I decided to give tactics a shot. Initially with great success.
At the moment I have reached the limit of what I can do about tactics.
So I have to apologize to the readers of this blog. This blog will in the future not be about MDLM, the circles or about tactics. That lies behind me. It was a great success, it was big fun and it brought me 250 ratingpoints.
Now the time is ripe for the next step.
I will continue to post about chess improvement though.

Allthough I read about positional play in the books of Euwe, I have never thought about it myself. That may sound very strange, but that is my way of focussing. When I read his books, I was absorbing HIS information. I tried to implement HIS advice. When I do so, I ignore my own thoughts. To prevent that they interfere and that I miss something.
But now is the time that I'm going to think for myself. I have seen 100K beautiful tactical combinations the past 3.5 years, so those don't distract me anymore in a position.
I started a few weeks ago to think for myself. About positional play that is.

Thusfar I have found already the main clue in all positional planning: piece activity.
The nice thing is that piece activity isn't contradictory to tactics. So my efforts in that area aren't down the drain. I can even continue to play gambits, if I like to do so, since gambits are about piece activity too.
What I expect though is that I will try to focus on "steerability" of the game.
In a way a gambit does that too. In the KG means 2.f4: I steer away from the Ruy and the Italian, and you are going to have a rough ride.
But a rough ride is double edged. A rough ride means your opponent doesn't steer but you don't steer either.
I don't know to if it is possible to steer a game, but it probably means that you must rule out tactics to a certain degree.
That is, you have to keep lines closed until it is favourable to open them.
The coming weeks (years?) I will be busy to study this subject.
I'll keep you informed.


  1. The I will already place you on the graduates list. For you have graduated from the MDLM program have you not? Some may say, you have surpassed even that program. 70,000 CTS problem solved is no small feat after all.


  2. Yes, I think Tempo has earned his spot. And then some. He is a tactical monster.

  3. Ok, ok, I give in. Yes, I have done the 7 circles with 3 different datasets: TCT (ca 1500); Renko (ca 1353) and CTS (ca 10,000)

  4. Welcome Tempo among us graduates. (I have decorated your name in my sidebar with a star.) And never forget for your lifetime: Positional play is TACTICS PLUS POSITIONAL PLAY, in this order, of course.

  5. very smart stuff. i have pre-eminent confidence in you and what you will do. always a charm to visit, and never, ever unrewarked, boring, or lacking in provocation! warmly, dk