Thursday, January 11, 2007

The missing link

Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knight: Underpromoted Knight!!

If I reshuffle de things I have found so far, I get the following list:

A. Tactics
A1. Trap (one target)
  • Special case: mate
A2. Duplo attack (two targets)
  • Double attack
  • Skewer
  • Pin
  • Discovered attack
  • Break communication
  • etc.

B. Positional
B1. Piece activity (80%)
  • Outpost
  • Weak square
  • Weak color complex
  • Open file
  • Open diagonal
  • Active bishop
B2. Target creation. (5%)
  • Trade
  • Minority attack
  • Backward pawn
B3. Favourable endgame (10%)
  • Double pawn
  • Isolani
  • Pawn islands
  • Bad/good bishop
  • Bad/good knight
  • Bishops of different color
  • (outside) Passer
B4. Rest (5%)

Once you see that the main goal in the opening and the middlegame (and even the endgame!) is piece activity, it becomes evident that it is nonsense to see tactics and positional play as opposite. The are complementory. If the pieces become active enough, tactics become inevitable. Of course there are sometimes tactics when the pieces are passive, but that's always because of a blunder.

So the idea of MDLM to let play two computer personalities against each other, a tactical one and a positional one, is utterly nonsense. The more active your pieces are, the more CHANCE that there are tactics around. That's why there are no tactics at move one.

If one talks about a tactical style of play or a positional style, often a love for open or closed positions is meant. With an open position, both sides have probably active pieces, hence tactical chances. In a closed game, the pieces can't be very active because they are hindered by the pawns. The tactics are more dosed.


  1. ... nonsense to see tactics and positional play as opposite ... - exactly!

  2. I always find it funny when people think 1.d4 or any 'positional' game was somehow wimpy or quiet. it's obvious those people just don't realize the crushing power that gets built up, and then released with devastating effect. it's like a tsunami on open sea, hardly noticeable, but when it hits the shore it's already too late to run.

  3. Tempo,
    Not sure if you are taking part in Corus this year, but if you are, I wish you the best of luck. Huzzah!

  4. Pale,
    thx! I'm participating in the 9 round event, which starts at jan 19th.