Monday, August 13, 2007

A general scheme starts to unfold

Somalian warrior overload.

Today I have been busy with the next problem (387) and guess what, invasion and overload of the queen are the main theme's again! Maybe that is not so strange. To improve piece activity is the main method of the middlegame. When the piece activity culminates into invasion or the thread of invasion in the near future, tactical blows start to manifest. And when there is a defender, often a queen, that is overloaded, tricks arise. Often the piece is not overloaded by protecting other pieces alone, but must it protect against invasion too. The latter is much harder to see.

These higher level structures are revealed by narratives. It means you must not stop when you have a narrative that describes the line only, but you must describe how it all came about.

I noticed that looking at the new discovered themes (invasion and overload) makes the position looking more simple. In stead of generating a list with random moves that look nice, and that you test with trial and error (typical for the amateur), you ask yourself "what moves are needed for an invasion?", "what can he do to prevent it?". This gives much more structure in your candidates list. Hence it eases the tasks for your short term memory.


  1. I love that picture.

    Alot of winning chess is forcing your opponent into situations where he must do two things at once to remain even. Most times this can't be accomplished in a single move.

    overloading, double attack, fork , discovered check fall in to this category.

    Perhaps we should ask ourselves, What about the structure of the position does not allow your opponent to perform all the duties required of him?

  2. Tak,
    you are right that it is about having two defensive tasks and only one move to perform them. In that sense there is no difference between overloading, double attack, fork , and discovered check which all fall in the same category.

    But from these, the double attack, fork and discovered attack are often pretty easy to spot. I'm talking about complex tactical situations, and I notice a tendency that they contain an overload problem which is difficult to spot. The dificulty is often that the overloaded piece has to defend an empty square too, which is hard to see.

    In my post from two years ago, I formulated the question as:

    "which enemy piece bears the most responsibilities, has the most important function?"

  3. One reason the Phase 5 CTB problems are so hard for me is that they contain many overload problems, where there is a sometimes subtle removal of the guard (and it is often just guarding a square, not a piece). Explaining each solution has helped me see this.

    The hardest problems for me, even after seeing the solution, are the K/P endgames. There are lots of many Pawn varieties now, and I am finding it very helpful to struggle, force myself to try to understand the solution. There is, of course, lots of ineliminable calculation and counting with such problems, but there are many principles too (many of the problems have pawns on opposite sides of the board, which involve new sneaky king maneuvers).

    I wonder how different Chess Middlegame Encyclopedia is from papa Polgar's book you are using? Tacticus Maximus has a new post about the former: it sounds like it categorizes each problem by theme, whereas Polgar's does not?