Wednesday, August 08, 2007


In complex positions there are thickets of variants, where it is very easy to get confused and to lose your trail. I'm convinced that in this area the biggest difference between the amateur and the grandmaster is made. Take for instance the beautiful position below.

White to move and win.
If white moves 1.d6 there are 7 plausible moves for black that have to be investigated. None of these lines is very complicated. Yet I find it extremely difficult to get an overview of the position. That has to do with the fact that almost every line has a quite different winning mechanism. So you can hardly use the information that you obtained in one line in another line. The main principle at work is overloading though.

I know the position isn't that difficult and I bet that a grandmaster sees it as not difficult. It is my own generated confusion that is the problem here. So what I am going to do is to tell myself narratives about every single line of the position until the confusion dissolves. Even if it takes me days. I must find the cause of my confusion and find the technique how to dissolve it.


  1. With endings a modified decomposition process works.

    Eg, If you want to understand K+2P vs K+P, first understand the endings it could decompose into. eg, K+P vs K+P, K+2P vs K, K+P vs K, K+Q vs K+P, and K+Q vs K. Also, if one particular K+2P vs K ending is too hard, try to understand similar ones that are easier for you to grasp.

  2. LF,
    how would you translate your idea to this position?

  3. I wouldn't--I look at tactical scenarios differently. I see the knight on a4 and bishop on b7 are hanging. I also see the queen is overworked defending the back rank and the f6 bishop.

    If I could play d7 immediately, Qxd7 is almost forced and then Qf4 win a bishop or knight. But, I have to play d6 first and that gives Black a tempo to protect them or trade pieces.

    Black protects his bishop -
    1.d6 Bg7 2.Bxg7 Kxg7 3. Qd4+ (winning a knight)
    1.d6 Bh8 2.Bxf7+ Kxf7 (forced) 3.Qb3 (mate follows)

    Black trades pieces -
    1.d6 Bxf3 2.Bxf7+! (2...Kxf7? 3.Qb3 mate follows) 2...Kh8 3.Qxf3 (up a pawn and bishop pair, Black's king is cornered, his knight/bishop still hang, and his rook/queen are lined up on a diagonal--more material will be won in the next couple moves).

    Black protects his knight -
    1.d6 Nc5 2. ... - I'm stuck. That knight move is strong, defending b3/d7/e6.

  4. Wow, my tactical analysis is uh-gly! While these lines win the material that I expected, White has much better moves he can play.

  5. This one is very difficult for me because the moves are not forcing. This makes the variations very bush like instead of tree like. I find that much tougher to deal with.

    I actually don't know if this is the right idea or not:

    1. d6 Nc5 2. Ne5 Ne6 ( Bxe5 Qxe5 wins easily) 3. Nxf7 threatening Nxd8 and Bxe6

    1. d6 Bc6 2. Ne5 Be8 3. d7 Bxd7 4. Nxf7