Finding my way in the chessdevelopment- and training jungle in order to improve my rating.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Good for you!
From time to time during my blog "career" readers gave comments like "we have to agree we disagree", "success with your approach", "good for you!" or "it obviously works fine for you". Now I see that at such moments my rantings have gone too far and that it's time to elaborate on the topics at hand. Today is such moment. My plan is to reformulate my idea's in the hope it becomes more clear. At the end I will go thru some specific questions of Blue Devil to see if they are covered by my essay.
What I try to accomplish. Usually the positions in my games arise by accident, as far as I'm concerned. In order to give my games some direction, I try to formulate a general scheme of a game. If I will be able to play according that scheme is a different matter. From time to time I'm filling in a piece of the total chesspuzzle. Today I will try to formulate how a specific found piece fits in the total framework. It is meant to help my chess thinking.
Disclaimer. The biggest problem in our communication is the difference in interpretation of terms. I will try to exclude confusion as much as possible by defining terms. I will try to avoid to stretch definitions beyond the edge of usefulness too. For instance I can think of a definition of tactics that makes the statement "chess is tactics" true. But I think that such definition isn't usefull any longer. I feel not bound to any definition, but use definitions only for the sake of clarity.
The opening. At the first move it is impossible to threaten something. Nor can you invade something. Actually I don't like the term invasion, because it has already a specific meaning in tactics. Originally I used the term penetration. But since that leads to stories about double penetration and so on I was hesitant to attract the wrong people to my blog. Thus I stretched the definition of invasion somewhat by meaning every square in the enemy camp where you can put a piece which can't be chased away easy and which disrupt the enemy lines. For instance a knight outpost on d6 is such invasion square. The goal of the opening is to activate your pieces. Once a piece is placed on a square from where it attacks squares in the enemy camp the piece has become active.
The middlegame. Different things can happen in the middlegame. But I think the main goal can be formulated as you have to try to reach a winning complex tactical middlegame position. There is another possibility, that is reaching a favourable endgame. For the sake of reasoning I don't want to talk about endgames. For now.
Why tactical? I define tactics as: the gain of wood or the mating of the opponents king. Usually the wood is won because it is given to prevent made. If wood is given otherwise, it usually is an accident. For the sake of reasoning I don't want to talk about accidents. For now.
Why complex? If the gain of wood is simple, it usually concerns accidents. Okay, I will say a little about accidents. A whole spectrum of tactics is based around accidents. There are two variations: the trap and the duplo attack. With or without prepatory moves. They all have in common that the opponent has to coöperate to let it happen. When Knights Errant improve, they usually improve in exactly this area of accidental tactics. But that is not what I want to talk about. For now. I'm talking about situations where the opponent doesn't coöperate and there is still a possibility to work towards a forced win. These are complex positions by nature.
Why winning? I noticed that the winning positions have certain things in common.
Okay, I have narrowed the scope drastically by excluding endgames and by excluding accidental tactics. Now what?
Let me first introduce a few terms that I plan to use. When a piece hasn't moved yet it is on its initial square. When the piece is on a square in its own camp and points to squares in the enemy camp the piece has moved to its home square. When a piece forms a bridge head in the enemy camp it stands on an invasion square. The road from the home square to the invasion square is called the pathway. When a piece stands on its home square and the pathway is free the piece is called active.
It can happen that every piece of you is on a home square and every piece of you is active and that there is still no way to come any further. It looks you can only move your pieces from home to home, remaining active. The contact with the enemy camp is still somewhat sterile. Every threat of you is simply met. To force matters there is only one way: you have to invade into hostile territory. Only then you can cause havoc in the enemy camp, breaking the communication lines between enemy pieces and to impede internal regroupings. Only then forcing lines and threats can come into existance. This actual invasion I call plan bhèta. The tactical struggle that preliminates the occupation of the invasionsquare I call plan alpha. You see all tactical motifs in the implementation of plan alpha. And they are often difficult to find. Time and again I see this plan alpha and bhèta. The 90+ winning complex tactical middlegame positions from both Polgar's book and Renko's CD I have investigated show these plans in 100% of the cases. Which is not the same as to say that when you occupy an invasion square you win in 100% of the cases, as Svensp pointed out. But if you are winning, you seem to follow these lines all the time. Just being active or just threathening something is from too great a distance. You must have a closer contact to hostile territory. That is where invasion squares come in.
When you have a general idea of plan bhèta, you can work from the opening on towards this idea. Because only when your pieces converge to specific squares you have a chance to outnumber your opponents pieces on the invasion squares. Right now I look for tendencies in plan alpha.
So far my findings. Its all still in its infancy of course, but I hope you get the idea. Now let's have a look at
Blue Devils questions and remarks.
Finding an invasion square is to find a particular threat that you can work toward. This fits in fine with the abridged process.
Of course it fits in with the abridged process. The threat of occupying an invasion squares is a threat too. Yet I think it is useful to distinct it from the more common threats. I hope I have made clear why. Actually the real deal starts with plan gamma.
So you stand by Tempo's Thesis, and don't think finding an invasion square is reducible to some mixture of threats and piece activity.
It is reducible to that, but I think it really adds something to call it plan alpha.
I just don't see why finding an invasion square, even if it is extremely important for transitioning toward the end of a game, isn't a special case of threats plus activity (as I've previously defined activity).
It is. But there is a difference between being active from your home square or being active from an invasion square. The impact differs. Besides that I tend to believe that struggle for the invasion square is unavoidable in such positions, when you exclude tactical accidents and endgame concerns. So why not make it explicit?
Me: I thought we aimed toward mate.
I place the mate somewhere between gamma and omega.
So I introduce a distinction between threats, threats, threats and threats (and accidental threats). Threats from the home position which are not killing, threats from the alpha phase which are the prelimanary fightings for outnumbering on the invasion square and clearing the pathway to the invasion square, the actual threat to occupy the invasion square and the threats that arise from the occupation of the invasion square. O yes, and accidental threats which are the bane of the casual Knight Errant. But indeed, it are all threats.