Saturday, September 01, 2007

Hanging in the right place

Update: I have just replaced the word motive with motif in all my posts. Hattip to Blue Devil.

After gathering a lot of new information lately, it is time to attempt to hang everything in the right place.

I have investigated 83 complex tactical positions and in 100% of the cases an invasion square was involved. A stepping stone from which you can cause mayhem in the enemy lines once you penetrate.

Of course there are tactical positions where the invasion square doesn't play a role. Those positions are called simple tactical positions:)

Balance of attackers and defenders.
The essence of a complex tactical position is the battle for the invasion square. Each invasion square has attackers and defenders. The attacker tries to disturb the balance between the attackers and the defenders. He can work on the defenders or on the attackers. Sometimes both. The value of the defenders compared to the value of the attackers plays an important role.

Working on the defenders.
In order to diminish the amount of defenders there are 4 possibilities:
  • Chase the defender away
  • Trade the defender off
  • Deflect the defender
  • Cut off the defender
There are no other possibilities.
The first two options are easy to see. For the third we need the famous overloaded piece as defender, which is harder to see.

Working on the attackers.
In order to increase the amount of attackers:
  • Just add one
  • Clearance of the road that gives access to the invasion square
  • Use the invasion square as the second target in any duplo attack like a skewer, a pin, a double attack and a discovered attack (hard to see). The first target is a piece (or another invasion square).
If you are preparing for an attack you always have to watch out for a counterattack in stead of a defensive move from your opponent.

I'm going to put these idea's to the test. I'm specially interested in how the other tactical motifs relate to this core idea.


  1. Under working on the defenders there is a motif that I'm not sure you have covered. Maybe it falls under one of your categories already. It may be called "cutting off". I'm sure you have seen it and are familiar with it. It's where you put a piece in the line of a defender so that it's cut off from the invasion square. I know that John Nunn talks about this in his book Secrets of Practical Chess (I think you have this book).

  2. Loomis,
    thx, you're quite right. I corrected the post. I already had a nagging feeling about it.

  3. i think another name for it is interference. some of the interference problems are very interesting.

  4. Hi Tempo, I see a fifth possibility: pinning a defender.


    I imagine Marshall's last move is perhaps the most famous example of an invasion square.