Thursday, September 27, 2007


Today I finished The Art Of Attack by Vukovic. I decided to analyze my latest games again in order to see if I'm on the right track with my study. One of the questions I wanted to have answered was "Since I did a lot of simple tactics and it didn't help me to get better at complex tactics I dismissed it as not usefull. But if I do the simple tactics with the aid of narratives, will it then help me to get better at complex tactics?"
So I did a few simple tactics with the aid of narratives and I started to analyze my latest games to get a feeling if I could solve the problems in my game by means of such study. I clearly got the feeling that that is not sufficient. But I made another discovery.

This is a crucial position in one of my games.

Black (me) to move and not lose.

This is a complex middlegame position, and there are a lot of tactical things going on. But I don't know if there is a win. So I gambled on Nh5. IF I can't calculate this position until quiescence AND there is no win AND I don't know that AND I have to move at a certain moment THEN I gamble. This time I gambled wrong. But after reading the book of Vukovic, it was evident in a glance, that Nh5 is not good. Black has committed himself to a kingside attack. The pawns have already moved forward. But one of the preconditions of a kingside attack is to prevent a counter attack in the center or at the queenside. With 1. ... Nh5? 2.fxe4 Nxg3? 3.exd5 black gets the mess he could expect. Since the black king is exposed his kingide attack immediatley comes to a hold and white takes over.

Based on this game, my reasoning was "I lost since I couldn't handle the mess". Which convinced me to study messy situations. But when black plays 1.exf3 himself, he can avoid a lot of the mess, since that leaves the center still blocked more or less.

So deep study of messy positions leads to narratives that are very positional and reading about positional information learns that it is better to avoid messy situations. Why do I always have the feeling that I go round and round in circles?

Which encourages me to ask again: does anybody know a good book or article about "centralization" or "the center"? Since I'm still struck by the paradox of piece activity and building a strong center.


  1. Did you say you've read Nimzovich?

    I think Watson talks about this a lot in part one of Secrets of Modern Chess strategy, first chapter and table of contents available here. I haven't read this book, but it got really good reviews (except from the petty Assguard).

    I bet some of your other readers are more familiar with the literature than I am!

    Interesting ideas you are stretching towards!

  2. Blue,
    I haven't read Nimzowitch allthough the term "Temposchlucker" is his invention. I will have a look at it. I have Watson's book too and allthough I have read it I can't remember he talked about it. But he probably has. "If you don't have questions you don't get answers."

  3. Chapter 4 in The Art of the Middlegame by Keres and Kotov also discusses different pawn formations in the center and how to play them.

  4. Two remarks. The first is Nimzo, I only can support Blue's suggestion. I have read his "System" and got a lot of good advice there, not saying that I have managed to put them into my play. The second is that your example is a wonderful illustration of the principle: Wing attacks must be parried by a counterstrike in the center.

  5. I am glad you are allowing anonymous posts.

    Your recent posts about piece activity, attacking, invasion squares, staging armies. etc. are all focused on what you want to do. Remember that what you want to do is olny half of the game. Preventing your opponent from doing what he wants can be quite powerful. Keep that in mind as you examine your positions.

    In your example, you seem overly focused on your tactical opporttunies, and your attack on the kingside. Hence, You move ...Nh5 is a logical - not necessarily as the basis for a kingside attack, but simply to win the loose g3 pawn.

    But it has the drawback of allowing White to undermine your Knight at c4. With some reverse thinking - you can see that White has the immediate threat to win your e4 pawn, and your c4 knight while safe now, is a little loose due to the potential to deflect you d5 pawn. Observe that your move ...Nh5 takes away a key defender of both e4 and d5. I think ...exf3 is called for here. Kill White's counterplay first, then begin your attack.


  6. I basically agree 100% with Bill. I also came up with exf3 based upon looking first at what your opponent's threat was (to win the e4 pawn).

    Next at the "imbalances" (this comes from Silman, who I recommend very highly). Your strength is your c4 Knight (the strongest minor piece on the Board). The position is relatively closed, so your plan should be aimed at retaining this piece on c4.

    Once I concluded after a relatively quick scan that there seemed to be no tactics on either side and that white's b and c pawns posed no real threat (at least so long as white's d pawn was blocked from joining them), my only question was whether to take on f3 or advance to e3. Since the pawn would soon be overwhelmed on e3, taking on f3 is the only choice.

    Since your d4 pawn is well protected black's g7 bishop is still relatively well hemmed in.

    I think that you can't be so overwhelmingly focused on tactics that you force things that aren't there instead of making the best move available on positional grounds and waiting for a true tactical opportunity to present itself.