Saturday, October 06, 2007
Following the trail
In one of the comments I said, paraphrased:
tactics = accidents+mistakes.
IF chess=draw AND tactics=(gain of wood OR mate) THEN it must be true.
In the past months I have studied 90 winning complex middlegame positions from various sources and in 100% of the cases it proved that one or more invasionsquares played a crucial role. When you think about that from a distance, that is very logical of course. How often will you be able to mate the king from a distance, from your own territory? Even with the fools mate you invade blacks half with 2. Qh5#
So you have to leave your own pawnshield to invade hostile territory. The very invasion I called plan bhèta, the finishing off plan gamma and the preparation before the invasion is plan alpha.
I can't imagine that only playing for the "leftovers" in de middlegame is going to work. It doesn't suffice if your only goal in the middlegame is to reach a good endgame. In my opinion, you must actively tease your opponent and try to induce weaknessess by means of feigned attacks.
Accidents, getting a piece by a tactical trick, are rare even among 1500+ spelers. Playing for it is a typical example of hope chess.
Mistakes in complex positions are very common though. And since there is always an invasion square involved in such mistakes, it looks like a viable strategy during the middlegame to work on plan alpha all the time. What else can there be to do? It is perfectly in line with "increase your piece activity". It is close related to "creating threats" and "inducing weaknesses".
I have the feeling that there are 3 chapters in My System that relate to plan alpha.
Chapter 2. Open files.
Nimzowitsch says that outposts must be established at an open file, while the final goal of a rook on an open file must be the invasion of the 7th or 8th rank. There is no difference between an outpost and an invasion.
Chapter 14. Overprotection.
It was actually Blue Devil who put me on this trail. It was his coach, if I remember well, who said "when a piece or pawn is protected in multiple ways, it probably stands in the way". Which means that if you remove it, all of a sudden the pieces behind it come into play.
If you overprotect a pawn, it is like pressing a spring behind a lock. When it unlocks, all the energy is released.
In this position from a game of Kasparov a got this idea for the first time.
This is how Nimzowitsch formulated it:
"The point of overprotecting serves the overprotector as a source of energy, from which he may continually draw fresh strength." Without further explanation. Why did he not tell us always to be sure to have a method to unlock the lock at hand? Some of his idea's were maybe still in their infancy.
Via this technique all of a sudden new roads to the enemy are unlocked. It must be possible to integrate such techniques in plan alpha.
Chapter 15. Manoeuvring against weaknesses.
This tells how to manoeuvre with multiple pieces through one pivotal point. It's my take that this pivotal point and an invasion square are one and the same.
This all looks very promising and it might take a few months to work out. We will see where it leads us.
And after that?
The problem I encountered by thinking about the centre and the opening, is that it is tempting to develop a static position. That can't be good. Maybe if I can get a clear picture of the structural elements in plan alpha, I can approach the problem from the other side, thinking backwards (what comes previous to alpha?). Thus integrating the dynamics into the idea's over the opening and the center. If for instance the open files play a crucial role, then it must be possible to have a closer look at how open files come about. And what makes them favourable and what not.