Monday, October 08, 2007

Plan alpha

Study this weekend was very fruitfull. Almost all seperate different positional knowledge pieces have fallen together to one whole. The letters formed a word for the the first time. In short:

If you manage to establish an overprotected outpost you have an important strategical asset. It proofs that the enemy can only get rid of it by compromising his position. By hunting down the new weaknesses the opponent creates in doing so, he will be in big trouble. When he is rid of the outpost, the overprotecting pieces come to live automatically.

I have studied a few related mastergames where the words were used to build a sentence. That sounds pretty vague, I know, I know, but to me it isn't vague at all anymore.
I studied these games because I want an answer to the question "how can I establish an overprotected outpost?" Since Nimzowitch related outposts to open files, I decided to play through the associated games. Learning much, but not getting an answer. So the answer isn't in My System.

It should have been though, I guess. There must be somewhere a connection between "centralization" and an overprotected outpost on an open file. So I have decided to play through the games in "Chess Praxis of My System". Especially through the games that are in the chapter of centralization. You get so much more out of a game if you look for something!

The nice thing is that it is impossible to guess what I will going to find. Naive approaches will be flushed down the drain by the dozen. I'm so curious!

Bent Larsen pointed out that Max Euwe didn't understand much of Nimzowitsch idea's. Indeed I found almost nothing of his idea's in Euwe's works. That can give me an edge against Dutch people since they are grown up with the books of Euwe!


  1. Interesting stuff. The overprotection stuff hasn't come up in many of my games. I think it is because it is something I would just wait to happen naturally, and then exploit if it does. But you are pointing out that it is such a powerful weapon that you should actually strive to create it. Hmmm. I wonder if that is true...

    Whenever reading about Nimzo's ideas I'm always thinking, "Weren't a lot of his ideas discredited? Is this one of them?" It hurts me more than it hurts him.

    If I play with complete ignorance of Nimzovich, does that mean I am playing 'rule independent' chess (a la Watson)? So shouldn't I win, according to Watson?

    I don't know en passant rule, so I'm playing rule-independently. So I will beat you all!!! :)

  2. Blue,
    I added a few senctences at my post after your comment (not related to your comment).

    Overprotection sounds defensive, but it is a weapon of attack.

    Yeah, that rule-independence stuff. . .
    [ticking away 10 minutes on the clock. . .]
    Worth a separate post, now I think about it.

  3. Tempo: yes, I thought it was defensive until my coach taught me otherwise, as I discussed here (as you mentioned):
    While I have always thought that the point of overprotection is to maintain the safety of a square or pawn, that is only a small part of the story. In this case, the fact that it is overprotected also implies that if I push it forward, a great deal of potential will be unleashed, as the long-range pieces being blocked by the overprotected pawn will suddenly have a surge in activity. He stressed that when I look at the board, I should visualize my pieces' movements extending through the pawns to other squares to which they could traverse if that pawn were not there. It seems this will be very useful in helping me to figure out when to move my damned pawns!

    Sometimes when I read what I wrote I cringe. Sometimes I am quite surprised at how helpful it is. This is one of those cases.

    How important is overprotection in practice? In what frequency of games (at the club level, and GM level) does it play a major role? Should it be something I think of in every game, almost as important as a plan as 'mate', something I should struggle to get? Or is it just another tool in the toolbox (e.g., pawn storm to break through kingside is one plan that is sometimes called for; create an overprotected knight is just another plan that is sometimes called for, and it is up to you to know when).

  4. Overprotection is much bigger than that. Think of this: say there is no overprotected square on the board. If you want to jump with your knight behind enemy lines, you can only jump from unprotected square to unprojected square. With the least resistance you have to flee back.

    But if you create an overprotected (yet empty) square, you can put a piece upon in, and start to build a new protected square somewhat further. Since the piece is overprojected, trading it off is of no help. As if you cross a burning hot beach with two wet towels. Ok, bad analogy, but you get the idea.

    Without overprotection, no action behind enemy lines is possible. So yes, probably it's an issue for every game.

    I will show you (again) the position which proves that even all (non accidental) tactics MUST go through the pivotal point. That reduces the tree of analysis drastically.

  5. Hello,

    Sorry if I'm criticizing again, but when I agree what should I write about it?

    "But if you create an overprotected (yet empty) square, you can put a piece upon in, and start to build a new protected square somewhat further. Since the piece is overprojected, trading it off is of no help. "

    I'd say, it depends on the function of that piece. Of course it is good in any case to have a piece in there, but say one wants to establish another square with the help of a rook on an overprotected square and this rook is exchanged, so that now there is a bishop on this field instead; the rooks' effect on this second square is gone as well (even though there are new effects on other squares from the bishop). This could be decisive in defense.

    To end on a positive note: I find your articles are good stuff for thought (on strategy and spiders). I look forward to continue reading the stuff about strategic studies, because I'm not good at that. Your stuff on spiders is interesting too, maybe invasion nets are better than invasion squares?

    kind regards,

  6. Svensp,
    you are quite right of course. I'm working here with all kinds of "ignore the wind speed", "ignore the friction" etc.. Just to get the global picture over the footlight.

    The spider creeps thru the crack in the wall and starts to web, that's the idea, yes:)

  7. I remember reading about overprotection a long time ago and of course I didn't understand any of it. What I still have a hard time understanding, is how you judge where and what to overprotect.

    On another note: I might be in the Netherlands in February/March 2008 to attend a workshop for magicians/illusionists over the weekend. You guys got any fun tournaments going on at the time?

  8. You overprotect your strongpoints (=weak square from your opponent. There you can invade without being driven away by pawns.

  9. are you using the big file which i sent you?

    within the 1,666 game file are all the games from My System and Chess Praxis.

    hope not all gone to naught. that is to say, that you had to get those games in another way, when 'it is all there' (i.e. along with Fischers 60 Games, Igor Stohl, Nunn, Chernev, GM-Ram, etc.).

    warmly, dk
    ps, BTW, speaking of another angle on the 'big picture', i re-did my entire link bar. while it is said how many chess blogs there are, if you really go and look at each one (i have in the last day or two, my method of the pause between large projects finished an new ones to start), many have gone to seed.

    it doesnt take much to be active here, and stands out all the more. see my revised links. by all means not final, but roughly accurate for a first revised draft.

    i am assiduous of adding anyone, who isnt say simply 1050 elo and posts once in two months, etc or real morron, and let folks show me what they do. then i come back two months latter. so many come like commets then gone, 'ka-pow!'.

    but sometimes i add folks, and i see them persevere. i miss some, but i dont miss many, i can tell you.

    my interest is less pure chess or discussion of chess in that aspect, but more in seeing how communities evolve, like a slow motion camera, or with the sociology of knowledge or organizational development.

    you dont so much listen to all said, as watch growth, the way you would with a still camera in the forest, and willy-nilly, trees grow, trees fall over, cut down, or pruned or spray painted.

    so many have good intentions, but so few sustain effort. doubtless some of those unsustained HERE go somewhere else and are extensive, but mostly we get to see a snap shot of the inauthentic self.

    we must all fight this, and i have to fight it, no one is immune.

    another variation is those who continue to post, but have nothing to say, or pretend to be engaged. maybe that is worse.


  10. on another light: as said in my post Semi-Annual State of the Divination Report, Part II, which is appropos of your discussion here:

    I plan to read Euwe-Kramer's The Middlegame, Part One [i am reading it now, with great satisfaction dk 10/08/2007], and The Middlegame, Part Two. This is simply to brush up behind my tactical and endgame study, and fill my RAM with widening context.

    "Silman, who by the way I do not rate high (or low) in his main efforts outside the recent epochal endgame book, says regarding Euwe's book: 'get it, beg, it, GET this book!'

    At the same time, In Raymond Keene's Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal, Larsen in his interview, to the point of now giving me pause, said that 'Everything Euwe said there was a lie'.

    Whether he was just indulging in hyperbolae, or meant it, in any case, this is a book to read NOW, not latter... as evidently it is not so advanced or correct as to be a book to read more deeply latter such as the far more rigorous Dvoretsky's School of Excellence: Tactics, as planned".

  11. Being educated with Euwe I can agree with Larsen. Euwe was very paternalistic. He often decided for the reader what was good for him. Take for instance his openingbook part 3. There he included only openings that tend to be very drawish. Since he thought it was not good for clubplayers to experiment too much before they become better. But he didn't tell you beforehand that he had done such preselection. Net result for me: I abandoned chess for 20 years since my games were so boring and dull.

    For me no Euwe anymore, I like to know everything and to decide for myself!