Sunday, December 23, 2007

Valuation of positional idea's

This is a position from PCT strategy module 3.

White to move

According to Rybka there are at least 4 moves that lead to a win. That this often happens in the more difficult modules doesn't make training easier, but I can live with that. That is not what I want to talk about. The move that PCT happens to advocate as the best is 1.g4
And that is interesting. That pawnmove does two opposite things. It restricts black's knight and white's bishop.

And that is the bane of the positional player. The choice between two or more ideas. Often there is a difference in time between the ideas. As it is here. The restriction of the white bishop has no direct consequences, while the restriction of the black knight has. So the valuation is based on the question if the advantage now is decisive or will the disadvantage backfire later.

There seems to be a tendency that the effect now is very often (but not always) more important than the effect later. That clarifies why most amateurs including me are so bad in positional play. It is very enticing to treat long term advantages as the best fit. Neglecting the needs of the position now. Especially with pawn play that is the case. There are a whole set of rules that defines how to keep your pawnstructure good for the endgame and how to mutilate the pawnstructure of the opponent. But the role of the pawns in the middlegame is quite different and much less known. Good pawnplay in the middlegame precedes over a good pawnplay with the ending in mind. I must learn to adapt to this new way of thinking. I have the feeling that that is very important.


  1. There are many things to consider. White's q-side pawns should win. White wants to centralize the King and push the black knight out of the center. Trading off pieces makes the win easier. 1. g4 helps make all of that happen...(but true, there are other moves that are as good or good enough to win).

    The restriction to white's bishop from g4 is not important because that bishop will likely not be on the board much longer.

    What is PCT's comment about the move?

  2. g4 controls the important square f5 and makes Ke3 possible. (Rybka shows that direct Ke3 wins too)

  3. Rybka prefers 1.b6
    I preferred 1.c6 which is winning too.

  4. a fascinating position. How to find the winning move g4? Tactically, g4 makes the Knight short of squares when Ke3 next is a killer tactical threat. Black can only parry this threat by making yet another positional concession, terminal in this case. Positionally, you want to centralize your King with Ke3, but Nf5+ pushes you away, so another way of looking at the position is simply that g4 secures the e3 square for the King.

    a very interested post tempo. i continue to be impressed with the quality of your studies and posts. it seems you are improving all the time.


  5. a very interested post tempo. i continue to be impressed with the quality of your studies and posts.

    Agreed. I hope my own practice approaches the quality of yours (when I get back on track :P)

  6. I generally look at your posts from the viewpoint of a beginner because...I'm not too far from that point of view! I can say that, while other blogs read something to the effect of "blah blah blah pawn structure blah blah blah knight blah blah" to me, you have a more understandable approach albeit well above where I seems to prompt responses that are clear too. I do think PCT is the way to go.

  7. Edukator,
    I don't think it is possibly to understand something that is complex. You must make it simple first.