Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Fire on board

Allthough I'm working my way through SOCES I can't prevent my mind to think of matters that are only slightly related to the endgame. Not slightly in my line of thoughts, but measured against common standards. To free my mind, I fixate the thoughts in this post. Please bear with me, more about the endgame is to come.

A few days ago I wrote a post about a certain point of complexity beyond which the chessgame becomes a gamble. Hence the word gambit, which is a deterioriation by chessplaying members of the Italian enclave in Stoke-on-Trent of the expression gamble-it.

In the past I wrote a series of posts about the chaos theory applied to chess here. Which disturbed some dust in which the original idea's were lost. But those idea's are closely related with what I'm writing now.

Of course you must become as best as possible in the chaotic part of the game. But once you can't make any easy progress in that area, you have to ask yourself: do I want to continue to turn every chessgame into a gamble? For me I have reached a point where my answer has become a resounding no. I want to learn other aspects of the game. My moves will have the intention to stay clear from uncontrollable turmoil. If my opponent insists in causing such he is welcome, but he will have to make a sacrifice to draw me into it. So the odds will be mine.

Of course that is easier said than done. Let me first see if I can find some turmoil-indicators for the course of the game.
The begin position is turmoil free. The reason for that is that the pieces can't interact.
But allready during the first move, decisions are made about the course of the game. Let's take a deeper look in the difference between the open games and the closed games. The open game stirs up turmoil at move 1, while the closed game progresses much slower. What is the difference? What are the turmoil indicators?

Diagram 1

White to move

Since the queen asserts her influence at d4 white can force the break d4 at an early moment in the game.

Diagram 2

White to move.

In a closed opening it is much harder to force the break e4. It takes a lot of peraparation to accomplish that. The pawn has no support right now at e4.

So tha pawnbreaks open up the cranels and the pieces are needed to support the breaking pawn. Once open, the possibilities multiply and the complexity grows with it.

It make sense to first push the pawnwall forward to gain some room, and to postpone complexity. And hence the moment to gamble.


  1. Don't forget, also, that after 1.e4 e5, the e-pawns are now unprotected. After 1.d4 d5, everything is still defended. That makes a big difference in how quiet or otherwise the opening will be.

  2. I commented on your comment to my blog. I think your answer has some great wisdom but is also lacking in some other ways. Memory is such a fascinating topic in itself!

  3. An interesting,short page on types of memory. Note: i am not promoting their products of which i have absolutely no knowledge. --- lf.

  4. Another page on memory. Don't feel obligated to read all of these, I just found them interesting and wanted to share since you also seem curious aboutt he subject. :) -- lf

  5. I do not see as yet where this is going to, but please allow me some (rather random) observations:

    1. There are more significant differences between e4-e5 (open)and d4-d5 (closed) than you mention. In the open games f2 and f7 are rather exposed. These are mating squares, accessible for the opponents bishop and only defended once. This more or less invites sacrifices, since the payoff can be mate.

    2. Contrary to 2 f4 in the open games, playing 2 c4 in the closed games does not sacrifice a pawn. For this reason closed openings allow a buildup of tension in the center which is more gradual than in the open games. This tension however tends to be a bit more persistent.

    I hope these observations add to your reflections.

  6. Ed and Phaedrus,
    thanks for the contributions. Where this is going to? I don't know yet. But from our observations a picture emerges that if complexity can be kept within limits then pawns will play a keyrole in it. They decide if there is a connection between your pieces and your opponents, they decide if a crucial diagonal to f7 is open or not.

  7. Phaedrus references the f2 and f7 squares. I tell my yound students that these are the weakest squares on the board because they are only guarded by their king. Castling king side strengthens those squares and often in open games castling comes fairly early. Though castling can cause h2 and h7 to become weak if the knight is removed from f3 or f6. I've been thinking about those squares lately as I've seen a number of sacrifices on those squares to draw the king out.