Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Improving my position

There are two obvious targets in chess: the opposite king and a weak pawn. I can attack the king if the preconditions of Vukovic are met and I can attack a weak pawn if I have induced one (see previous post). If the preconditions are not met or if I can't induce a weak pawn I have to:

Improve my position.
I can move pieces or pawns in order to reorganize my pieces. But how do I improve my position? Logically I suspect that my organizing manoeuvres must be related to the two targets mentioned above. But how? One of the preconditions of a kingside attack is that I have to outnumber the defensive pieces by 3 (2 in the case of a pawnstorm). But I cannot force that!

Yet the moves I do must have at least some relation to the main targets. Otherwise I'm just moving back and forth.

Now I mention it, outnumbering seems to be an essential element of every attack. The problem is, that if I do pile up my pieces against a target, my opponent can do the same by piling up his defensive pieces. The trouble is that I can move only one piece at the time.

The problem bears a lot of simularity with two possibilities to gain wood by force in tactics: the duplo-attack and the trap. With a duplo-attack (all variations of attacking two pieces at the same time with one move) the opponent has a lack of time. That is to say he cannot save both pieces with one tempo. With a trap the opponent has a lack of space.

Logically time and space are the ingredients to work with. This implies two methods to get an edge. The first one is the multipurpose move while the second method is claiming space. With the multipurpose move you win time by accomplishing two things with one tempo. Claiming space is best done by pawns. Claiming space has two results: it diminishes the manoeuvring possibilities of the opponents' pieces and it improves the manoeuvring room of my own pieces.

Dynamic vs. static.
It now appears that my view of the much praised piece activity has been fairly static. I put my piece on an open line from which it starts to stare into enemy territory. Once my opponent coped with that he doesn't need to use any tempos anymore to continue parrying the threat.

In order to pose threats I must not put a piece on its best square and leave it there, but I must put it on a flexible square from where it can reach two or more good squares with one move. The threat is stronger than the execution. If my opponent starts to defend against threats that aren't manifest yet, he is basically wasting tempos on phantom threats. In stead he has to keep his pieces ready on flexible squares too, ready to defend when necessary.

The use of flexible squares demands another approach to the pawnstructure.


  1. Great post. I know exactly what you mean by the idea of trying to get your pieces onto dynamic squares - grabbing the open file or diagonal is relatively 'easy', but keeping it or finding a way to enter his position is much much harder.

  2. Reminds me of the idea of "two weaknesses". You move your pieces in for an attack on flexible squares, forcing your opponent to defend against the attack and thus perhaps create a weakness elsewhere, which you can exploit thanks to flexible piece placement.

  3. Chunky,
    that's exactly the idea. Switching your focus of attack faster than the opponent can follow.