Saturday, November 14, 2009


Some fellowbloggers seem to tend to see my writings as abstract, arcane or theoretically. I'm totally to blame for that. I don't make any efforts whatsoever to make it look differently due to other priorities in using my time. Yet I can assure you that they can't be further from the truth and totally miss the point in my writings.

On the contrary, my musings have a 1:1 relation to the games I play. They form the actual guide for my moves during the middlegame. They are very, very concrete.

The past year a drastic change in my middlegame approach has manifested itself due to these very concrete musings. In 90% of the cases I reach a very good middlegame position. Even against players with a much higher rating. Most of my opponents agree with that judgement.

Due to this new middlegame approach, a new weak element has surfaced though. I can't finish off my opponents. I misjudge a position, I'm drawn into an endgame and lose the game, even without knowing why.

I had put the Secrets of endgame strategy of Lars Bo Hansen on the backburner because I had lots of positional middlegame troubles about a year ago. Now my middlegame troubles seem to be corrected, sufficient for the moment at least, it seems to be about right to switch places and put my middlegame computing algorithms on the backburner. Only for a while, of course, but there is a very concrete cause for this change: Corus is nearing.



  1. I take it you are referring, among else, to my comment on BDK's blog a couple of days ago?

    Thanks a lot for responding to it. Just for the record: I didn't mean to question your methods. I was simply pointing out why I felt they didn't work for me. I believe I would have to invest too much time to understand what it is you are presenting and gauging the various variables you are proposing and how exactly you are tieing them together before I could benefit from your analyses. I'm sure the same applies to some of my more "arcane" gifs.

    The notion that "abstract" theorising about chess automatically implies "impractical" theorising is not justified in my opinion. A highly abstract approach to chess can be as successful in OTB as a purely concrete, tactical-puzzle approach. Personally, I have settled on what I believe is a strict middle way that neglects both highly-theorized chess and highly-concrete tactical/pragmatic chess.

    As to whether what you are presenting on your blog is "abstract" or not: it certainly appears so to me, perhaps because you have a knack for categorising, generalising, working with parameters and definitions, etc. Be that as it may, it's great to hear you talk about how the thinking you share on your blog affects your decision making in OTB games. I would love to hear more in that regard and maybe see some examples of how a particular theory of yours made you analyse or evaluate a position in one of your games in a certain way.

  2. Chunky,

    there are more people who feel the same. But your comment was certainly the trigger for my sense of guild of the lack of elaboration on the practical application of my ideas.

    At the same time I couldn't resist to encourage some of the more lazy readers to put in some extra effort.

  3. Besides that, I was mesmerized by the word "arcane" and sought an excuse to use the word:)

  4. I see chess.

    Seriously, though, my whole magical history tour thing was a measn to an end to improve my middle game as well. Like yourself, I find I can reacha good position but only to botch it because I can't connect the fractals to the endgame.

    The ability to evaluate a position objectively and correctly was another of De Groot's discoveries in his book. Being able to reach a middle game position and in my head run through a calculation only to mis-evaluate the outcome is an issue in my mind's eye. Visualization skills are critical for calculation of a position's value at the end of a variation. Much easier to see if it's forced moves with a distinct and clear advantage or loss ( material or space). But to reach a middlegame position and evaluate the correct course is most difficult in static positions. In it's simplest terms, the decision to play a minority attack or try to make your opponent advance a pawn in front of his king first, requires teh ability to see the resulting position and say " then what?" and " who is better?"

    That's where knowledge of typical endgames from your games could really come in handy. Recognizing a subtle panw structure in your minds eye can give you an advantage.