In the previous post and its comments we saw what the core problem is when calculating. We recognize all kinds of patterns, but we have trouble to find the right move order due to the vast amount of possibilities. It takes too much time to investigate all possibilities.
Munich proposes to solve this problem by brute force. This means that he still wants to investigate all posibilities by trial and error, but tries to speed up the process by learning all kinds of patterns by heart.
What I propose here is to add intelligence. Can't we find an intelligent strategy here that outperforms the brute force method? I have tried the brute force method myself for years and walked into the law of diminishing returns. If we are able to prune branches we can speed up the process by not calculating some lines. In stead of running around like a headless chicken (which is my usual state when in trial and error mode).
Of course I can't present you a ready to roll method straight from the start. But if we join our efforts we might be able to crack the problem at hand.
Automation of the strategy.
Once we have found a strategy we will of course find new ways to automate it and we will discover patterns that are related to this strategy and that can be learned by heart. But later is early enough to worry about that.
3 types of tactics.
There are only 3 types of tactics. Methods to gain wood.
- The duplo attack which is based on performing two attacks at the same time while the opponent can defend against only one.
- The trap which is based on lack of space.
White to move. You can find the solution here.
First step: identify the attackers and their targets.
I use the following method: if an attacker was able to make two moves in a row, which pieces would he grab? If an attacker can't grab a piece within two moves I consider it to be irrelevant.
We don't know yet which of these attacker-target combinations play a crucial role, but the combinations that do must be part of this list. This means we have ruled out a whole bunch of pieces that aren't worth investigating. Hence we pruned a lot of branches already. We can prioritize this list. The combinations with the highest target value and the lowest attacker value are the most interesting.
Step 2: Identify the duplo attacks, traps and promotions.
We know that in order to gain wood the attacker-target combinations must be part of a duplo attack or a trap or a promotion. It is easy to see that there are no pawns ready to be promoted. There are two pieces about to be trapped: the black queen and Bc8. There are the following duplo attacks possible:
Pin Ra8 Bc8 Qd8.
This leads to the following shortlist:
Again we managed to prune a whole lot of branches.
Step 3: Identify problems on the route.
We start with the highest rated targets.
Let's investigate the knightfork on f6. If you look at the defenders and attackers of f6, black has the upperhand. There are 3 defenders against 1 attacker. There is no way to annihilate those 3 attackers.
There are 2 attackers and 2 defenders. If I manage to annihilate 1 I have the upperhand.The Queen is overworked since it has to keep an eye on both Bc8 and e7.
In order to take advantage of the pin I must attack the bisshop one more time extra. I can do this only with the white knight on d5. There are 2 routes: via b6 and e7.
Black defends b6 twice so I can't get the upperhand there. e7 has already been investigated.
Taking the bishop with Rxc8 forces the queen into the knightfork e7 and diminishes blacks control over e7.
With Be7, the Queen is trapped. The problem is that I don't have the upperhand on e7 yet.
Again we managed to prune a few branches.
Step 4: Identify the candidate moves.
The candidate moves that are left are now:
From this moment on I'm inclined to use brute force and find out which move is the strongest by trial and error.
By not starting to calculate as a headless chicken right away we managed to prune the tree back from the 41 possible legal moves to 3 serious candidates. Without any serious calculation yet. We have needed pattern recognition along the way, but the pruning itself happened by reasoning.
The reasoning itself is at this moment a slow process. The next step is to automate whatever is possible from this process of reasoning. I'm sure if I do 100 problems this way, my mind will automate parts of this process. The move order problem isn't quite solved. But we have pruned largely the possibilities to investigate.