Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Applying logic

At Whitsuntide we played a tournament of 7 long otb games. I used the games to check my latest findings. It greatly reflects that my theoretical findings are confirmed in practical play. I scored 4 out of 7 with no draws. TPR was 1754.

Winning by mistake.
All games had in common that the only way to win them is when the opponent plays a suboptimal move. This means you cannot win a game by finding a move where your opponent has no answer to, but you have to play optimal moves yourself all along until your opponent makes a mistake. Be it a tactical or positional mistake. Your opponent has to defy logic in one way or another.

Three areas of improvement.
I found three areas to improve my chess in my games.
  • Learning unknown territory.
  • Replacing unfruitful opening lines.
  • Applying logic.
These three areas are not equal. The first two can be fixed relatively simple. Applying logic contains the real meat of the matter and has not an easy fix.

Learning unknown territory.
There are a few areas in chess that are relatively new to me. Mainly this consist of certain parts of the endgame. Basicly this is about good old school pattern recognition. The reason I haven't added the concerning patterns to my database yet is due to the low frequency of occurrence of the patterns in real play. Adding these patterns is just a matter of doing. It is an easy fix.

Replacing unfruitful openinglines.
I found a certain line in my openingrepertoire where I always come into trouble. Sometimes I win, sometimes I loose, but I feel uncomfortable and it feels like I'm gambling. I changed the order of the moves so I can now avoid this specific line in favour of a line where the queens are traded off very early in the game. This will be good for my endgame experience too, so I hit two birds with one stone. If my opponent avoids the queentrade I'm back in the old lines with changed move order.

Applying logic.
It turns out to be difficult to find the logic in a position. Things go wrong when I cannot find the logic or when it takes too much time and energy to find the logic. When I cannot find the logic I play like a headless chicken. This is not uncommon, by the way. When it costs too much time and energy to find the logic I will get troubles later in the game. I run into timetrouble or I become blunderprone due to lack of energy.

Let me give an example of not finding the logic in order to know what we are talking about.

White to move, I'm black.
My latest move was Qe3, in order to attack the pinned knight twice.
I totally missed that white can play Bd5 here.
Even after Bd5 black is still winning, but that is not the point. The point is that I missed a logical answer to the pressure on Nd2.

If I hadn't seen this position, and somebody described the position to me in a more abstract way, like "A piece is pinned and attacked once more than it can be defended, what can you do to free yourself" I certainly would look at ways to extinguish one of the attacking pieces. The logic is easy enough, but the mind isn't disciplined enough to always look for the logic.

This is really the way to go. Guide your thoughts and attention by logic in a systematic and disciplined way. Do it right first, speed will follow automaticly.


  1. About the position and "logic": You have not been aware of the Bishop. it has been to "far away". A written thoughtprocess might help: Last point "blunder check" a) das my opponent has any chance to nullify my move...

    I have the "impression" that this type of problem is adressed at the tactical training at, i think that this puzzles are very "logical"

    A good structured thoughtprocess does have a easy to understand ( for me :) benefit: you dont think about something twice or even more often.
    If you think about a tactic 2 times longer, then your performance will increase by ~100-200 points. So if you have a "bad" thoughtprocess and you are thinking about everything lets say 2 times, then you can get 100-200 points by optimising the thoughtprocess.

  2. I suggest that you look at just the logical moves when you are analysing and need to be quick. However, when you are blunder checking, I suggest that look at ALL your moves, and ALL the replies to your chosen move. It is amazing what you find.