In daily life, I don't like to tie my self up to any opinion any time soon. I have changed my vote several times, all over the political spectrum. I like to keep all options open, until that is not longer possible. The upside to that is, that I always can find new angles of view. It took me 12 year to formulate the final conclusion of my efforts to improve as an adult in chess: adults can only improve marginally in chess. But even then, after a two year break, I see new possibilities and reopen this cold case. The downside to this of course is that I suck at chess. I see too many possibilities. Time trouble is a recurring phenomenon.
Analysing problematic positions the way I do lately, makes me see that, with hindsight, there were way less possibilities then I thought there would be beforehand. I try to figure out why I see too much possibilities.
The three methods of attack: time, space and matter.
I identified duplo attacks as one of the three ways to gain wood. Traps and promotion being the other two. There are 6 different duplo attacks (double attack, discovered attack, pin, skewer, X-ray attack, simultaneous attack). If you search my blog for "duplo" you can find a lot more about this.
A duplo (or multi) attack is based on the aspect of time. With one move (tempo) you pose two threats, which your opponent must meet with one tempo. If there is no such move, one of the threats is executed.
A trap is based on (the lack of) space. With mate being the ultimate trap.
Promotion is a sudden increase in matter.
The four methods of defence.
Against any given threat, there are just four methods of defence:
- protection by an extra piece
- blocking the line of attack
- annihilation of the attacker
With just three methods of attack and just four methods of defence, life should be easy. I cite myself from a few posts earlier:
"My brain is lead by the variations, in stead of being in control of it. In daily life, there usual is some logic in the things that happen, and my actions are in accordance with it as a result. This common sense seems to be gone when it comes to chess. If I make a double attack, I don't continue with the question "heh, is there a possible way he can address both threats? What if......?". In stead I continue by trial and error to find the continuation."
Somehow I get distracted from applying simple logic in chess. My brain is easy to confuse, and once confused, it is overloaded. When my brain is overloaded, solving times get through the roof.
What is the cause of this confusion?
The method of analysis I use for the problematic positions I encounter at CT convinced me that by far most of those positions are simple in nature. If a position is simple, why can't I see it as simple right away?
Besides the four methods of defence, there is another possibility to meet the threats that you throw at your opponent: the counter attack. I don't consider it as a defence, strictly. It turns out that counter attacks complicate matters dramatically. It means that none of the rules or methods you use can be used any longer. In the extreme case of a desperado, even the patterns you learned no longer apply. Highly protected pawns that need no thoughts under normal circumstances because they form such strong bastion, are no longer exempted from attention. The amount of possible moves increases. I find that thinking about counter attacks every move is clogging my brains. It is the main cause that I'm not able to apply logic to the position.
When I strictly separate the thinking about threats I pose to my opponent and the possible defences to those threats, from thinking about possible counter attacks, matters become much more simple.
When I think about my threats, there usually are only a few moves that possibly meet those threats. When I prune the tree of analysis by removing the counter attacks, the tree becomes much more manageable. Of course this pruning is a temporary measure. Once the simple tree is calculated, it is time to look at the counter attacks.