At first sight, this seems a logical way to go. Knowledge is acquired by looking at common factors, and both the knowledge and the corresponding patterns are stored, and easy to retrieve. Yet there are a few drawbacks with this. I studied about 120 positions, and only about 28 or so fitted into the same template of an attack on f7. This means that there are 90 positions that don't fit into any general scheme. Maybe it is possible to categorize these too, but I might very well end up with 70 categories or so.
Although the method of categorizing positions with the same features into templates works in itself, there are so many exceptions that it is not practical. If we look at the tactical themes like pin, double attack etcetera, these are so common that all tactics fit in only a few templates. That is the kind of stuff I'm looking for.
I once made a general scheme for duple attacks. It contains (a subset of) the following elements:
- Attacking square
- Target square
- Route from attacker to attacking square
- Route from attacking square to target square
This grand scheme is very useful to describe any duple attack. If the attacker is far yet from its attacking square, it needs preliminary moves to get there. All these moves must be with conservation of tempo. If the target isn't on its target square yet, it must be forced there by coercion, or attracted to it by a capture or so. All preliminary moves need to conserve the initiative (by CCT).
At CT I had three failures, which I initially denominated under the category "knight fork". But with a closer look, there were quite different elements involved.
|Diagram 1 White to move|
The targets are Kg8 and Qh5. They are already standing on their target squares.
The attacker is Nc3, which is still a long way from its attacking square f6.
The defender Rd6 is overworked. It has to defend the attacking square f6, and its brother in arms Rd8. The attacking square is occupied by whites own queen.
First the attacker Nc3 must get to the attacking square f6 with tempo.
1.Ne4 attacks both Rd6 and attacking square f6. In fact it is a knight fork too.
Blacks rook is under attack. There are 5 standard answers to an attack which must be checked:
- Capture the attacker. The knight on e4 cannot be taken.
- Counter attack. The options are very limited. The white queen cannot be taken, since it frees the attacking square for the white knight. The white queen is a desperado, which can take on d8 any time with check.
- Escape. Moving one of the targets from their target squares looses the black rook on d6.
- Interference. A knight cannot be interfered.
- Pin the attacker. Qe8 pins the attacking knight on e4 to the mating square on e1. Yet that is not enough. The black queen has moved from one target square to another, and the white queen is still a desperado that can take on d6. 1.Ne4 Qe8 2.Qxd6 Rxd6 3.Nf6+ wins the exchange.
|Diagram 2. White to move.|
Target 1, Kh8 is already sitting on its target square.
Target 2, Re8 is not yet on its target square e5.
The attacker is Nh4.
The attacking square is g6.
1.Qxe5 is a preliminary move designed to put the black rook e8 on the target square e5 with tempo.
Check the 5 standard answers:
- Capture the attacker
- Counter attack
- Pin the attacker
1. ... Rxe5 2.Rf8+ distracts the black queen from defending the attacking square g6.
2. ... Qg8 3.Ng6+ forking. The move order is important in ortoe conserve the initiative.
3 ... Kh7 4.Rxg7 getting the queen back.
I found that all duple attacks can be described with this grand scheme and the five standard answers. All tactical patterns are related to this scheme. Unless the position is about a trap or promotion, of course.