Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Plugging a hole

We talked before about my special talent to flea with my king in the wrong direction. That is definitely a hole in my bucket. With a continuous flow of rating points leaking through it. Let's see if we can find a universal plug for this hole.

Black to move

8/pp2R1k1/2pp2P1/7p/2PP3P/P5p1/KPQ2r2/5q2 b - - 3 2
This position is halfway the solution of this problem
How to answer the check?

I'm going to think this over.
Feel free to comment already. That was of great help the previous post. I will update this post whenever I have found an adhesive plaster.

What I'm looking for, is a way to avoid as much calculation as possible, and guide my attention to the right plan. What is going on? At first there is the promotion motif. On both sides. I see promotion as the same as gaining wood. There is not much difference between capturing a hostile queen, or getting a friendly one yourself. Reaching the promotion square is the same as capturing a queen. There are a few differences. The rim of the board can't move, while the enemy queen can. On the other hand, the queen is usually attacked with one move at most, while the pawn becomes more dangerous with every move closer to the rim. This difference is due to the volatility of the  queen versus the fixed position of the rim. This makes the path to promotion an asset in itself.
Another element is the (counter) assault motif. We already saw that the assault motif is not about B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended) pieces but about B.A.D. squares and cages.

Shielding the check by 1.... Rf7 doesn't seem to be a happy move. So the king must flea. There are two potential functions to perform. Preventing promotion and attacking the rook. We are already attacking the white queen, so if we can alleviate the check with tempo, we are good. The only way to potentially gain a tempo is by attacking the rook. This can be done in two ways: Kf6 or Kf8. This means that we don't have to look at Kh6, Kh8 and Kg8. Only when both attacks of the rook go wrong, we need to look at these alternatives. We don't need to worry about the promotion, as long as we can gain the white queen in exchange. I played 1. ... Kf6 since I didn't like the check 1. ... Kf8 2. g7+. If I knew then what I know now, viz that the promotion is exchangeable for the capture of the white queen, I wouldn't have been so worried about that check.

What is the difference between 1. ... Kf6 and 1. ... Kf8? Essentially it is the loss of a tempo. After 1. ... Kf6 2. Rf7+ the black king must move out of the way. While after 1. ... Kf8 2. Rf7+ the rooks can be exchanged immediately. After such exchange, black is left with a pawn that can promote, while the white pawn can't, due to the position of the black king.

In order to avoid redundancy in your thinking, you should not think of the kings safety as a first. You look at the most active continuation first. Only once you found that, you start to think of your king safety. Since the black king can flea to a safe haven after the white queen invades, there is no reason to not play the most active line. It all boils down to precision.


  1. 1983.6 - Very quickly (less than 15 seconds) got the "right" idea: attack the White Rook, creating two targets which cannot defend each other. BUT, a really STUPID implementation: I occasionally have a "problem" distinguishing which direction the Pawns are moving. (Maybe it is my latent dyslexia.) So, I went 1. ... Kf6 instead of 1. ... Kf8, simply because I "saw" the WPg6 moving in the opposite direction. Ooopsies; I'm going to have to check that legend around the board more carefully in the future.

    I also "saw" the attacking potential against the White King, starting with 2. ... Qxc4+, should White try to move the Queen away from its protection of c4.

    Capablanca: "Chess books should be used as we use glasses: to assist the sight, although some players make use of them as if they thought they conferred sight."

    And I just got a new set of glasses. . . sigh.

  2. This position is/was really hard for me. I could only reject ONE move... in less than 10 seconds. The move I tried to test I rejected due to "too much craziness" (and a refutation I thought was enough for white).

    Anyway such a position gives a really high chance to go wrong (especially in time trouble and/or long fight).

    I am curious of other opinions.

  3. you may want to add the abbreviation HE to your Abbreviations we use list.

    Enjoying what I have been reading so far. Earlier, Some one made a comment that the right move in a tactic is sometimes found by looking at improving your pieces. I never have thought of this before.

    1. I'd "hazard" a guess that it refers to mister Chuzhakin's Hazardous Elements.

      Which reminds me: I was going to try to investigate mister Chuzhakin's system in comparison to the current process which depends significantly upon mister Lasker's insights. I have made a cursory overview (a rapid transit through the PDF file), but still am not in position to compare/constrast it with mister Lasker's ideas. I suspect that there will be considerable overlap, in concepts if not in verbiage. We shall see. . .

    2. I would call Chuzhakin's "Hazardous Elements" simply "tactical weaknesses". There are the positional/statical weaknesses like doublepawn , weak square ... and Chuzhakin did show the dynamic/tactical weaknesses. The traditional tactical motives are about "how to do" while the HE are about "what to (attack)". One of the ideas behind the HE's is a type of oneside/simplified calculation

    3. I haven't ignored the more recent posts; I've just been busy elsewhere. I've made a first step toward studying mister Chuzhakin's System: I have the entire document loaded into MS Word in editable format. (I changed it from figurine algebraic to English algebraic so I don't have to use a special chess font.) I've got to go back through it and check all diagrams and analysis to make sure that I didn't overlook something obviously stupid. I guess you could call that a "blunder check." I'm also changing a little of the wording so that it is more idiomatic English. I'll let you know when I get into the serious study phase.

      My cursory impression (based on reading as I copied the text): there is considerable conceptual overlap between the "Vulture's Eye View" (VEW; suggested pronunciation: as in "View" for the obvious reason) and the "Chuzhakin System," with much more detailed "rules" and interconnections between the "motifs" (hazardous elements) and the "tactical themes/device" (methods). I will "hazard" a guess and state that it might be because the "VEW" system is still being created/explored here.

      I'm not enamored with the "scientific precision" of attempting to create a system that addresses 99% of all combinatorial possibilities in chess (as does mister Chuzhakin in his tome) but I have to admire the effort that he expended. Given my inherent laziness, I'm not looking for a complete "thinking system;" I'll leave that to the super GMs like GM Stockfish and GM Komodo. I just want to improve my ability to digest road kill when I can "see" it splattered all over the road.

    4. I dont use his thinking system , only his lust of HE's and even this selective
      A thinkingmethod to solve tactical puzzles is then : Step through each of the HE of the opponent and try to make use of it.
      This is way easier than a traditional CCT

  4. Robert I wrote a comment to you on this thread. Cheers, Jim

    1. Jim,

      Thanks for the recommendation of GM Aagaard's two volumes on Attacking Chess. They have been promoted to "Must Purchase" status on my chess reading list. I already have some of his other books. He goes much deeper than most books on specific subjects. In some case, he is far over my head.

      I look forward to your comments on the current subject!

      Yes, I am a chess-[and book]-aholic. I currently have about half of the chess library that I used to have. I pruned it and gave the excess to my local chess club back in 2005. I'd like to think that I kept the most important books!

    2. Robert, They are an early project of his new publishing company and a labor of love. I suggest that you read the sample chapter that is linked to in the goodread review. The first book is about global principles of chess. He has some interesting things to say. Given your comments here, I suspect it would be your cup of tea. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2717054-attacking-manual-volume-1-2nd

    3. I gathered the following from the excerpt:

      1) Include all your pieces in the attack
      2) Momentum
      3) Colour schemes
      4) Numbers over Size
      5) Attack the weakest point in your
      opponent’s position
      6) Attack the strongest point in your
      opponent’s position
      7) Evolution and revolution

      I can infer the content from some (but not all) of these subjects as the chapter headings.

      I'll have to get a copy!


    4. Yes, these are all chapters of Volume 1 (although some slightly differently named) plus a chapter on sample attacking games and problem sets. Each chapter has a page of positions that appear in representative games at critical points. He suggests that one spend up to 10 minutes each studying them Stoyko style before reading the chapter . Volume 1 is a Global Principles book (a what book) while Volume 2 is more of a specific tactical strategies (a how book) . Volume 2 is a modern equivalent of Vukovic's Art of Attack. Both will give me months/years of study material.

  5. Replies
    1. Simply... E X C E L L E N T !!!

      If this system works this way... it MUST be a breakthrough! You simply refute most of the rules I have been learning on my way to chess mastery. Double attack at such position seems completely crazy, but AFTER your explanation... it makes perfect sense to me! There were a few variations I had to have a look, but after I analysed these... I cannot get out of the shocking phase... due to your amazing explanation! WOW! It is simply SUPERB!

      Excuse me my friend: is your surname Weteschnik?! ;)

      BTW. "In order to avoid reduncy in your thinking, you don't think of the kings safety as a first" --> Maybe this one looks a bit more precise/better: "In order to avoid REDUNDANCY in your thinking, you SHOULD NOT think of the kings safety as a first".

    2. "You simply refute most of the rules I have been learning on my way to chess mastery."

      The same here. I'm shocked to see how rigid my approach uses to be.

      Maybe this one looks a bit more precise/better: "In order to avoid REDUNDANCY in your thinking, you SHOULD NOT think of the kings safety as a first"

      I corrected it. Thanks.

  6. Yay, I got the solution right! :-)

    I think any of you could of easily gotten this one right. First, I had to figure out that the board was set up toward Black's side as well, as Robert referred to.

    Once you use the process of elimination for determining the move, then all you have to do is resist the will/temptation to be psyched out. 1...Kg8, 2.Re8+ Kg7, 3.Re7+ looks like a draw by perpetual, and the other moves lose except for 1...Kf8, which also looks scary (particularly compared to a possibly easy draw).

    Okay, so this blog says it's to improve tournament rating. Remember that once you've begun to spend all of this time analyzing, assuming it's done OTB, you have to really nail it because you've spent too much clock-time already. Luckily, in this case you really do have to get it right because three of the five possible moves lose, one draws, and one wins (from what I can tell).

    1. "Okay, so this blog says it's to improve tournament rating. Remember that once you've begun to spend all of this time analyzing, assuming it's done OTB, you have to really nail it because you've spent too much clock-time already"

      Not quite. For the moment it is about improving my blitz rating at CT to 2000. How that will effect OTB tournament play remains to be seen later.

      This blog is written in study mode. Time must be spent in the study room, not in the tournament hall. It is supposed to shorten thinking time OTB. If it doesn't, I failed. The rating at CT will be the judge of that, since it is a timed rating (in blitz mode).

      This kind of analysis gives me back the joy in chess. If it doesn't work OTB due to a stringent time regime, I will find a form of chess with a looser regime, like cc. But I don't expect that the renewed joy in chess will not encircle OTB play.

    2. If you read carefully, you will find that my posts are about avoiding calculation, lately. Just guiding the attention towards the part of the board with the most chances.