Saturday, March 04, 2017

Plugging along

Diagram 1 black to move

2rr4/1q3pkp/3p1n1R/1p2p1p1/1P4P1/1BP4Q/5P1P/3R2K1 b - - 1 1

This position  is not about winning a piece in all variations. Often, two pawns are enough for a sure win. I kept looking for winning pieces or mating the king. So this position revealed a fundamental flaw in my approach. I don't know when to stop calculating.

In the comments we toss around a lot of HE's, targets, PoPs, LoAs and Funs. Most of them are not very relevant, and confuse our view. In the past weeks we have found a method to sift the relevant targets from the irrelevant ones. That sieve is called immobility. You can't shoot a mobile target without hail. Hail is  T and E (Trial and Error). This blog has become a rehab for those who want to quit from their T and E addiction. To avoid shooting with hail, we must focus on the sitting ducks. We have a few of them.

Diagram 2. Sitting ducks. Black to move
  • Rh6 is immobile due to lack of space
  • Qh3 is immobile due to function
  • Qh3 and Bb3 are immobile due to lack of time (duplo attack Rxc3)
  • g4 is immobile due to lack of space
  • Nf6 is immobile due to function
  • Kg7 is immobile due to function
  • h7 is immobile due to lack of space
  • f7 is immobile due to lack of space
 How to take advantage of the white sitting ducks and to protect the own sitting ducks at the same time?
1. ... Qe4 has it all. It transforms the black knight from a defender into an attacker. It tales control of the LoA (Line of Attack) c2 - h7, it relieves the black king of a function. And it attacks the B.A.D. (Barely Adequate Defended) pawn g4 twice, thus adding an extra function to the white queen.

White is paralyzed, which means that you have to watch out for desperado's. That's where a little calculation comes in. The defense 2.f3 opens a LoA against the white king, allowing a duplo attack against c3. Two pawns ahead in a position where you remain the most active is enough for the win.


  1. 4:19
    Material: we are a pawn up, that let us suspect that the puzzle might be about defense.
    What is the puzzle about: Material / defense

    HE white: Rh6,Qh3,g4,Bb3,Rd1,Kg1

    First idea: Fork to Qh3 and Bb3 winning the second pawn by Rxc3 but Black may get a pawn back with the desperado Rxh7

    So analysis of blacks HE's

    There is a "threat" Bc2
    Did take me a while to realise that white cant move anything else because white cant make use of the other HE's
    of black. So there is no need to hurry
    its enough to improve the preassure
    Qe5! make use of the HE g4 , controls c2 and a defense by f3 is weakening c3

  2. At first, I thought this one is simple. But it is not. It is almost a positional problem. It is a definite hole in my bucket, spilling my rating points on a regular basis.

    @Aox, I assume you mean Qe4! in stead of Qe5!

  3. yes Qe4.
    In a way, chessability = chess learning speed.
    While you solve the chess-puzzle you learn the puzzle. As soon as you know the puzzle ( = you know all important aspects of the puzzle ) the solution is found. I think this puzzle is easy, but it did take me 4:19 to see that. Its related to the last puzzle. The attack against Bb3 Qh3 Rh6 is not strong enough there is time to add an extra attack against g4, white is paralysed.
    There is no real difference between positional and tactical thinking. There are weaknesses and you need to find methods to make use of them.

  4. I have a shot if it was Wtm . But btm is very foreign to me ....I am not sure where to begin.

  5. White is down a Pawn in material. Allowing simplification is (in general) not a good idea, depending on what gets left on the board.

    PoPs: h6 (1:1), h7 (2:2), f6 (1:1), f7 (1:2), d6 (1:1), g4 (1:1), c3 (0:1)

    LPDO: WBb3, BQb7

    (Semi)Immobile Pieces: WRh6 (may become desperado)

    Funs: White Queen is overloaded, defending h6, g4 ad c3. Any additional Black attack on one (or more) of these points will place White further into tempo crisis.

    Although White cannot (at present) add an attacker to h7, he can "sacrifice" the exchange on f6 in order to penetrate into the Black position using the White Queen and Bishop. This does not "feel" like a good thing for Black to allow, so shoring up h7 seems like a desirable thing to do. At the same time, Black can increase the pressure on one of White's weak points (g4). The Black Queen is "loose" and currently underemployed. The move which binds all of these considerations together is 1. ... Qe4!

    GM Jon Tisdall: "I always say that biggest piece to the middle is always a good move." [Improve Your Chess Now, pg 19]

    GM Jon Tisdall: "To answer Kotov's final question out of sequence [Does the GM commit or re-check everything one more time?], I think the efficient GM gets on with it. My vote is we [throw the biggest piece into the middle with attack]. Let's get that critical position on the board so that it is easier to calculate. Let's get his clock running. He's the one who has decisions to make. . . Maybe we can have a think about the critical position on his time, while we have a clearer view as we near the position. [Improve Your Chess Now, pg 17]

    I have no idea what White will do in reply. 2. f3 seems likely to be played, at least by someone like me.

    1. I will have to revisit this book. Thanks for the additional perspective .

  6. Well, I just "looked" at the problem on Chess Tempo, and found that White preferred 2. Rxf6 and the problem is "solved." Am I the only one who feels like this is just capitulation? What would GM Stockfish do in this situation as White after 2. ... Kxf6?

    2rr4/5p1p/3p1k2/1p2p1p1/1P2q1P1/1BP4Q/5P1P/3R2K1 w - - 0 1

    Analysis by Stockfish DD 64 SSE4.2:

    1. -+ (-3.85): 3.Qh6+ Qg6 4.Qh3 Kg7 5.Rd3 Rh8 6.Bd1 Rc4 7.Qe3 Ra8 8.Qd2 Ra2 9.Qxa2 Qxd3 10.Be2 Qxc3 11.Bxc4 bxc4 12.b5 Qd4 13.b6 Qxg4+ 14.Kf1 Qd1+ 15.Kg2 Qd4 16.Qa7 c3 17.Qc7 c2 18.Qxc2 Qxb6

    2. -+ (-4.64): 3.Kf1 d5 4.Re1 Qf4 5.Qh6+ Ke7 6.Qg7 e4 7.Re3 Qf6 8.Qxf6+ Kxf6

    3. -+ (-4.76): 3.Rd3 d5 4.Kf1 Ke7 5.Qe3 Qxe3 6.Rxe3 f6 7.Rd3 Ke6 8.Re3 f5 9.gxf5+ Kxf5 10.Rf3+ Ke6 11.Bd1 e4 12.Rg3 Rc6 13.Bg4+ Kf6 14.Rh3 Ke5 15.Rxh7 Rxc3 16.Rf7 Rh8 17.Kg2 Rg8 18.Re7+ Kd4

    4. -+ (-4.86): 3.Qh5 d5 4.Qh6+ Qg6 5.Qh3 d4 6.cxd4 Rxd4 7.Qf3+ Kg7 8.Rxd4 exd4 9.Bd5 Qf6 10.Qe2 Rc3 11.Kf1 d3 12.Qe3 Rc2 13.Bf3 d2 14.Bd1 Ra2 15.Qe2

    5. -+ (-5.17): 3.Rd5 Kg7 4.Rd3 d5 5.Qe3 Qxg4+ 6.Kf1 e4 7.Qd4+ f6 8.Rg3 Qf5 9.Qb6 h5 10.Bd1 d4 11.cxd4 h4 12.Rc3 Qd7 13.Rc5 Rb8 14.Qa5 Qxd4 15.Be2 Ra8 16.Qxb5 Ra1+ 17.Kg2 h3+ 18.Kxh3 Rh8+ 19.Kg2

    6. -+ (-5.17): 3.Ra1 Kg7 4.Rc1 Qf4 5.Re1 d5 6.Re2 d4 7.Bc2 Rh8 8.Bd3 Rxc3 9.Kg2 Rb3

    7. -+ (-5.23): 3.Rf1 d5 4.Qh6+ Qg6 5.Qh3 d4 6.cxd4 Rxd4 7.Re1 Kg7 8.Qg3 Qf6 9.Ba2 Rxb4 10.Bb1 Qf4 11.Bf5 Qxg3+ 12.hxg3 Rc5 13.Re3 Rd4 14.Kf1 b4 15.Ke2 f6 16.Rb3 e4 17.Ke3

    8. -+ (-5.29): 3.Qg3 d5 4.Rd3 Kg7 5.Qe3 Qxg4+ 6.Kf1 e4 7.Qd4+ f6 8.Rg3 Qf5 9.Qb6 Qd7 10.Kg2 h5 11.Qd4 Qf5 12.Bd1 h4 13.Bg4 Qe5 14.Qxe5 fxe5 15.Bxc8 hxg3 16.fxg3 Rxc8

    9. -+ (-5.41): 3.Rc1 d5 4.Ra1 Kg7 5.Ra6 Kg8 6.Ra1 Qf4 7.Re1 Kg7 8.Kg2 d4 9.cxd4 Rxd4 10.Qg3 Qxg3+ 11.hxg3 Rc3 12.Ba2 e4 13.Bb1 Rcc4

    10. -+ (-5.53): 3.Qd3 Qxg4+ 4.Kf1 d5 5.Ra1 Qe4 6.Ra6+ Kg7 7.Qxe4 dxe4 8.Ra7 Rxc3 9.Bxf7 e3 10.Bh5+ Kh6 11.Bg4 exf2 12.Bf5 g4 13.Bxg4 e4 14.Kxf2 Rd2+ 15.Be2 Rcc2

    11. -+ (-5.53): 3.Bd5 Rxc3 4.Bxe4 Rxh3 5.Rd5 h5 6.Bf5 hxg4 7.Bxg4 Rh4 8.h3 Kg6 9.Rxb5 f5 10.Be2 Rxh3 11.Rb6 Rb3 12.Bc4 Rb2 13.Kg2 g4 14.Bd3


    Well, that was certainly less than spectacular.

    Just for laughs, I went back to the original position to see what a GM would do. He just played 2. Rc1, allowing 2. ... Qxg4+ 3. Qxg4 Nxg4 4. Rh3 ad Black is two Pawns up with the better Pawn structure for the endgame (two pawn islands to three pawn islands). It also doesn't seem too difficult to activate and coordinate the Black pieces.

    These are the kinds of positions that totally throw me when I'm expecting a spectacular (tactical) finish.

  7. @ Aox: "There is no real difference between positional and tactical thinking. There are weaknesses and you need to find methods to make use of them.

    This is a very important summary statement!

    Aox's emphasis on weaknesses is the beginning point for analysis. The type of weakness (positional or tactical) is irrelevant with regards to focusing on the important issues to be analyzed and pursued. The indicators (weaknesses) may be different and the resolution (methods) may be different but the overall approach is still the same: identify the weaknesses and the best way to take advantage of those weaknesses. As I've stated before (from judo/jujitsu): Find (or create) a hole; fill the hole. Or stated in chess terms: Find (or create) a weakness; take advantage of that weakness. We can't take advantage of something we cannot "see"!

    I know that sounds simplistic because it leaves undefined what are weaknesses and what are methods to exploit those weaknesses. Our chess knowledge informs us about identifying characteristics of weaknesses and corresponding methods to exploit each type of weakness. The PLF approach (IMHO) is about identifying a significant number of the weaknesses. The various tactical themes/devices and common mating/King attack patterns tell us how to exploit each specific type of weakness. It does not mechanically "solve" chess, but instead provides us with the tools needed for "seeing" what is possible.

    I like your idea of using immobility as the sieve for straining out the important weaknesses!

    1. The lowest level of chess thinking is the thinking in move sequences (plain calculation), the next one is a thinking in contacts and the highest level is the thinking in weaknesses and methods. Polgar's "Chess Middlegames" did present ~ 77 weaknesses and many examples how to uses them. But a (theoretical) weakness dont help if there is no method available to make use of it. A backward pawn, a dooble pawn, a unprotected Queen.. they might be even the assets of the position.
      Immobility is only one weakness, a positional and a taktical one. But quite often, its unimportant, like any other weakness: if you cant attack this piece or entob it "for ever" for example.

    2. @ Aox:

      Here we enter a philosophical realm (which may not be practically useful):

      "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

      I would characterize "weakness" as a potential. A corresponding method to take advantage of that weakness would be an actualization of that potential weakness. Absent an available method to realize the potential, there is no weakness. That is why merely formal weaknesses so often prove to be illusory. If you can't take advantage of it, it ain't a PRACTICAL weakness - and can be ignored in the present situation. But the potential still persists over time, and what isn't a PRACTICAL weakness NOW may become one in the future.

      Sorry, but that takes my vulture's eyes off the prize: I WANNA EAT ROAD KILL - RIGHT N-O-W!

  8. I enjoyed your exposition of this concept quite a bit. Without knowing your nomenclature, I came upon the solution in a similar fashion. However, knowing the method behind the madness is very helpful in producing the effect more efficiently.

    In case anyone is interested, here is a problem I solved right before seeing your post, and I solved it using the concept of immobility - at least of the knights (without knowing I was using it):

    Great work, Tempo. Keep it up. I need to go back and read your more recent posts, as I am interested in how you apply the other aspects of your approach.

    1. @ Bryan:

      2199.8 That high rating hardly seems possible to me! I solved it in less than 30 seconds. The basic idea is domination of the White Knight (a consequence of its immobility and lack of available safe squares); after 1. Nh3? Rh2 it has nowhere safe to go and cannot be defended.

      As usual, I looked at the initial position (before White moves) and ask: why didn't White move 1. Nd3? It seems there is at least a chance of getting the Knight out of trouble (eventually). So, I asked GM Stockfish his opinion, which is:

      8/8/2pp3R/3k2K1/5P1P/4n3/2r2N2/8 w - - 0 1

      Analysis by Stockfish DD 64 SSE4.2:

      1. -/+ (-1.05): 1.Nd3 Rg2+ 2.Kh5 c5 3.f5 Rg3 4.Nf4+ Ke5 5.Ne2 Rg8 6.Re6+ Kxf5 7.Rxd6 Rh8+ 8.Rh6 Rc8 9.Ra6 Ng2 10.Ng3+ Kf4 11.Ne2+ Kf3 12.Ra2 Nf4+ 13.Nxf4 Kxf4 14.Rf2+ Ke3 15.Rc2 c4 16.Rc3+ Kd2 17.Rxc4 Rxc4 18.Kg5 Rc2 19.h5 Ke3 20.h6 Ke4

      2. -+ (-3.97): 1.h5 Rxf2 2.Rh8 Rg2+ 3.Kf6 Kd4 4.h6 Nd5+ 5.Kf7 Rh2 6.Kg7 Nxf4 7.Re8 Rg2+ 8.Kf6 Nd5+ 9.Kf7 Rh2 10.Kg7 c5 11.Re1 Rg2+ 12.Kf7 Rf2+ 13.Kg7 Nf6 14.Re6 Nh5+ 15.Kg8 Rg2+ 16.Kf7 d5 17.Rg6 Rh2 18.Rg4+ Ke5 19.h7 Nf6 20.Rg5+ Kf4 21.Kxf6 Rh6+ 22.Rg6 Rxh7

      3. -+ (-3.97): 1.Rh8 Rxf2 2.h5 Rg2+ 3.Kf6 Kd4 4.h6 Nd5+ 5.Kf7 Rh2 6.Kg7 Nxf4 7.Re8 Rg2+ 8.Kf6 Nd5+ 9.Kf7 Rh2 10.Kg7 c5 11.Re1 Rg2+ 12.Kf7 Rf2+ 13.Kg7 Nf6 14.Re6 Nh5+ 15.Kg8 Rg2+ 16.Kf7 d5 17.Rg6 Rh2 18.Rg4+ Ke5 19.h7 Nf6 20.Rg5+ Kf4 21.Kxf6 Rh6+ 22.Rg6 Rxh7

      4. -+ (-5.57): 1.Nh3 Rh2 2.f5 Rxh3 3.h5 c5 4.Rh7 c4 5.Rc7 Kd4 6.f6 Nd5 7.Ra7 c3 8.f7 Rf3 9.Kg6 Nf4+ 10.Kf6 c2 11.Ra4+ Ke3 12.Ra1 Nxh5+ 13.Ke7 Nf4 14.Kxd6 Ng6 15.Ra3+ Ke4 16.Ra4+ Kd3 17.Ra3+ Kc4 18.Rxf3 c1Q

      5. -+ (-5.87): 1.Nh1 Rh2 2.Ng3 Rg2 3.f5 Rxg3+ 4.Kf4 Rh3 5.h5 Nc4 6.Kg4 Rh1 7.Kg5 Ne5 8.Rh7 c5 9.h6 Nf3+ 10.Kg6 c4 11.Rc7 Ne5+ 12.Kg5 Nc6 13.f6 c3 14.f7 c2 15.f8Q c1Q+ 16.Qf4 Rg1+ 17.Kf5 Rf1


      I'm beginning to improve my vulture's eye view. . . MAYBE! Avoidance is also useful for "looking" around.