Choice between two ducks
The first hiccup is formulated by Tomasz as "we have to find (work out) a small difference between BIG ducks". From time to time, there is not one single immobile piece, but there are two. My impression is that that doesn't happen very often. But maybe, now my attention is triggered to look at it, there is a chance that I have to change my opinion, but we'll see about that.
The ducks are deemed by their apparent size, which translates to chess as the value of the piece. Well, that shouldn't be too hard. In order of value: K, Q, R, B, N, p
I look from the perspective of minimizing the brain load. When we have a king and a bishop that are both sitting ducks, we start with the king, and forget about the bishop. But that leads to the formulation of the second hiccup:
When to abandon thinking about a sitting duck?
There comes a moment when you should stop thinking about a combination once you see the sitting duck you are craving remains out of reach. I can think ad infinitum about it, so I definite need a breaking mechanism. I hope that working out the scenario's will help me out here. When I have investigated every standard scenario and none of them works, that should be the telltale sign to move on.
The hiccup I dread the most is the counter attack. Where do I place it in my tree of scenario's? The best way to overload my memory is to start thinking about counter attacks too early. How can I make that I start thinking about counter attacks exact just in time but not too early? What is the telltale alarm clock?
The last hiccup I'm confronted with is the defensive move from my opponent. When do I start looking at defensive moves?
As you might notice, I want to be in control of my thinking. I don't want to get sucked into a tunnel that leads to nowhere without me noticing it. Which is the normal state of affairs when thinking about a position.
The following position is going to be the subject to investigate the hiccups above. The diagram contains two sitting ducks and a counter attack. While I'm investigating the position, feel free to comment on the subject already. I will update this post when I have found something relevant to say about it.
|Diagram 1. Black to move|
The first thing my eye fell upon was the duplo attack 1.... Ne6.
- It defends against the counter attack 2.... Qxf8# (Notice that I was aware of a counter attack!)
- It interrupts the defense of the bishop
- I could find no defensive move that saves both the white bishop and rook (Notice that I checked for defensive moves from my opponent)
The fact that I had checked for a counter attack and for a defensive move, gave me a false sense of security.
Mister Lasker gave some terrible advice: "if you see a good move look for a better one". This advice is impossible to follow during OTB play, since I will loose due to time trouble time and again. But now I'm in the study room, and I followed his advice. So I started to look at the white king.
This is a typical case of two sitting ducks: the white bishop is immobile due to a duplo attack and the white king is immobile due to lack of space. As I pointed out, it is more logical to start with the biggest duck. If I had done that, I would not have needed to look after the move 1. ... Ne6. Automagical pruning prevents the necessity to look for a better move. There can't be one, since you are already slaughtering the biggest duck.
I was aware that only a check could dismiss me from looking at the counter attack. 1. ... Nf3+ 2. Kh1 Nf2+
What I failed to notice here, is that this is the wrong check. After 3.Kg1 I cannot take the bishop. I did though, since I had forgotten the pending counter attack.
So here you have it. I do most things very well, but time and again, little slips spoil the perfect score. A little lack of precision here, a bit forgetting there, some minor oversight yonder, starting at the wrong end elsewhere. Only a systematic and disciplined approach can help me out.
- Start with the biggest duck
- Not every check dismisses you from looking for counter attacks
- There can be more than one counter attack
- When you see two moves that seem to accomplish the same, don't be satisfied until you know which one is best and why.