## Wednesday, April 05, 2017

### Tree of scenario's

Luckily Robert doesn't get tired to repeat his good ideas. Given enough time and sufficient repetitions, good ideas tend to land sooner or later over here. He repeatedly put forward his idea of the king in a box, and now I see where that idea belongs. I'm building the Tree of Scenario's lately.

I consider the plf-system mainly as a toolkit that helps you to identify the sitting duck. The sitting duck is sitting quietly at the end of the line, waiting for you to get him. When we know the end, we must identify the steppingstones in between. Those steppingstones can help us to find the whole line without any significant calculation. If you work from the end towards the beginning, all irrelevant branches of the tree of analysis are automatically pruned. Since you will only enter an irrelevant branch if you think forward while you don't know where you are heading.

Step 1: identify the sitting duck

A duck can be immobile in three ways:
• space (box!)
• time (duplo attack)
• function (defense)
That means that there are three types of positions, and we must identify the type of position we are dealing with.

Step 2: identify the type of immobility of the sitting duck

Every type has its own possible scenarios. Take for instance the box.
• chasing the king into the box
• covering a hole in the box
• blocking a hole with in the box with an enemy piece
• getting access to the box
Step 3: identify the scenario

Step 4:identify the best way to play the scenario

I intend to investigate the steps 2 and 3. Step 4 must be determined in the actual position. The plf-system can probably help us at step 4 as well.

#### 11 comments:

1. usually you will have several potential targets and several own weaknesses to consider.
My thinking-process is to step from ( seemingly most important ) weakness to ( seemingly unimportant) weakness and try to find a method to make use of it.

2. THIS:

"If you work from the end towards the beginning, all irrelevant branches of the tree of analysis are automatically pruned. Since you will only enter an irrelevant branch if you think forward while you don't know where you are heading."

If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

You are getting closer and closer to connecting combination (tactical) play and position play. This is the "missing link" (the synthesis) that Tomasz alluded to in an earlier comment.

Mister Lasker described the Hegelian "thesis-antithesis-synthesis" of combination and position play in the Fourth Book - Position Play:

The Plan

The thought which gives life a combination, is called the idea, the thought behind position play is called the plan. The idea has a point which surprises, which changes at one blow the state of affairs; the plan has breadth and depth which are imposing and which, by slow, methodical building, give a structure to the position.

THE METHODS FOLLOWED IN THE ANALYSIS OF A GIVEN POSITION BY COMBINATION AND BY THE CREATION OF PLANS ARE DIFFERENTIATED BY THE DIRECTION OF THE UNDERLYING THOUGHT. THE COMBINATION-PLAYER THINKS FORWARD: he starts from the given position and tries the forceful moves in his mind; THE POSITION-PLAYER THINKS BACKWARD: he conceives a position to be arrived at and works toward that position of which he is more conscious than the one on the board. He "sees" successive stages of the position aimed at and he visualizes the stage in a reverse order. If one position, according to his plan, is to follow another he "sees" the one that is to follow first and he deduces, as it were, the anterior position from it.

In looking for a combination the given position is the essential thing, in the conceiving of plans the intended position is the root of my thinking.

THE MASTER UTILIZES BOTH DIRECTIONS OF THINKING, ALTERNATING BETWEEN THEM WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT THE THINKING PROCESS.

The somewhat paradoxical finding here is that in pursuing the structural pointers to potential tactics, you have arrived at the elements required to play positionally. A significant (perhaps primary) benefit (as you described above) is the automagical "pruning" of the tree of variations that must be considered. Fewer variations to consider means faster comprehension of the requirements of the position which means increased skill.

Lots more work is still to be done, but as John Heywood said:

"A hard beginning maketh a good ending."

GREAT STUFF!

1. Robert

Now I fully agree with the conclusion. It was the MISSING element I have been refering all the time when I said: "I cannot understand the whole idea, even if I understand the variations".

With that approach (quote below) EVERYTHING makes sense to me. ABSOLUTELY everything!

[Quote Robert]: "The somewhat paradoxical finding here is that in pursuing the structural pointers to potential tactics, you have arrived at the elements required to play positionally. A significant (perhaps primary) benefit (as you described above) is the automagical "pruning" of the tree of variations that must be considered. Fewer variations to consider means faster comprehension of the requirements of the position which means increased skill".

The knowledge related to cutting of the branchess is a key. Not because it makes us work out less variations, but simply because we have to find (work out) a small difference between BIG ducks. I use this method when I teach maths. This way my students start looking at maths in a NEW way. They sometimes are shocked how easy and solid such approach is.

Thanks a lot for pointing out the missing link! :). I am very happy I can finally join to your elite group of "secret and magical type of thoughts communication" ;) :). Well done!

2. Tactical play is occupying itself with the final execution of a plan. The opponent must have already made a fatal mistake. Positional play occupies itself with the preparation of such plan. The following tools are in the toolbox of the positional player: restraining (immobilization) of the enemy pieces, and piling up against the resulting immobile pieces. Juggling with lines of attack and points of pressure. Elasticity is an important tool. In stead of putting your attacker already on a line of attack, you put it on a square where it can choose between two lines of attack. That requires elastic defense. Once the opponent commit his defender to a certain line of attack too soon, you can enter the other. Much like the feints of a boxer.

3. @ Tomasz:

I am very glad to see you rejoin this "elite" group of adult chess improvement investigators/commenters, and I look forward to your regular contributions again! Almost all of the credit belongs to Temoschlucker, AoxomoxoA, and others who have worked so hard for so long in search of the elusive "Philosopher's Stone" which will turn the base metal of ordinary chess players into the gold of the expert (if not the master) player. I merely try to follow wherever they lead.

Speaking of the Philosopher's Stone, mister Lasker alluded to that idea while elucidating The Theory of Steinitz:

The reason for a plan's having no existence a priori, is that its existence is merely asserted, and to make such an assertion requires the boldness of genius. For this assertion implies that THE POSITION ON THE BOARD MUST SHOW A SIGN, A CHARACTERISTIC MOMENT, WHICH TELLS US WHAT PLAN TO FOLLOW AND THUS RELIEVES US OF THE NECESSITY OF SEARCHING THROUGH AN IMMENSE MASS OF VARIATIONS. It is not enough, of course, to assert the existence of such signs; THEY HAVE TO BE POINTED OUT AND PROVEN TRUE. [This is the genius of our friend Temposchlucker!] Such marks, evidently, would be for the painfully seeking Chess-master what the "PHILOSOPHER'S STONE" promised to be to the alchemists. These alchemists had passionately searched for that stone many centuries, had consistently failed to find it and had become objects of derision. Steinitz had the colossal boldness to believe in such a stone, available, it is true, not for science, but for the Chess-master.

We seekers after adult chess improvement are analogous to those ancient alchemists, and after long and fruitless inquiries into the various proposed methods for improvement have become objects of derision. Perhaps as a result of these investigations, we have finally found a successful method (the Philosopher's Stone) which will enable that transformation. We shall "see". . .

We all could easily say with Isaac Newton:

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants."

I think it safe to say that mister Lasker's "shoulders" are indeed those of a giant!

3. Robert Coble said that Lasker said :
"THE COMBINATION-PLAYER THINKS FORWARD: he starts from the given position and tries the forceful moves in his mind;

THE POSITION-PLAYER THINKS BACKWARD.."

That is seemingly a CCT = "Bottom up" vs "Top Down" thinking. It reminds me to the methods of the Software engineering.

I try to do both, some bottom up, some top down. I am looking for weaknesses ( positional or! tactical ) and try to make them work ( = top down ) and when i dont see anything convincing , i look at any possible move (= Bottom up ) create a list of candidate moves...

I think there is no difference between tactical and positional play. A "immobile piece" might be a source for a tactical combination or a positional maneuver. The difference is just the amount of "gain" and the "force" of every single move.

1. @ Aox:

The analogy to software engineering is very good! For those who are unfamiliar with software engineering, here's a good review of the ideas:

Top-down and bottom-up design

In my SE experience, I usually started with top-down design ("Top down approach starts with the big picture. It breaks down from there into smaller segments.") and then implemented the solution using bottom-up (the linking together of known small tested pieces of code into larger modules and eventually systems).

Either approach can be taken to produce large, complex and robust systems. If one implements from the top-down, the implementation details are deferred until later; lower level modules are implemented as "stubs" which simply report that they have been invoked, without actually doing anything useful. If one implements from the bottom-up, then specific low-level functions are created (or, more likely, taken from a common "library" of tested low-level functions) and then "glued" together to perform higher-level functions.

The correlation to the plf system is very strong. One starts with the vulture's eye view, which is a top-down view, surveying the landscape. It constrains the eventual search to the critical areas. The PoPs, LoAs and Functions provide the bottom-level elements from which a solution can be constructed (the moves). The PLF elements provide the pointers to higher level motifs, which point toward the "solution" using tactical themes/devices, which implement the solution to the requirements of the position.

In my experience, no one slavishly follows one method or the other.

I concur with your assertion regarding "no difference between tactical and positional play." We distinguish between them for pedagogical purposes only.

4. http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1475824&m=40. Todays chessgame puzzle wtm may have something to say about boxes.

1. Excellent example of the "box"! Thanks!

5. Nice Thread. Tempo you have the initiative on this idea.

I wonder if at some point in the far future, we may end up to how we get our pieces on nice squares, create weaknesses in the opponents position and prevent our opponents from following through on a plan.

As tempting as it is to say that Tactics will appear as if published/posted in a book/website, we has some ownership in being complicit in their creation.

But then again we have plenty to go on tactics and many times I miss them when presented in games.8)

Great work,

Cheers,
Jim

6. As humans, we naturally look for plausible moves in a position that don't "rock the boat" too much. However, playing at a higher than your normal standard is usually about "pushing the play" more, being more aggressive with pawn levers and pushes, and being willing to take on more tactical-looking risk, which involves more calculation.

I can tell which players are playing well at the US Open by this standard. Maggie Feng is a good example of one who is probably pushing the play and complications a little more than she was used to (I'm guessing). Whereas, Anna Sharevich is a good example of a player who gets great positions against all opponents, but then lacks the determination to push the play in spots, backing down from opportunities (and accepting a draw offer) more than she should in spots - i.e., playing below her ability, since she actually seems more comfortable than many others when calculating sharp positions.