Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Promotion example

The promotion problems at Chess Tempo aren't the casual promotions that occur in your average endgame study. The promotion forms an integral part of the tactical combination at hand. The promotion usually immobilizes the enemy because his pieces are bound to stop the pawn. This series of posts is intended to investigate how the promotion helps to make a combination possible.

Have a look at the following diagram:

Black to move
1R6/P2R2kp/6p1/8/8/5p1b/r6P/7K b - - 0 1

Feel free to comment already.
I will update this post later.


  1. That's funny, I got it right rather quickly but did not notice Black was in check, or that White was promoting too. Even if White could play rook back to stop the pawn (it allows Black to checkmate), White would have to give up the exchange for the pawn, and that is still a losing K+P ending. An aesthetically pleasing problem, for sure, even if not too big a deal from a practical point of view.

  2. 2083.3 - That was a surprise!

    The first thing I saw was that Black is in check. That makes the first move obvious, but there is still the potential Black checkmate threat by the Black Rook. Promoting the a7 Pawn covers that possibility for White. Things get a little more interesting after Black chops off the new White Queen on a8. At first glance, I thought of BBc6, threatening the White Rook and checkmate, allowing Black to pick up the Rook. That fails because the White Rook can check first, saving the Rook, and then move the King to g1. So, the Black Bishop doesn't go to c6 first; the BP advances to f2, threatening promotion to a Queen with checkmate. White does not have a way to prevent promotion and also save the Rook. That took less than 30 seconds total to "see".

  3. I was wondering if the study of endgame problems could help to improve the "promotion-skills". Pawn promotion is the! main question in endgames.
    As premium member at chesstempo i can see a detailed statistic of each member sorted by the different tactical motives.

    So i did look at some high rated endgame - theory puzzler at chesstempo for their tactic performance in "advanced pawn" and it was high. None of the endgame puzzler i was looking at had a relative advance pawn weakness ( in the lower 50% ).
    On the other hand your advanced pawn and your zugzwang performance is relative low. I think you simply did focus on "tactics" and did forget your "endgames" lately ;)

  4. @ Aox:

    Thanks for the link to Chess Endgames! I had not seen that site before.

  5. What I can confirm is the degradation of the tactical skills... when you do not practice it at all. Sometimes it is very painful because you lose games one after the other simply because a very stupid and simple tactical mistake.

    Playing solid chess requires at least having a solid tactical eye. Otherwise all the skills and knowledge in the world... is simply useless :(

  6. The garden is calling. So there is little time for pondering chess. That will change when the weather becomes worse.

  7. An interesting pawn promotion.

  8. PART I:

    With Temposchlucker engaged in the garden (and hopefully far from the Atlantic hurricanes), I thought I'd post this line of thought for consideration.

    While studying Dr. Betty Edwards’ book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A course in enhancing creativity and artistic confidence, I began “drawing” analogical parallels to basic chess skills. (Quelle surprise!)

    Dr. Edwards describes the transfer of perceptual skills learned through drawing to general thinking skills and problem-solving skills. She asks:

    What are the skills you will learn through drawing, and how do they transfer to general thinking?

    Drawing, like reading, is a global skill made up of component subskills that are learned step by step. Then, with practice, the components meld seamlessly into the smoothly functioning global activities of reading, and drawing.

    For the global skill of drawing, the basic component skills, as I have defined them, are:
     The perception of edges (seeing where one thing ends and another starts)
     The perception of spaces (seeing what lies beside and beyond)
     The perception of relationships (seeing in perspective and in proportion)
     The perception of lights and shadows (seeing things in degrees of values)
     The perception of the gestalt (seeing the whole and its parts)

    The first four skills require direct teaching. The fifth occurs as an outcome or insight—a visual and mental comprehension of the perceived subject, resulting from the focused attention of the first four. Most students experience these skills as new learning, seeing in ways they haven’t seen previously.
    . . .
    Turning to reading, specialists in teaching reading list the basic component skills of reading, mainly taught in elementary school, as:
     Phonetic awareness (knowing that alphabet letters represent sounds)
     Phonics (recognizing letter sounds in words)
     Vocabulary (knowing the meaning of words)
     Fluency (being able to read quickly and smoothly)
     Comprehension (grasping the meaning of what is read)

    As in drawing, the last skill of comprehension ideally occurs as an outcome or result of the preceding skills.

    I am aware, of course, that many additional skills are required for drawing that leads to “Art with a capital A,” the world of artists, galleries, and museums. There remain countless materials and mediums along with endless practice to achieve mastery, as well as that unknown spark of originality and genius that marks the truly great artist of any time. Once you have learned basic drawing skill, you can move on, if you wish, to drawing from memory, drawing from imagined images, and creating abstract or nonobjective images. But for skillful realistic drawing of one’s perceptions using pencil on paper, the five skills I will teach you in this book provide adequate basic perceptual training to enable you to draw what you see.

  9. PART II:

    Dr. Edwards then goes into a short explanation of the two modes of the brain: R-mode (System 1; visual, perceptual; right-brain) and L-mode (System 2; verbal, analytical; left-brain).

    These two cognitive twins are not equal. Language is extremely powerful, and the left hemisphere does not easily share its dominance with its silent partner. The left hemisphere deals with an explicit world, where things are named and counted, where time is kept, and step-by-step plans remove uncertainty from the future. The right hemisphere exists in the moment, in a timeless, implicit world, where things are buried in context, and complicated outlooks are constantly changing. Impatient with the right hemisphere’s view of the complex whole, the competitive left hemisphere tends to jump quickly into a task, bringing language to bear, even though it may be unsuited for that particular task. . . . When writing the original book, I needed to find a way to keep this from happening — a way to enable the right hemisphere to “come forward” to draw. This required finding a strategy to set aside the left hemisphere. . . . I laboriously arrived at a solution and stated it this way:

    In order to gain access to the right hemisphere, it is necessary to present the left hemisphere with a task which it will turn down.

    In other words, it is no use going up against the strong, verbal, domineering left brain to try to keep it out of a task. It can be tricked, however, into not wanting to do the task, and, once tricked, it tends to “fade out,” and will stay out, ending its interfering and usurping. As a side benefit, this cognitive shift to a different-from-usual mode of thinking results in a marvelous state of being, a highly focused, singularly attentive, deeply engaging, wordless, timeless, productive, and mentally restorative state.

    Dr. Edwards teaches a 40-hour course in basic drawing, 8 hours per day for 5 days. (Think of Dr. Lasker's proposed curriculum for developing an expert chess player in 200 hours.) The difference between the drawings prior to and after this instructional course is amazing! Rather than work from simple to complex, she has the students tackle some of the most difficult subjects (like drawing hands and self-portraits) through a series of exercises that are designed to utilize the right brain directly.

    Here is my first attempt at categorization of the basic components of chess playing skill is:
     The perception of contacts
     The perception of motifs
     The perception of tactical devices/themes
     The perception of combinations
     The gestalt perception of strategy—“seeing” the whole as more than the sum of its parts

    The next step is to figure out a way to cause System 2 to “drop out,” allowing System 1 to do its massively parallel “magic” of pattern recognition and intuition.

    All suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

  10. Robert,
    I will adds some thoughts on this in a few days. Jim Takchess.

    On the pawn promotion idea. Here is a pawn promotion push that beat Carlsen in a recent world cup game.

  11. Slowly progressing. The shed is no longer a lost place. In the garden a bombshell went off. (were could I else put the stuff from the shed)

  12. It is not that often there is no new article withing one month :). I hope your creative work is reaching a higher and higher levels! Good luck my friend.

    PS. I miss new articles as they are very inspiring to me :).