Monday, July 22, 2019

More KISSing

An overloaded system II is the main reason for system I to hold back itself from learning anything. So the first thing to do is to calm down the hysterical system II a bit. Since system II isn't able to cope with complexity, we must simplify matters into absurdity. Only when system II has no longer the urge to sabotage the learning process, we can hope that system I kicks in to show off its magic. So let's simplify matters to the bone and beyond.

There are only three tactical principles that can win anything.
  • Lack of space
  • Lack of time
  • Immobility due to function
There can't be no other ways, logically. In fact all three principles boil down to the same: lack of time. Lack of space means you don't have the time to make an escape square AND to skedaddle at the same time. Immobility means you don't have the time to relieve your piece from its defensive function(s) and to bring itself and or the piece(s) it is defending into safety in one go.

Lack of space
The tactical theme that belongs to lack of space is the
  • trap

Lack of time
There are three tactical themes related to lack of time:
  • Double attack
  • Discovered attack
  • Skewer
I coined these three as the duplo attacks. You attack two targets in one go.

Immobility due to function
There is one theme associated to this:
  • Pin
You focus either on attacking the pinnee or what it is defending.

I have the following presumptions:
  • I consider mate to be a special case of a trap (lack of space)
  • I consider promotion as a special case of gaining wood
  • I don't allow quiet moves to upset my system II, so I ignore them for the time being
  • I consider castling to be a potential double attack in special cases (two moves in one go)
  • I consider a skewer and a roentgen attack to be the same
 And a whole bunch of preparatory moves
For the sake of simplicity I hypothesize that you can only win by one of the five themes I mentioned
  • trap
  • double attack
  • discovered attack
  • skewer
  • pin
 Besides these five themes there is a whole bunch of preparatory moves. They lack the two purposes in one go element. What they have in common though, is that they maintain the initiative. Which means, it are all moves which require an answer. It are moves with tempo.

I spent some time to order them. I found the following categories, all with tempo:

Activate an attacker
  • bring attacker to the attacking square
  • clearance of the line of attack
  • loading a battery

Activate the target
  • chase the target towards the target square
  • put the head piece of a pin in place
  • put the tail piece of a pin in place
  • put the target in place by a magnet move
Exploit function
  • annihilate the defender
  • chase away the defender
  • lure the defender away from its task
  • interfere the defender

Solve your own problems first
  • exchange a hanging piece
  • safe a problem piece
  • bring your king into safety
  • defensive move
 That's pretty much it, I believe. I will add the missing themes later. Remember all preparatory moves only work with tempo. I'm focusing on the five winning themes first.


  1. @ Aox:

    Thanks for the link! That's an interesting video! It reminds me of Victor Charushin's excellent The Tactician's Handbook, which is a collection of separate books, each devoted to an advanced tactical theme: Alekhine's Block, Combination Cross, Domination, Lasker's Combination, Mitrofanov's Deflection, and The Steeplechase. Each tactical theme is illustrated with many positions and games.

    @ Tempo:

    I’ve been working slowly through August Livshitz’s excellent book Test Your Chess IQ x3. It’s actually three books combined. It has timed tests of sets of problems taken from games, with suggested scoring based on how long it takes to complete each specific test set of 8 problems. The solver is given 40 to 50 minutes per problem set. There is considerable pedagogical value in the problems and games from which they are taken, because the student can see how one side set up the combination (or one side failed to take timely precautions). It is often the lead-up to the combination that is hard to "see", not the tactics involved.

    ASIDE: I’ve just finished reading Douglas Hofstadter’s and Emmanuel Sander’s 500+ page tome Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking. There is considerable “food for thought” regarding categorization and analogy-making (two sides of the same coin) with regard to training the subconscious pattern recognition mechanism. It provides an alternative [perhaps complementary] explanation for the “chunking” process. But, that’s a different discussion, for another time.

    Here are a couple of Livshitz positions that illustrate your points:

    Problem 5: 8/6pk/2b2q2/pp5p/2p1P2P/2Pr1P2/P3Q1K1/2R1B3 b - - 0 43

    Black gains a tempo [LPDO], which subsequently changes the status of e4 from [2:1] to B.A.D. [2:2]. This has a ripple effect on f3. The Black Bishop changes status from remotely “attacking” f3 to directly attacking it, as the result of the pin.

    Be alert for the possibility of pinning a Queen against the King with a Rook or Bishop.


    [Event "Amsterdam IBM"]
    [Site "Amsterdam NED"]
    [Date "1971.07.13"]
    [EventDate "?"]
    [Round "1"]
    [Result "0-1"]
    [White "Svetozar Gligoric"]
    [Black "Vasily Smyslov"]
    [ECO "D07"]
    [WhiteElo "?"]
    [BlackElo "?"]
    [PlyCount "86"]

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. d5 Ne5 5. Bf4 Ng6 6. Bg3 e5
    7. dxe6 Bxe6 8. Nf3 Nf6 9. Nd4 Bd7 10. e3 Bb4 11. Bxc4 O-O
    12. Qc2 c6 13. h3 Qe7 14. O-O Bxc3 15. bxc3 Ne4 16. Bh2 c5
    17. Nf3 Bc6 18. Bd3 f5 19. Rad1 Rad8 20. Be2 Qf6 21. Rxd8 Rxd8
    22. Rc1 h6 23. Bd3 Kh8 24. Ne1 c4 25. Bxe4 fxe4 26. Qe2 b5
    27. Bg3 Ne7 28. Qb2 Nd5 29. Qa3 a5 30. Kh2 h5 31. h4 Qf8
    32. Qb2 Nf6 33. Kg1 Ng4 34. Qe2 Qf6 35. f3 exf3 36. gxf3 Ne5
    37. e4 Nd3 38. Rc2 Nxe1 39. Bxe1 Rd3 40. Kg2 Qg6+ 41. Bg3 Kh7
    42. Rc1 Qf6 43. Be1 Qf4 0-1

    Problem 20: r1q2rk1/p3ppbp/1p1p2p1/1n1P4/4PP2/1P4P1/PB1Q2BP/3R1RK1 w - - 1 19

    Black suffers from a lack of space, specifically for the Nb5. As a result, he has insufficient time to save it after a forcing sequence of moves. The setup is a simple capture. The “sting” comes at the end as a double attack. Golombek resigned before Botvinnik could execute the double attack.

    Be alert for capturing as a means to setup a double attack.


    [Event "Moscow ol (Men) fin-A"]
    [Site "Moscow URS"]
    [Date "1956.09.10"]
    [EventDate "?"]
    [Round "1.1"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [White "Mikhail Botvinnik"]
    [Black "Harry Golombek"]
    [ECO "A15"]
    [WhiteElo "?"]
    [BlackElo "?"]
    [PlyCount "39"]

    1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 c5 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 O-O 6.Bg2 Nc6 7.O-O
    b6 8.d4 cxd4 9.Nxd4 Bb7 10.Nc3 Qc8 11.Nc2 d6 12.e4 Nd7 13.Qd2
    Nc5 14.f4 Ne6 15.Rad1 Ned4 16.Nxd4 Nxd4 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.cxd5
    Nb5 19.Bxg7 Kxg7 20.Rc1 1-0

  2. A recent solution:

    [FEN "8/4Rpkp/p2p1np1/1rqP4/5P2/1P4PP/PQ4BK/8 w - - 0 31"]

    (#71, Livshitz's Test Your Chess IQ)

    After determining White to move and material (White is up a Pawn), I started by looking for PoPs and LoAs.

    The Black Knight on f6 is absolutely pinned to the Black King - prime PoP! Unfortunately, White has no additional piece with which to attack the Black Knight. But, there IS a possibility of bayoneting that Knight with a Pawn. So, 32. g4 threatens to advance to g5, attacking the Knight. Black can try two different approaches. If he tries 32. ... Qb4 (threatening to capture on f4 with check) 33. Re4 blocks that defense [the Rook cannot be captured by the Knight as long as it's pinned].) So, the only other try is to prevent the g-Pawn from advancing. 32. ... g5 and then the stunning 33. h4. Simple counting on g5 shows that White will eventually plant a Pawn on g5 whether Black capture or not, and Black is losing the knight.

    Trying to wriggle off the hook doesn't work, as Black found out:

    31. g4 g5 32. h4 Kg6 (unpinning) 33. Be4+ (forcing the Black King back into the pin) Nxe4 (well, maybe not back into the pin, after all) 34. h5+ Kh7 (forced) 35. Rxf7+ Kg8 (forced) 36. Qg7#

    After 33. ... Kg7 34. hxg5 hxg5 35. fxg5 and White captures the Black Knight and enters the Black King's house with 36. Qxf6.

    [Event "Amsterdam ol (Men) fin-A"]
    [Site "Amsterdam NED"]
    [Date "1954.09.14"]
    [EventDate "?"]
    [Round "3"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [White "Petar Trifunovic"]
    [Black "Harry Golombek"]
    [ECO "A15"]
    [WhiteElo "?"]
    [BlackElo "?"]
    [PlyCount "67"]

    1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 c5 5.O-O g6 6.b3 Bg7 7.Bb2
    O-O 8.Nc3 Qc8 9.d4 cxd4 10.Qxd4 Nc6 11.Qd2 d6 12.e4 Ng4 13.Nd5
    Nge5 14.Nd4 Qd8 15.Rad1 Nxd4 16.Bxd4 Nc6 17.Bxg7 Kxg7 18.Rfe1
    Rb8 19.Re3 Ne5 20.Nc3 Qc8 21.h3 Qc5 22.Kh2 Bc6 23.f4 Nd7
    24.Nd5 Bxd5 25.exd5 Rfe8 26.Rde1 b5 27.Rxe7 Rxe7 28.Rxe7 Nf6
    29.cxb5 Rxb5 30.Qb2 a6 31.g4 g5 32.h4 Kg6 33.Be4+ Nxe4 34.h5+

  3. Another (better) example (Livshitz, #72) of using PoP, LoA, and Fun:
    (Unfortunately, I have been unable to locate the game score: Bakhir-Nikitin, Moscow, 1956.)

    [FEN: “2b2rk1/1pq1ppbp/6p1/8/3PN1n1/r1P2N2/PQ2B1PP/R4R2 w - - 0 1”]

    Black to move
    Material: Equal
    PoPs (Black): h2 (B.A.D.); c3 (B.A.D.); d4 (B.A.D., as long as WNf3 has to protect h2)
    PoPs (White): a3 (LPDO); g7 (indirectly)
    LoAs (Black): c7-h2; c7-c3; g7-a1; a3-h3
    LoAs (White): b2-a3; b2-g7
    Funs (Black): BQc7 pressuring h2, causing WNf3 to have to remain on f3; BRa3 pressuring WNf3 [future]; BBg7 pressuring WQb2 and WRa1 and threatening a check on d4
    Funs (White): WQb2 and WNe4 protecting c3

    Looking at the PoPs for Black (since Black has the move) in this order: 1. c3; 2. d4; 3. h2
    I didn’t prioritize the PoPs, which was a mistake. I realized that Bra3 is hanging, and so decided to “see” if it could capture on c3 rather than by moving it away. Initially, I did NOT “See” the potential impact on f3.

    1. … Rxc3 (Trying to utilize the BBg7 pressure along the long diagonal) 2. Qxc3 and White comes out ahead: 2. … Qxc3 3. Nxc3 and now WNf3 no longer has to protect against potential mate on h2, so Black is just down material.

    (2. Nxc3 allows Black to capture [with check] on d4 [WNf3 cannot recapture] 2. … Bxd4+ 3. Kh1 Bxc3 4. Qc2 and material is even.

    Evaluation: not as good as I would like to obtain, given the position. If necessary, I can return to this line.

    Suppose we could (somehow) open a line of attack from BRa3 to WNf3. HELLO! There IS a way to do this!

    1. … Bxd4+ (CCT, and WNf3 cannot capture) 2. cxd4 Rxf3. That’s brutal! White is virtually forced to play 3. Ng3 Rxf1+ 4. Rxf1.

    The “point” of using PoPLoAFun during the “vulture’s eye view” phase is that critical points and tactical factors become more “visible.”

    There is NO universal panacea for choosing a move (or variations of moves) in chess. I merely contend that PoPLoAFun is ONE (significant) part of an approach to analyzing/calculating moves, especially in tactical situations.

  4. Margriet has a major setback with her health, so my blogging will be sparse for some time.

    1. How is Margriet health issues? Are they any better? We are missing your concepts and development of chess tactics theory my friend :(

    2. She is not doing very well. It is not life threatening anymore, though. But she has a lot of pain. So beside a full time day job, I have to do the housekeeping. Since I'm not very handy in that, it takes quite some time and energy. Furthermore I try to reanimate the chess club, which happens to be in a dire state.

      I expect to be back, though. Just give me some slack.

  5. @ Tempo: So sorry to hear that Margriet is still having serious health issues. Good thoughts to both of you for her speedy and complete recovery!

    PART I:

    I’ve not been writing here lately simply because I’ve been focusing on ingraining the thinking process based on the PoPLoAFun paradigm. (I outlined that process in a previous comment.) My current ‘workbook’ is Maksim V. Blokh’s Combinative Motifs, which is the basis for the program CT-ART. Takchess had a post on his blog identifying the games associated with the specific CT-ART problems. In a lot of the problems, Blokh gives two solutions, for both players depending on which side is to move. A difficulty rating is provided for each problem. If there are solutions for both players, there is a difficulty rating for each side. Sometimes, what is relatively easy for one player can be considerably more difficult for the opposite player. I like this approach, because it emphasizes the importance of having the first move. Something else that I’ve found helpful is to always keep in mind that when working out a solution, if there is a choice between moves (or between move orders), ALWAYS LOOK AT THE MOST FORCING MOVE F-I-R-S-T (CCT: Check, Captures, Threats, in that order).

    Here’s problem 109, which is an interesting illustration of how PoPLoAFun can be applied during practical games, as well as when solving problems. The game is Blokh-Prokofiev, Moscow 1983, which I have been unable to find in my databases.

    [FEN: 2r3k1/pp1n3p/3pr1q1/3Nb3/2p5/7Q/PP1B2PP/R4R1K w - - 0 1]

    1. White is to move

    2. Black has a Pawn advantage in material.

    3. At first glance, Black’s King position seems a little loose, compared to White’s King position. But, there doesn’t seem )on the surface) to be anything tactical for either player.

    4. White PoPs: e7 (Threat: family Knight fork of g8, g6, and c8); e6 (B.A.D. [1:1}); c8 (very indirect threat from WQh3-BRc8). The WNd5 is ideally placed but is undefended, which has no significance because it is not threatened either directly or indirectly at the moment.

    5. Black PoPs: b7

    6. White LoAs: WRf1-f8; WQh3-c8; WBd2-h6; WNd5-e7 & f6

    7. Black LoAs: Bbe5-a1; Bbe5-h2; BRc8-c1; BQg6-g2

    8. White Funs: None of the White pieces is restricted by function.

    9. Black Funs: BQg6 is protecting BRe6; BRe6 is preventing the family Knight fork by WNd5. BRe6 and BNd7 are “protecting” the BRc8 by blocking the LoA of the WQh3.

    The Black Funs are the “clues” on which to focus our attention for a potential tactical solution.

  6. PART II:

    Initially, I looked quickly at trying to get a White Rook on to g5 via 1. WRf5, threatening WRg5, pinning the Black Queen to the Black King. The simple 1. … h6 kills that possibility. Just a quick look at it and then I abandoned the variation.

    The Black Funs are the “clues” on which to focus our attention for a potential tactical solution.

    I’d really like to drop the WNd5 on e7 with check. Since there are three potential targets from e7, that means Black has insufficient time to protect or move all three potential targets in one move. So, “lack of time” appears again as a significant factor.

    Slowly, it dawned on me that the B.A.D. BRe6 was the key. If it could be eliminated (or forced to move off the e6-e8 LoA), then the Knight fork of Black King and Queen would be possible. Attack a B.A.D. piece! What does White have available to attack it? The White Rook on f1! So, 1. Rf6 is the first idea. But, my logical mind shouts, “Hey dummy! Black can just capture on f6 with either the BNd7 or BBe5; he doesn’t have to capture with BRe6.”

    Let’s check that out: 1. Rf6 Nxf6 (BRe6 is now “hanging”, and BRc8 is also “hanging” in one more move) 2. Qxe6+ Kg7. There are two possibilities: 3. Qxc8 (which looks to be preferable) or 3. Nxf6 (which allows Black to continue with 3. … Rf8).

    So maybe capturing with the Black Bishop works? 1. Rf6 Bxf6 2. Qxe6+ Qf7 (apparently holding everything together) 3. Qxd7 (attacking BRc8) Qxd7 4. Nxf6+ Kg7 5. Nxd7 looks good for White.

    Since BQxf6 is out of the question, that only leaves 1. Rxf6 Rxf6 but now the main variation comes into play: 2. Ne7+ Kg7 3. Nxg6 and White is winning.

    I emphasize the importance of using PoPLoAFun to identify and focus the attention on the important squares and linear relationships. It does NOT “solve” anything; it merely provides important “clues” as to what to eliminate and what to focus on.

  7. From Blokh’s Combinative Motifs, problem 144:

    1. [FEN: R3r2k/1p4pp/2b3q1/2QB2b1/2P5/6P1/4r2P/R5BK w - - 0 1]

    2. [FEN: R3r2k/1p4pp/2b3q1/2QB2b1/2P5/6P1/4r2P/R5BK b - - 0 1]

    The exact same position, with White to move (1.) and Black to move (2.). In both cases (depending on which side is to move), the solution is fairly simple,, although the Black solution is considered to slightly more difficult.

    I think it illustrates nicely the problem of trying to differentiate between pins, skewers and Roentgen (X-Ray) tactics. In the final analysis, what difference does it make what these tactics are named? Tactical categorization (via device/theme classification) is an exercise in futility with regards to “seeing” what the position requires. It may help in identifying and collecting a series of relevant examples, but it will NOT help improve tactical vision or “pattern recognition”.

    One of the "tricks" I've learned to apply (as a result of Blokh's book) is to make an initial determination (if it can be done very quickly) as to which side is more "obvious" in terms of tactical play. Sometimes, it provides insight as to what to try afterwards for the more complicated side to move.

    Because this is a relatively simple example, I expect that few (f any) will have difficulty in "seeing" the solutions.


    1. White to move

    2. Material balance: Equal

    3. What is the problem/position about?

    Not about Pawn promotion.
    On first glance, not about gaining material.
    Must be about checkmate.

    4. White PoPs:
    Rd8 is B.A.D. (and pinned)
    f8 is [2:1]
    Black King is “in the box”.

    5. White LoAs:
    a8-h8; c5-f8

    6. Black Funs (restriction):
    Rd8 can only move along the 8th rank.

    7. Calculate, based on the available information.
    1. Qf8+ (CCT) Rxf8 (forced) 2. Rxf8#

    1. Black to move

    2. Material balance: Equal

    3. What is the problem/position about?

    Not about Pawn promotion.
    On first glance, not about gaining material.
    Must be about checkmate.

    4. Black PoPs:

    5. Black LoAs:
    g6-e4; c6-h1; e2-h2

    6. White Funs (restriction):
    Bd5 can only move along the a8-h1 diagonal.
    White King cannot move.

    7. Calculate, based on the available information.
    1. … Qe4+ (CCT) 2. Bxe4 (forced) Bxe4#

  8. [FEN: "3rn1k1/pp3ppp/6b1/2p1Q3/2P1P3/P4P2/1B1qBP1P/1R5K w - - 5 24"

    Blokh, Combination Motifs, Problem 169

    1. White to move

    2. Material is even numerically. White has Pawn structure issues (4 Pawn islands and doubled f-Pawns vs 2 Pawn islands) but has the two Bishops.

    3. What is the position about? There is no Pawn promotion available. There is a B.A.D. square (g7) on which White threatens mate. There is a latent indirect) threat by White of back rank mate. There is a possibility of material gain: the Black c-Pawn is hanging; unfortunately, the White Bishop on e2 is also hanging. The juxtaposition on the d-file of the Black Queen and Black Rook almost screams “SKEWER!” to the Robert Coble chess module. Perhaps it is a combination of threat to gain material AND checkmate.

    4. White PoPs: g7 (B.A.D.; d1 (& d8); e8; c5

    5. White LoAs: b2.-g7; d1-d8; e5-e8

    6. Black Funs: Black Queen must protect the BRd8, which is protecting the BNe8, which is preventing the checkmate on g7.

    7. Calculate, based on the available information.
    24. Rd1 (obvious) and Black can now consider two candidate moves.

    (a) 24. … QxB 25. Qxg7+ (Betcha didn’t see THAT coming! CCT!) Nxg7 (forced) 26. Rxd8+ Ne8 (forced) 27. Rxe8#

    (b) 24. … Qa5 (protecting the BRd8) 25. Rd7 (with significant positional advantage but no forced checkmate) Qa5 26. Rd7 Ra8 27. Kg2 b6 28. Qd5 Qa4 29. Bd1 and Sliwa resigned because he was losing a Rook.
    Sometimes, grabbing a hanging piece does NOT lead to Serendipity – it just gets YOU hanged!
    [Event "Alekhine Memorial"]
    [Site "Moscow URS"]
    [Date "1956.10.17"]
    [EventDate "1956.10.09"]
    [Round "6"]
    [Result "1-0"]
    [White "Mark Taimanov"]
    [Black "Bogdan Sliwa"]
    [ECO "E58"]
    [WhiteElo "?"]
    [BlackElo "?"]
    [PlyCount "55"]

    1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.d4 Bb4 5.e3 O-O 6.Bd3 c5 7.O-O
    Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 Qc7 10.Bb2 dxc4 11.Bxc4 e5 12.Be2 Rd8
    13.Qc2 Bg4 14.dxe5 Nxe5 15.c4 Nxf3+ 16.gxf3 Bh3 17.Rfd1 Rxd1+
    18.Rxd1 Rd8 19.Rb1 Qd7 20.Kh1 Bf5 21.e4 Bg6 22.Qc3 Ne8 23.Qe5
    Qd2 24.Rd1 Qa5 25.Rd7 Ra8 26.Kg2 b6 27.Qd5 Qa4 28.Bd1 1-0

  9. Chess is not always tactics. Part of the secret is to avoid the situation that the opponent can do tactics against you. A chessfriend told me once: "One secret is: you need to know how to keep it a draw" - don't burn bridges. Well, there are chessplayers with agressive openings, and they win in tactical games with their tactics. They do burn bridges, and if their attack is not successful, they lose. Then again, they win in great games, too, and their rating is where it is.

    Dont only consider how to do tactics, but consider how to spoil the chances of your opponent.
    I do block up my position often. And even though I am blocked, there is no tactical shot against me.
    I follow some rules how to reduce the chances of tactical shots against me.
    One very important rule is: the knight is the best defender for the king. Be aware of that.
    Many tactics start with sacrificing something to get rid of the defending knight.

    Dont do opposite casteling, unless you have a very good reason to do so. Just try to keep the position calm.
    Actually, your opponent could do "nothing", too. And then nothing happens. However, for most players, it is always about tactics. People look deep into openings to find traps, or attacking variations.
    So even though the "do nothing, keep everything calm" approach could be adopted by your opponents, too --> they often dont. They try and try and try to make it work, and by trying too hard, they tend to weaken their position a little bit. Then, after 40 moves of unsuccessful creating an attack, the endgame is there, and you can then try to win by exploiting his overstreched position.

    You can hardly improve in tactics, system X of Y, II or III, back and forth, it doesnt matter - you will hit a wall. But you can win more games by making the most of what your skills allow you.

    1. I have a chessfriend whos tactics rating is 300 below mine but has about the same elo. He is playing closed positions and his engameskills are way better than mine.

  10. Yes, that is well possible.
    I'd say, I am a 1900 player if it is tactics, but in calm positions and endgames I am so much better that I am rather a 2200 player overall. Which means if it is "my" position, I might be a 2300-2400 player, and suffer occasionally losses due to my tactical weakness. I can not always avoid tactics, chess is a game played by 2 players, I can only influence it from my part.
    It also explains why I comparibly bad in Blitz and bullet games, as I do not have enough thinking time to look at the greater picture in depth (= listening deep into the position), but am caught in the intermezzo of quick captures here and there.

    I am not playing too closed positions (like it happens in the KID or closed french), because in such very closed position the tension builds up, and once it breaks all lose, tactics are suddenly all over the board.

    I often play (with white) the catalan (happens by transposition very often like this):
    1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 c6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Qc2 e6 5.g3 Be7 6.Bg2 0-0 7.0-0 Nbd7 8.b3 b6 9.Bb2
    dependend where he develops his Bc8 (on a6 or b7) I play my Nb1 to c3 or d2.
    Then I aim for e2-e4, and achieve that almost always.
    Most of the time black takes on e4 with d5xe4 (though he should probably better not), and I have a calm positional game, not many tactics here, at least nothing that requires a CT Blitz rating of more than 1600 (in my opinion).

    This is not a blocked pawn chain position, and still it is rather calm and white enjoys an easy game. Often enough black ruins his position by himself, without me forcing anything.
    Example how black f**ks it up is:
    Black trades his good bishop Be7 agains the bad bishop b2.
    Black aims for the pair of bishops (strange - in the typical catalan-pawn structures that emerge, the knight is most of the time stronger, even thought the position isnt blocked, and even though there are pawns on both wings. It is one secret not well known, even GMs sometimes do not know this).
    Black attacks with b7-b5-b4 and overstreches his position.

    Only correct plan for black is to aim for e6-e5 break, and not so good is the c6-c5 break, but it might be sufficient.
    There is nothing really "winning" for white, but white keeps a tiny little edge because of a bit more easy play. Usually I get nothing out of the middle game. When the queens and some pieces are traded off, the endgame is often pretty much equal. However, black burns a lot of time (I have no idea why, it is not so complicated for black, too).
    And having twice as much thinking time left than the opponent gets me a 100-200 elo advantage (K-factor).

    Anyway, I am aware of my tactical weakness, and often I have 2 or 3 equally good looking moves. Then I always move the safest move available. It takes some time to evaluate what could happen, how could the game develop. I am not looking into concrete tactics, but look at the position and think about where the pieces could stand in the future, where are the weaknesses, and could tactics happen and where?
    I guess many players hardly think that far ahead, they rather look if there is a tactic possible, and if not they stick to a plan.
    I often do not have a plan. I wait. I avoid tactics. I move safe.