Thursday, September 09, 2021

Getting the juices flowing #1

 Here you see a position from Vukovic' tome. It is a tactical position, and I think it is possible to apply the method of transfer. What are the preconditions of Vukovic for this attack? What are the salient points? What concepts can be derived that are transfer worthy to other analogue positions?

Diagram 1. Black to move

r1bqr1k1/ppp2ppp/2n2n2/2bppP2/4P3/1BPP1N2/PP2Q1PP/RNB1K2R b KQ - 1 1 

I will give you some time for analysis and will update the post later in blue.


  • Chessable course: Sac, sac, mate! (GM Simon Williams)
  • Chapter 1: King in the middle 
  • Source of the course: Art of Attack (Vukovic)

Despite these giveaways,  I started to look at the position in my usual obtuse trial and error way. I dismissed Bxf5 as being not forceful enough. Only after quite some time, I revisited the move.

With hindsight it is clear that we have the tabiya of the attack against the uncastled king here. Opening the e-file is the essential goal to strive for. Apparently this tabiya is not part of my database, and hence not of my skill. The concept of opening the e-file is transferable to all analogous positions where the king is stuck in the middle. I expect the same concept to play a role in the other examples of chapter 1.

The concept has even a remote resemblance with this position where two blocked pawns are unleashed by a sacrifice.

Thinking in analogies, even My System seems to be geared around unleashing your hitherto immobile pawn roller. Do you see the resemblance?

I stated somewhere that building transferable concepts is like building a database of goals. The goal of this position is to open up the e-file, and as long as you are not aware of that, no trial and error is going to get you any further.

What other salient points are there? (to be continued. . .)

Saturday, September 04, 2021

Sac, sac, mate

 Now we discovered the way to transfer by analogy, I look for ways to train it in an efficient way.

Munich pointed out, that you can have all your pieces fully activated in the center, you still have to wait for your opponent to make a mistake. I always like his very pragmatic approach to the game.

There seem to be two methods to apply to this hickup in the game.

  • The first is to apply the System of Nimzowitsch to get your center pawn mass in motion, by annihilating the blockade. I'm studying on that one.
  • The second method, is to transit from the center to the attack method of Vukovic. It has been a long time wish of me to work out the preconditions for attack of Vukovic and to couple it to the occupation of the center.

These two methods are geared around the two weaknesses in a game you are looking for, a weak pawn and a weak king. They are the natural targets of the chess game, because it are vulnerable sitting ducks.

Nimzowitsch attempts to provoke a pawn weakness and then tries to encircle it and annihilate it in order to get his pawn mass rolling. The result being a passed pawn, or a rook on the 7th, or to drive a wedge between the opponents army.

A king is vulnerable by default, but can be protected by a stable position. Vukovic focuses on the focal points around the king in order to get an attack going.

GM Simon Williams AKA Ginger GM is known for his aggressive attacking style of play. He has made a course at Chessable geared around The Art of Attack from Vukovic. In order to wet the appetite, he has made a free course to called Sac, sac, mate. This free course contains 35 attacks on the enemy king, based on the methods of Vukovic. It has the following chapters:

🕒 LESSON 1. Attacking the king in the center.
🕒 LESSON 2. Luring the king out.
🕒 LESSON 3. Brutal sacrifices to break open the defense.
🕒 LESSON 4. Lasker’s classic bishop sacrifices
🕒 LESSON 5. Using Harry the h-pawn to devastating effect.

I want to use the 35 attacks as base for training the transfer method by analogy. I suspect that attacks by sacs contain enough tactics to improve my tactical aptness.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Results of the new openings

 I started my new openings repertoire a year ago at the club after a 5 year break. I played in a group under 1700 and scored 9 out of 12 with it. This year I'm promoted to the group rated higher than 1700.

I only knew the first three moves of each opening.

  • The London System 1.d4 ... 2.Bf4 ... 3.e3 ...
  • The Sniper 1. ... c5 2. ... g6 3. ... Bg7
  • The HAD 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 g6 3.d4  cxd4

The reason I scored well: I was the highest rated player in the group. Usually I score terribly against lower rated players though. I keep dropping half points due to time trouble. But since I'm no longer looking for the ultimate tactical shot every move, the time trouble is basically over. I look for ways to bolster the center, and give the opponent the chance to go astray. Which he usually does.

This year I will be playing against higher rated players, so I will have to adapt a bit. I'm changing the move order here and there. 

I play the London Jobava system, which is a bit more aggressive than the usual London 1. d4 ... 2.Nc3 ... 3 Bf4 ... 

The Sniper will be played with 1. ... g6 2. ... Bg7 3. ... c5, which is the advised move order. 

The HAD is the preferred opening when white plays 1.e4, in stead of the Pterodactyl variation of the Sniper.

The Dzindzi Indian, aka the beefeaters defense, is totally new to me 1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 f5

I use Chessable to book up a bit. After a month or three I should be ready to know the ideas behind the openings well enough to be able to play it against higher rated players with confidence.

I want to connect the openings I play with the middlegame ideas of Nimzowitch and Smirnov. Meaning that my openings will adapt to my understanding of their works. Right know, I focus on understanding the center and the ways of fighting for it.

Since I'm no longer throwing the kitchen sink at move two to my opponent, my games become longer. Meaning that there will become a moment, that I will have to learn some endgame strategy. Aox provided me with the right material to do that.

The general idea behind the black openings is to create unbalanced positions from the get go. Usually black gets a good pawn structure at the cost of some space disadvantage. White is invited to overstretch himself in an all out attack. Black has usually ways to blow the center open by a freeing move and start a counter attack. An extra weapon is the trading of pieces. When the white attack peters out due to trading of too much pieces, black wants to be left with the better endgame position, in which he has invested.

I have to learn a lot. Like how to play the Maroczy Bind with black, for instance. But I think this way of playing suits my temperament well.

As you can see, I procrastinate the execution of the PoPLoAFun method with transfer by analogy with myself as guinea pig a bit. The main reason for that, is that the joy in chess is back, and there is a lot to learn. Finally I will be able to apply my usual logic reasoning to chess. But no worries, the tactical training will come in the not too distant future!

Monday, August 23, 2021

Lather, rinse, repeat

 The past month I have been working hard on my four new openings. I have become a premium member of Chessable, who have a nice concept of training with spaced repetition, combined with interactive study books. That might be the direction where chess books will be heading in the future.

Rote learning of variations doesn't feel very effective. It is the lazy man's way. If you are good at rote learning. OTOH, doing nothing at all isn't very reassuring either with four totally unknown openings.

Tonight the new club season starts. I look forward to see the openings in action. Once I feel confident with them, I will continue to play for guinea pig with our new tactical transfer system based on analogies.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

My System ch 2. Open file

 The following concepts emerged:

  • A file is open when your own pawn is missing or hidden
  • Ultimate goal of an open file is the penetration of the 7th or 8th rank
  • There is no difference between play against a piece and against a point
  • Attack the defenders of the entrance point
  • A file is opened when the opponent trades a piece that is defended by a pwan
  • Provoke such caption by placing your pieces in the center
  • The file next to the exchanged piece will be opened
  • Obstacles on the open file can be removed by piling up (evolutionary)
  • Or by a sacrifice (revolutionary)
  • An open file can be used as a rooklift
  • A knight as outpost undermines the pawn that it is blocking by attacking its defending pawn
  • An outpost must be supported by a pawn
  • An knight as outpost provokes the defending pawn to step forward
  • The power of an outpost is derived from the open file and the pieces and pawn behind it
  • When an outpost is exchanged, and you take back with a pawn, the enemy pawn is blockaded. At the same time the adjacent file is opened for penetration and encircling of the blockaded pawn
  • On a flank file the outpost should be a heavy piece because a light piece has ti little radius there
  • When the heavy outpost is traded, you often can create a passed pawn

Monday, July 26, 2021

My System ch 1 Center and development

 I found the following concepts. Or "rules" if you like.

  • In the opening speedy development is paramount
  • A pawn move is not a development move
  • Only pawn moves that occupy or support the center are allowed in the opening
  • Don't move the flank pawns in the opening, unless it is a closed position where development is slower
  • Maximum two pawn moves in the opening
  • Win tempo's by threatening enemy pieces
  • Develop with one move per piece
  • When your opponent does a non development move, you can do likewise without getting behind in development
  • Don't trade pieces in which you have invested much tempo's
  • Liquidate the center when your development is impeded
  • Method 1: exchange with gain of tempo
  • Method 2: liquidate the center followed by a development move or a freeing move
  • Mobile center pawns are criminals that should be eliminated or put under severe restraint. Prison or death. Or both.
  • If you chase a piece away, beware that it has no better place to go where it can maintain itself
  • Keep your center intact whenever possible
  • Make your own center pawns mobile by undermining the restraint
  • Don't grab pawns in the opening, there is no time for that
  • Unless it is a center pawn. But that is motivated by the center, not by the wood.

18 concepts. Not bad. Needless to say that you can break the rules when there is a good reason for it. Just be aware that you are breaking the rules and be sure that your reason is valid.

Most concepts are familiar. Yet I'm not aware of it during the opening phase. That must change.

The concept of when to liquidate the center is new to me.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Putting the HAD in the COW

 For a list of abbreviations see link in sidebar.

I added all relevant variations of the HAD in the COW:

  • All variations that make the Yugoslav attack not work
  • Gurgenidze against the Maroczy Bind
  • Alapin
  • Smith Morra gambit
  • Early deviations

So I have a month before the chess club reopens to learn the basics. I'm busy to do the same with the Sniper! Which is much more work.

Furthermore I started to reread My System for the third time, but now very thoroughly. The first two times convinced me of the fact that the book comprises a complete and consistent system indeed. All chapters are deeply related. I'm writing down all concepts that are revealed in chapter 1. It is a surprising amount!