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Showing posts from July, 2016

### At the zoo

Yesterday I skimmed through my chess library, looking for an interesting book. When I have used a chess book extensively, it is worn out. I found a book that was looking almost new. Chess tactics from scratch, by FM Weteschnik. It covers pretty much what I'm busy with, so I decided to give it a try again. Since he learned chess at later age than most people, he had to work hard to improve his tactics, and he has experienced his improvement more conscious.  "During that time, I also solved a lot of combinations to sharpen my tactical skill. I had developed my own little routine. Whenever I thought I had discovered some mechanism or characteristic of a position, I started taking notes. The work on thousands of positions grew first into a collection of unsorted tactical insights, but finally resulted in a structured overview of tactics. Over time, seemingly unconnected information, turned into a coherent concept." Since I left the salt mines at march 26th, I have done ex

### The total amount of captures

A main flaw of my chess thinking is the "wrinkled" view I have about the initiative . "White captures the black piece with tempo. " It turns out that there are many types of tempo . The story of the tempos of a combination is often hard to tell. I think the ability to tell such story is very important though. Since it are the tempos by which we assess the value of a combination. The same geometrics of a position can have a totally different outcome when they differ only one tempo. Imagine a position where he who is to move, wins , for instance. It is by no means easy to iron out the wrinkles in my tempo view. Gain of wood If we would allow a chess game to have one more move, we would take the king in the last move. That simplifies the game of chess as the art of gaining wood. A mating attack is then equal to a trap. With the only difference that the wood that is gained is of infinite value. It is possible to see promotion as a way to gain wood too. If a pawn

### Removal of the guard

I hope you don't get bored by all those positions and analysis. I actually find it very exiting! I feel we are making steady progress, albeit slowly. My list with positions where I want to learn to see the solution in  stead of just to calculate it, becomes slowly shorter. Meaning that it is indeed possible to replace calculation by seeing . I'm in no hurry, and I take my time to grasp every detail of a position, trying to devise some rules that can be applied in other positions. I'm not interested in the very position itself, because most details are accidental, and hence limited to only that single position. I'm only interested in the details of the combination . What makes that the combination actually works? Why does it gain wood? I make little changes to the combination, trying to keep everything else the same. I add or remove pieces, and see how that influences the outcome of the combination , while ignoring the effects on the position . I change the move orde

### Rules

This is the second or the third time I encountered this position. I devoted quite some time to it in the past. I might even have posted about it, I'm not quite sure. If so, I apologize that I post about it again. My excuse is, that I have apparently learned nothing from it, since I got the solution wrong. Again. I think it is an important position, and I think it should be possible to see the solution at once. Maybe I can devise a rule or two during the process of learning how to see the solution. White to move r1bq1rk1/pp2ppbp/2np2p1/8/2PNP1n1/2N1B3/PP2BPPP/R2Q1RK1 w - - 1 1 solution The last move of black was 1. .. Ng4 . The black knight is hanging. The problem is, that if white takes it, the white queen becomes overworked. If white wants to stay ahead, he needs an extra tempo. Where does this extra tempo come from? After 1. ... Ng4 2.Bxg4 Bxg4 the white queen is hanging. If the queen takes on g4, black will get his piece back by capturing the knight on d4. White can

### When to count?

I changed DGF into DIG, since that put the tasks in the right order, and it is easier to remember than DFG. DIG = domination square, invasion square, guard. So now we get M WIMP DIG. I always used invasion square (or convergence square) in stead of focal point in the past, btw. When I tested the system we are trying to develop against practice, I noticed that we might count at the wrong moment. I started with counting right away when I look for domination squares. The reason for this is that I want to prune squares which there might be a contact, but which are not interesting. But look what happens in this position when you start counting: black to move  5r1k/pp6/3bprqp/3p2p1/1P1P4/P2QPNPP/6K1/3R1R2 b - - 1 1 solution Domination squares: f3, f1, d3, g3 Invasion square g4 If I count the situation on f1, then it is attacked twice and defended four times, so it scores minus two. But that score is irrelevant, since with two power moves, I can harass 3 of the 4 defenders. For

### See more, calculate less

My database with failures at CT has grown to 135 positions. After carefully studying them, I found 62 positions to be "easy". That is, I know them well enough to not make the same mistakes again in the future. I can now see the solution of them without any calculation or effort. 9 positions are too complex . Meaning that I cannot find the solution without serious calculation. I don't expect to see their solution any time soon without considerable study first. That leaves me with a selection of 64 positions which have a simple solution (with hindsight, after studying them well), but where I don't see the solution without calculation. I think I should be able to see the solution, though. I'm going to use these 64 position solely for exercising to see the solution in stead of calculating it. I expect to need a few hours per position. What makes it even more difficult is that such exercise is definitely out of my comfort zone, and I constantly try to escape it

### M WIMP DGF

I have been testing the three counting methods from the previous post. It turns out that only the first method is viable in practice. Counting dominated squares, or "interactions on squares" as Robert put it, is in itself not enough to solve every puzzle. A few extra characteristics must be recognized before you can figure out the whole combination. To remember them, I use the mnemonic above "M WIMP DGF" M-Material balance You can't do without evaluating the material balance. WIMP You must know what the position is about. W-Wood. Gaining wood I-Invasion M-Mate P-Promotion  It is quite possible that the theme of the position is about more than one subject. WM - you try to M-mate, and the opponent can only prevent that by giving up W-wood, for instance. D-Domination It turns out that finding the squares you dominate is essential to understand any combination. G-Guard In many positions it is key to find the defenders, and the defenders of the def

### Counting from -/-1 to 3

Robert has commented on the previous post, and he inspired me to this new post based on the position in his comment. White to move  r3r1k1/2qb1pbp/n1p2np1/4p1B1/1P2P3/P1N2N2/2Q1BPPP/3R1RK1 w - - 0 21 There are 3 separate subjects to count: Domination Tempo's Value of obligation  Domination First, you count for domination. I don't know whether "domination" is the best term for it, but it seems appropriate. You count from -/-1 0 +1 (-/- is minus sign). -/-1 = you don't own the square. 0 = balanced, +1 = you own the square (and the piece upon it). Both a6 and f6 are balanced, but since the pieces on it are both defenders, black is weakened elsewhere if you capture them. Counting for domination gives you a sense of which targets play a role. Tempo's Second, you count the tempo change caused by a move. You count 0, 1, 2 . 0 = no forcing move, 1 = single tempo move (places one obligation on the shoulders of your opponent), 2 = duple tempo move (p

### Two tempi gain wood

I have selected a problem set where the first move is a capture. The second C of CCT. Categorizing them and investigating them is an ongoing task, rather technical, so there is not much to write about. But from time to time, a little nugget is unearthed. We already know that a duple attack gains wood by the effect that two targets are attacked with one move, while the opponent cannot save two targets with one move (usually). The same principle works with captures. If you can gain two tempi with one move, it gains wood (usually). Unless your opponent has a duple tempo move as an answer. See the following diagram. White to move r2qr1k1/ppp2ppp/2nb4/8/3PB1b1/2P1BN1P/P4PP1/R2Q1RK1 w - - 1 1 Solution As you see, both a white and a black bishop are hanging. Taking the black bishop is just a trading off of the bishops. But 1.Bxc6 gains two tempi. It attacks the black rook, and it prevents the bishop from being taken on e4. So even one tempo is a defensive one! The move trades off a p