## Posts

Showing posts from August, 2024

### Pawns and piece activity

60% of the games are decided by an endgame, while 40% is decided by an early mate. The area of interest is: what happens when that point of decision hasn't been reached yet? What are the strategic goals for that stage? It seems that that stage is governed by the following: Increase your piece activity Restrain your opponents pieces The battle for the lines of attack Create an invasion square I formulated the following question: Currently I try to solve the following conundrum. I found two rules:   The pawn structure dictates the piece placement (Seirawan) Pawn moves are dictated by piece placement (Kabadayi) How to combine this? After some investigation I found that they meant the same. It is about optimizing piece activity and creating an invasion square. White to move r2q1rk1/pp1nb1pn/2ppb2p/4p3/2P1P3/1PN1BPP1/P2QN1BP/R4RK1 w - - 0 14  What's going on? Nc3: restricted by c6. Can you get rid of c6? No Nc3: blockaded by e4. Can you get rid of e4? Yes Ne2: restricted by e5 and

### Re-engineering

A few years ago I did the course "100 endgames you must know" from Chessable. I quitted halfway. The reason for that, is that I learned the moves, but not the understanding. The Movetrainer of Chessable invites you to do so. But that is a stupid use of the Movetrainer. What we learned from the post of July 21th, is the power of logic. Two totally different positions could be solved with the same logic: "chase the slowest piece (the king) into a duplo attack". This means that logic is the answer to the transfer conundrum, how to transfer knowledge that is learned in one position to another position. To formulate the logic in a position costs more energy than just to learn the moves. But the moves fade from memory within two years, while logic last much longer, often even for life. When you only have learned the moves, you can be helpless if the position is even only slightly different. White to move 6k1/5R2/6K1/8/8/8/8/6b1 w - - 0 1 Here again, you need the end posi

### Piece activation

I'm investigating positional play from the opening to the invasion. A lot about the conquest of the center remains unclear. But from time to time a tip of the veil is raised. For instance how to fight to increase piece activity. Black to move 6k1/5ppp/2n5/1pp1p3/4P3/1PP5/2B2PPP/6K1 b - - 0 1 Pawns have the ability to restrict pieces. The pieces need manoeuvering room. This implicates that pawn moves are dictated by the position of the pieces. In the above position c3 is restricting the activity of the knight. 1. ... b4 undermines the pawn c3. And after 2.cxb4 Nd4, the active knight dominates the game, while the white bishop is severely restricted by its own pawns. Creating an outpost by undermining. Another clear position: Black to move r5k1/1b3ppp/3p4/3Pp1b1/1q2P3/N2B4/1P3PPP/Q4K1R b - - 0 21 The move 1. ... f5 might feel counter intuitive, since it frees the white bishop. But whites king position is unsafe, while blacks king is perfectly fine. Furthermore, the white pieces don&#

### Backwards thinking redux

We talked a lot about backwards thinking versus trial and error in the past. Now I learn to use the logical narrative, it becomes more and more a replacement of trial and error. Which feels really good! Black to move 5k2/5pp1/7p/3pn3/1r5P/4K1P1/1PR2P2/1B6 b - - 0 42  Pancevski, F. vs. Van Kooten, L., Hoogeveen 2013 The logic narrative revealed a new idea. The pieces are too fast to chase. But you might be able to chase the king into a fork with the rook. Here fore you need to know two patterns. Here you see where you need to chase the white king to in order to get a knightfork And it helps to see that there is a mate in the position too. Black to move This gives a clear idea what you need to learn from this position. The logic: chase the king into a knightfork because it is slow Pattern 1 : the position of the king where it can be forked Pattern 2 : the mate This prunes the tree of analysis drastically. From the patterns you can reconstruct backwards how to chase the king. UPDATE Her

### LPDO

From "Secrets of Practical Chess" by GM John Nunn: Nunn describes a friendly match of 100 rapid games where he beat a 2300-rated player by 88-12:  "I thought that I would see lots of advanced strategic concepts in these games but actually all I have learnt is LPDO" ... During the remaining games I saw what he meant. Most of the games were decided by relatively simple tactics involving undefended pieces, when the LP would duly DO. Nunn was back then, let's say, 2600 rated (to keep matters simple). 88-12, rapid, mainly simple tactics. Okay, let's apply some caveman mathematics.  88 / 12 = 7.3 Hypothesis: every 300 rating points means 7.3 times as much patterns of simple tactics absorbed. Me 1700; Cook 2300, Nunn 2600 => Nunn has absorbed 7.3 ^4 = 2840 times as much patterns absorbed than me. The picture below shows it beautifully. Every strategy letter in the picture has a set of simple tactics attached. I must work on the total amount of tactics, but even

### Avoiding confusion

I do a lot of brainstorming lately, which leads to posts that might confuse you. In order to prevent confusion, I will elaborate a bit more every now and then. Tactical algorithm In March 2023, I defined how the transformation of knowledge into skill works theoretically. System 2 transforms the solution of a problem into a logical narrative, while system 1 looks over the shoulder and absorbs the patterns that belong to the narrative. The past 1.5 year I have been experimenting with the exact practical form of this exercise. Which type of problems, at what pace, at what detail and so on. I think I have found that form one or two months ago. Problem set 1001 Chess Exercises for Advanced Club Players by FM Frank Erwich. Pace 1 or 2 problems per day Spaced repetition by Chessable Movetrainer FM Frank Erwich provides a free lunch by annotating the moves to a certain level. GM Stockfish does the rest. The tactical algorithm is implicitly woven into the course. The material is divided over d

### Thinking for myself

When invasion squares haven't manifested themselves yet, your pieces should be aiming for the center Invasion squares are created by pawns You use a pawn own your own to undermine an enemy pawn You lure the enemy pawn away from defending the invasion square by a pawn of your own You have to wait for the right moment. Your pieces must be ready to occupy the invasion square. Your pieces determine which squares should be conquered to become an invasion square Since you pieces are aiming towards the center when there are no invasion squares around, the center squares become the invasion squares when pushing your center pawns The natural squares to develop to are Bc4, Bf4, Bg2, Bb2, Nc3, Nf3, Rd1, Re1 In chess, matters are seldom straightforward. There are moves that have an indirect influence on the center: Nbd2, aiming to support the pawn break c4 or e4 Bg5, pinning Nf6, thus decreasing its influence on the center b4, b5 harassing Nc6,  thus decreasing its influence on the center

### On the road to invasion

A line of attack writhe from an attacker on its original square to the sitting duck that tries to escape him. Along the way, there might be a few twists in the line of attack, what we called the pivotal points. Vukovic calls them the additional focal points. The pivotal points that lie in the enemy camp are especially interesting. It are the invasion squares. It might be difficult to work directly on a sitting duck (the king, for instance). It might be easier to work on an invasion square first. It is a kind of sitting duck of the second order. What are the features of an invasion square? First of all, it can't be protected by enemy pawns. Otherwise a pawn can kick you out. Secondly, you have to fight for the balance. The balance is represented by the balance between the amount of attackers compared to the amount of defenders. Only when you have a positive balance, you can occupy the invasion square. You have the current balance. Which tells you whether you are currently able to o

### In search for an algorithm

I'm in search for an algorithm that might be able to help me to decide between different middlegame moves. That proves to be not so easy. The enthusiast stories of IM Toth point in the right direction. It shows the GM games of interest that should be studied. It gives straightforward lines that tell a consistent story. But when diving deeper into the matter, devils start to popup from the details. The problem is that the only tool that I have at my disposal, is GM Stockfish. And Stockfish is notoriously bad at explaining moves. The moves in the stories of IM Toth are not always computer checked. And for good reason. You are not allowed to use a computer during an OTB game, and neither is your opponent. Hence you must play in a way that is humanly understandable, based on simple plans with positive statistics. Meaning that it is easy to play for you and difficult to play for your opponent. But when questions arise about the moves of IM Toth, you are at a loss. Since Stockfish can&#

### Ambitious plan

I formulated logic as the nec plus ultra method to acquire tactical skills about 1.5 year ago, based on logical arguments. Yet it wasn't immediately clear how the exact form would look like. The past 1.5 year I experimented with this, and for the first time I have the feeling that I have found a working method. I immediately adopted an ambitious plan to apply the training to myself the next 1.5 year. I think I have the pace right now. I do two problems per day. At average I need 15 minutes per problem. Two new problems per day is the absolute maximum. If I try to do it faster, than I will have to pay the price in the form of a lower quality. Which is just plain silly. A consequent pace of two problems per day adds up to 730 problems per year, which isn't slow at all! The spaced repetition of Chessable offers the problem after 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 et cetera hours, after a correct solution. It is not the amount of problems that is relevant, but the quality of the logical na

### Digesting the tournament

The past weeks I have been able to analyze the holes in my bucket which occurred in a tournament I played three weeks ago. And I concocted a plan based on that analysis. Tactics I have had a good look at how grandmasters solve tactical problems. And I made an educated guess what would be needed to reach a tactical level of a 2200 rated player, based on the method I have found. I deem that when I absorb the patterns that belong to about 1000 problems of the right quality, I should be able to reach that level. I estimate that I can absorb those patterns at a rate of two problems per day during a longer period of time. This would take 1.5 year. I believe I have found exactly the right problem set for that. The tournament convinced me that this should be my number one activity to get better. Center - development - preparation for king assault The second area of attention is the middlegame. Especially the fight for the center, the development of my pieces and the preparation for the assaul

### Tactics

During the last OTB tournament I was especially keen on the holes in my bucket. It turned out that tactics is still one of them. We found out lately that there are are three stages in the transformation of knowledge into skil: describe the tactic as a logical narrative without branches in the variation conceptualize the narrative to a higher level of abstraction, so you can see the forest for the trees dive into the details again, to find out about the context that is necessary to make it work When I discovered point one in March 2023, I adopted a daily training regimen. My approach was a little desultory, to be honest, since I was happy to finally shift my attention from tactics to strategy after 23 years. Yet I did my daily tactical exercises faithfully. I surely have improved the past 1.5 years. But the tournament showed me that I did not win at least 3 games where I was clearly winning, due to tactical mistakes or unawareness. I have seen quite a lot of matches lately, where grandm