Part II focuses on the intemediate player.
Firstly: let me describe the qualities that are most often found in the intermediate player:
1) The main difference between the intermediate player and the beginning player is the ability to move and keep their pieces on safe squares for the most part. Whereas the beginner will haphazardly move pieces around the board usually blundering pieces left and right; the intermediate player has lost enough games in this manner, got frustrated and decided to look carefully around before each move ensure the survival of their pieces.
2) The intermediate player is familiar with basic opening principles - quick development, finding safe haven for the king and fighting for the center.
3) The intermediate player is familiar with basic checkmating ideas.
4) The intermediate player is good at dealing with the current situation as the pieces sit now however calculation is almost non-existant.
Let's look at some examples of intermediate hope chess.
Example: In the above position White has just moved his pawn from e3 to e4. With perfect play this game should be a draw however after White's last move perhaps we won't end the game just yet.
An example of an intermediate move is 1...Bb2?! This move doesn't improve Black's position as the Bishop on b2 serves only one "purpose" - I hope my opponent plays 2.Rxb2?? so I can deliver checkmate with Rc1#.
What would be a good move? 1...Bd4! Why? This move places a nasty pin on White's f2 pawn while simultaneously looking after Black's a7 pawn so that Rb7 will accomplish nothing. The immediate threat is 2...Rc2! creating a double attack on both f2 and a2 pawns. This threat isn't easily parried. 1...Bd4! 2.Ne2 Bb6 (keeping aim at f2 and shutting down White's ability to penetrate on the b file) 3.Rc1 Rd8! 4.Kf1 Rd2 and while the position still may be drawn with best play this is certainly not an easy task for White. Black's pieces are active and working together to apply good pressure against White's king.
The reason our intermediate friend is having trouble finding these ideas is that the intermediate player often looks at individual moves by themselves and the concept of a plan eludes them. The way the intermediate player thinks about chess is mostly in terms of one move attacks and tricks. The fact that Bd4 doesn't actually immediately threaten to capture the f2 pawn due to White's King defending it makes a move like this difficult to spot for the intermediate player because the idea of long term pressure and teamwork are simply concepts not yet grasped. Instead the intermediate player is HOPING that if enough random one move attacks are given that our opponent will eventually miss one or that eventually one won't be possible to refute.
One of the biggest examples of HOPE chess that occurs in intermediate play is playing one sided, tunnel visioned chess. The player makes their ideas based on the current position only without taking the time to realize "Hey, my opponent wants to win and has ideas too. Perhaps I should consider their response before making my move."
The more advanced intermediate has begun to see basic tactics and wants to set them up in their own games however because they continue to mostly play one sided chess don't consider how the opponent should respond these ideas often fall short.
In the above position White has just played 6.Ng5? The idea behind this move is the HOPE that the position doesn't change (for most reasonable moves stop his idea (e.g. 0-0)). The idea is to play 7.Nxf6+ Bxf6 8.Nxf7 forking Black's Queen and Rook. The problem is that once again White didn't consider Black's response 6...Nxd5! swapping the advanced Nd5 and creating a discovered attack on Ng5 from the Be7. This line at least wins a pawn after the following ideas: 6...Nxd5! 7.exd5 Na5!? (now both Bc4 and Ng5 are attacked) 8.Be2 (if 8.Bb5+? c6 8.dxc6?? bxc6! and now the Na5 has a safe retreat to b7) 8...Bxg5 9.b4 (trapping Na5) c6 10.bxa5 Qxa5 11.dxc6 bxc6 and Black is up a solid pawn, ahead in development and clearly has a superior presence in the center.
Thanks for reading!
Part III will covered the advanced player and will come soon!!