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I was recently watching a video about choosing to find a move, to make your position more advantageous, instead of just capturing pieces, at the first opportunity to gain a small advantage or to simply trade. I noticed the narrator kept meantioning the idea of increasing the tension, once you have an advantage.
I often feel like one of my downfalls as a chess player is that I simply tend to look for moves to make that don't make my position any worse, if I don't see a way to make it better. I have surmised that I simply don't know how to choose a place to attack ,that either will be the domino that makes it all crash down or where to try to make a chink in my opponents armor, to then try to exploit.
Going for the most obvious of mating attempts against a worthy opponent, usually only results in defenses that are changed, that often only lead to the need to change your position so much, that it becomes your downfall. Trying to set a elaborate decoy usually seems to leave one needing to make twice as many moves in the same amount of time to pull off.
So how to do we choose or recognize when and where to try to create this tension in the first place? Obviously, certain small advantages that can be gained, won't always win a game, but certainly tipping the balance in one's favor, is ideal.
Does anyone have any insight into this realm I have found myself delving into, that they would like to share? Perhaps we could put our heads together and grow better as a result.
The answer to me is you create tension by making threats, and those threats may not be immediate and may not be obvious at a glance.
I experience lots of fun in trying to find the best move or the quickest mate even though im up in material so for me it is quite natural and rewarding to keep the pressure and play every move to the best of my ability to create nice combinations, the latter being with more potential if more pieces are still on baord.
I like your train of thought here. I generally see any move I make as a threat to my opponent in some way, do you care to elaborate on how to make subtle or maybe unobvious threats, perhaps with even a notated example? Maybe I am too deliberate of a person, to be so subtle when it counts.
You're overthinking it.
Until you are playing Class-A players (OTB) and above (and holding your own), you really need to work on the foundation piers of your chess ability (before rushing to construct a rickety skyscraper filled with purposeless chess knowledge).
Start off with just:
1) Always be playing tactically safe (or Real Chess vs Hope Chess) chess on every move. (This alone can be considered a silver-bullet recipe for breaking a 1600+ OTB rating comfortably)
2) Before trying to mimic the great masters in terms of strategy and planning, make sure you understand the basics of micro-planning (ideas spanning 2-3 moves at best)
Really simple micro-plans are:
i) Spotting weak opponent pieces, pawns and squares and applying increasing force (threat) to those squares and forcing him to make concessions. (moving, creating more weaknesses, having his pieces tie/defend each other). This eventually leads to tactical shots opening up on the board if the opponent's weaknesses are untenable.
ii) Improving your worst placed piece or liquidating a bad piece.
iii) Avoid being the one to initiate trades unless you can justify it tactically or positionally.
iv) Identifying key pawn-break moves in any position and moving your pieces to the best squares to prepare to make a break move that benefits you.
v) Projecting/dreaming up nice positions for your pieces (from your experience, memory, imagination) and trying to get them there.
vi) Finally, all of the above in terms of thinking what your opponent's moves are trying to do => Sometimes stopping his micro-plans is even more fun (and crushing) than struggling to come up with one of your own.
No problem. Take a look, for instance, at this position in a game of mine:
It's hard here for black to make something in the queenside, my knight is quite inactive and if I try to do something here most likely I'm going to weaken my pawn structure. On the contrary, on the kingside, I have got the control of the c8-h3 diagonal with the white bishop. So, if am able to move my knight there I'm going to create some tension for sure. My opponent made some blunders that helped, but tension was granted anyway.
This is how it went on:
Interesting post, nameno. I am far from expert, but, since you asked....
I have noticed that better players seem to have more patience. What I mean is that if you or I are playing a stronger opponent, and open solidly, they will also make solid moves while also preparing for future moves. Where we see a way to attack, and possibly win, they are prepared. For example, a Master will probably take more moves to defeat a 1000 rated player than one rated at 1800 would. That is because the Master will not take anything for granted.
I believe every strong player sees almost every move as increasing the pressure or tension on the opponent. Even a simple pawn move eliminates certain positions, and, therefore, moves, by the opponent.
If it appears you are in a game that is dead even, try to look at all possible moves, and the consequences those moves will have later on. The "simple" pawn move is an obvious example, since they can't go backward.
Increasing the tension works. If you have an obvious advantage, you can "force" opponents moves.
+1. Wish I could cut and paste this into my brain, and summon it when I play. I especially like the Real Chess vs. Hope Chess line.
This is deceiving imo.
An average player (heck, even a GM) is never aware of all threats in a position. Therefore, Real Chess as said there can never be played and everyone plays Hope Chess.
This is contradictory imo.
Strong players strictly adhere to a "real chess" based thought process on nearly 100% of their moves. You are right in thinking that they may truly never hit 100% (or else GMs would never make blunders and the rare mistakes), but they are pretty damn close to "Always Real Chess".
The point of the post was trying to convey the merits of approaching this gold standard ... reaching it with 100% efficiency is another matter. Most players here don't even practice this in critical / highly analytical positions with tons of time on their clocks.
Terra, I've read about "Hope Chess" before. It's kind of a joke, but it does have excellent meaning-I make a move and I hope you don't see where I'm going. I hope you don't see the mistake I just made. I hope you don't see that you have mate in 3 moves.
I get your point; it is a fancy way to say: treat all positions serieusly.
But Real Chess as defined there just does not exist. For who can play 1.e4 or 1.d4 and knowing he can parry all threats occuring tens of moves later?
Before I come across as someone who can't except reproof or thinks I am always smarter than the next guy, please take some of my comments with a grain of salt and remember I only am trying to get you to see where I am truly coming from.
With all due respect to the idea I am over thinking it, if I can't find the right answer by thinking as much as I am, how can thinking less and making thoughtless action be a good strategy?
I surmise real chess vs. hope chess to be the difference between what I can do realistically in a given position vs. what I would hope to do. If I am wrong please clarify for me what I am misinterpreting. If I have got it right, wasn't I just saying I am having trouble recognizing what I can realistically do in a given position(when it isn't obvious) and when I attempt to(when it is to me and my opponent), I am quickly reminded. If you read my post and understand it, why take the time to point out to me what I already know my mistakes to be?
To your next comment I only have to say, anytime we play, we should strive to play like the best, if not, why play? I also hardly think me learning to pick the best place to try to gain an advantage, isn't as indepth or the first priority of the best who play the game. I doubt me trying to do what I am striving to do, as a next step in my development as a chess player, hardly quantifies me trying to adopt the strategy of the best, while scrapping the basis for one getting to that point.
I am sure that if you compare our tactics and mentor ratings, you would see I clearly have to have some idea of how to plan and carryout a 2-3 move combination, such as from the opening, trying to overload or remove a defender, thus resulting in a material or positional advantage.
I think there is actually something to be said for my ability to assess weaknesses in my opponents position. I might be able to see obvious hanging pieces, or an overloaded defender if a few key moves are made, but its the longer combinations I obviously miss. I know this because, I feel like I am looking for a needle in a haystack or trying to crack the code on a safe, with not much of a clue, as to what the combination might be, other than the numbers I can use.
I definitely could use some practice at recognizing my own worst pieces. I usually realize this after its too late. Or when I do try to cut my losses, I have found, I overlook vulnerabilites in my position or I never seem to see a way to try to get to an even game again, a skill I would love to possess.
If you would care to elaborate on the following, please do:
It seems like you mean, creating a doubled pawn scenario for your opponent to deal with. I have noticed this can mess up your end games that have even material, but a positional difference.
Believe it or not, I have been trying to use this idea below, as a template to get me where I want to go.
I am not sure why, I often feel as if I am playing many people who set out to do this very thing: here below
Then all of the piles of rickety pieces, either become trophies or a backdrop for the demise of my poorly defended king, after I have made all of my moves, either trying not to make a bad one, whilst simply trying to move, though I don't see a good one, or being sucked dry, though I try to keep the misquitoes away.
I am not sure how to defeat the opponent who is simply looking to foil my plans, though this is his main goal to beating me. It makes me feel like I beat myself.
Please if you will, try to come to some summary of what we debated/related and give me any advice if possible. Thank you for your time.
First lets be clear on the definition of "Real Chess" . Please read the article I linked to in my original post. Real Chess (as is coined by NM Dan Heisman) is being able to :
Perform the necessarly analysis (2-4 ply on average) to VERIFY if I can deal with all forcing replies (checks, captures, threats) immediately AFTER to my "planned move" in a safe manner.
The calculation of these forcing lines need only continue to quiescence (until the forcing moves stop appearing, could be 2 moves deep, or in some cases, it could be 5-10 moves deep!)
If upon performing this analysis, I determine that my chosen move is "NOT" safe, I will find another move ... and then rinse-and-repeat the "real chess" safety check.
This is merely nothing more than an "analytical safety check" and there isn't one strong player on the planet who doesn't do this in some form or the other.
Nobody said anything about "real chess" implying see threats 10 moves later ... or even 2 moves later. To your example, I can play 1.e4 or 1.d4 and still call it "real chess" because there are NO IMMEDIATE forcing replies to my move that are worth analyzing to determine if my move was safe.
Let's quote it correctly, shall we?
[quote]Not only deals with opponent's threats from the previous move but, before making their move, also makes sure that the opponent will not have any checks, captures, or threats that cannot be met after that move, and does this check on every move possible/necessary.[/quote]
No stuff about forcing moves, no stuff about the amount of moves you should calculate... Back to you.
1.e4 c5 has a dangerous threat to mate the king on the queenside. If you play a game like that you hope you can beat that. Hope Chess. No human being can ever be sure that threat can be met or not.
The definition of Threat (by the same author) is a forcing move that can win material, mate or make progress on the VERY next move if the opponent does not stop it. ... not something long term such as you refer to (mate the king)
Also, if you actually read the article clearly, you will see that calculation (analysis) is IMPLIED when he means "checks, captures and threats can be MET".
t just becomes natural for strong players to think, “Suppose I do X, then what will he do? Suppose he then does move Y, threatening Z, what can I do?” If the answer is “Nothing, and then I lose”, then they discard X as a candidate move. Of course it takes good board vision and analysis skills to quickly recognize all of the forcing “Y's” that the opponent can do to you and, further, to figure out whether the Y is stoppable or can be allowed.
(Note his mention of forcing moves). Calculation of forcing lines till quiesence (typically 2-4 ply in most positions) is something that I wager any strong player reading this forum will not disagree to.
Not trying to start a flame war here ... just point people to some good + often heard advice.
You know, I agree completely with your idea for the need for careful calculation of possible threats. I do not agree that he defines threats like you do here. Note he calls Z a threat. Y is his opponent's next possible move. You can have a lot of Y's but the threats behind those Y's is not always clear*.
It is just that no one can understand all ideas and can parry any threat in a certain position. Even if we play to our best and consider every position as good as possible in the time given, we all all play hopeful chess in the sense that we hope that our knowlegde of the position has enabled us enough safety. We can never be sure of total safety, but of to-our-ability-safe safety.
*as a simple example: your knight is being attacked with a pawn. the knight is defending an important piece. This was no forcing move, but is a threat which you should enable in your calculations.
You know, I agree completely with your ideas and the need for careful calculation of possible threats. I do not agree that he defines threats like you do here.
I actually "do" define a threat the way he does.
"A move which can win material, checkmate, or make progress next move if the opponent does not stop it. Attacks on under-defended pieces are an example of a threat. "
I understand that you probably have a very different idea of what a threat is, which is fine ... but in the context of what "real chess" is, a threat is simply what I've stated it is above. Dan's a fairly reputed NM and famous author as well as being my former coach so maybe my understanding of what a threat sways to this simpler definition as opposed to a "something far out in the future that nobody can understand / predict" which you are much more comfortable with.
We can keep arguing around this semantic forever, but it derails and hijacks this thread and I really apologize to everyone for doing so, especially the OP.
@TeraHammer: You are welcome to message me privately and continue this conversation ... I'd love to argue with you some more.
I agree - and I will.
I have read a good majority of Dan Heisman's articles. I can say with certanty that "Hope chess" basically means you do not have a plan and/or your plan is just a bunch of one move threats hoping your opponent misses your simple threats. At my level "Hope Chess" is the most common form of chess played. I think at your levels, playing this way its not quite as common, otherwise your opponents would be dispatched quickly. "Real chess" would be the exact opposite of what I just described. You play with a plan, do basically all of the stuff Shivsky said in his first post.
6/18/2013 - Tal-Starodub, Petrozavodsk 1984
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