Notes on a few Principles

Laoscala
Nov 26, 2008, 12:00 AM |
1 | Strategy

Chess principles are not a list of don’ts like the ten commandments. Rather they are more like a list of do’s which all work together such that if you heed them, they will not only improve on your capabilities but tell you things like:

• What stage of the game you are at

• What to look for at a particular/any stage in the game

• What to expect in following them

• What it will take to win

• What to do next, and so on.

NB: this is not nearly an exhaustive list!

Chess Principle 1) From the centre come strength and mobility. This is true for most fighting arts as well. The reasons however are obvious to many.

Chess Principle 2) The more strongly positioned Player strives for Supremacy; the weaker for Equality.

This one isn’t hard to grasp but will also be used to build a theory.

Chess Principle 3) Continual albeit incremental use of force is detrimental to long-term strategy.

I.e. At some stage you must hand back Strategy. E.g. Castling is permitted here or the movement of a piece in a rather “unforceful” or “non-committed” manner. This does not mean to say however that the move will necessarily be unplanned. But you should not panic if it is not.

In any case, the explanation of this principle is rather like explaining a fight in that after the surprise element has been all but used up by the opponent who took the initiative in the first place, any further employment of force may result in the other competitor not having to guess what will take place next and hence be prepared for the use of force. In Chess, this happens when the first opponents developmental combinations have all been used up for the time being…i.e. the first opponent has run out of developmental/forceful/advancing combinations due to more rapid development in previous stages of the game. Considering that combinations are like the fuel in a car in a race, it seems that the first opponent then may need a Pit-Stop before continuing to advance. Otherwise he will run out of fuel – or in the case of a fight, his opponent will easily see his punch (move) coming and may quite easily step out of the way and use his own weight to throw him to the ground…much like in Chess. You see you can’t make up for Strategy that is not available to you. Once Used, it remains used.

A way around this may be to feign strategy in moving a piece which has little impact on remaining strategy/combinations, rather like a sucker punch in a fight. Another way to describe what is going on is a bit like saying to your opponent, well you’ve experienced my impact on the fight/battle…now let’s see what you’ve got. This may in fact be important because ultimately you have to know what you’re up against…i.e. you have to know what his next move is, what he will do next so you will know how to respond or RE-act…after you’ve softened him up (hopefully). Alternatively if you don’t heed this advice, your opponent will adapt to your tactics.

Chess Principle 4) Commitment and Committing

With every move you must commit. However in having a choice of Pieces to move, especially in the event you are setting up or laying a trap, try to get the most out of committing the least force to achieve maximum gain and thus give away the least of your strategy i.e. make the subtle move earlier than the bolder if strategy allows. In doing so you will hit harder when it counts resulting in a deeper level of thought in planning your way to the win.

Chess Principle 5) Victory goes to the Player who makes the 2nd last mistake

The stronger player must go about avoiding manipulative, albeit “weak” traps set by his opponent. However, most likely the trap will be in simply going ahead with the pre-arranged plan that the stronger player had in mind. Thus if the stronger Player had previously considered the best possible move to at least retain the same amount of force used against his opponent or even if to gain at this point, and his opponent does something unexpected i.e. does something weaker than expected, it is up to the stronger player to avoid falling into the trap of following his original plan and thus producing the last mistake.

In fact, you may say that the stronger opponent should/must turn his attention to punishing the weaker opponent for being weaker than expected. This is true. Otherwise the tables will turn and turn fast.

You may ask what is in it for the weaker opponent to tempt then? Well, the weaker opponent, in going for the win, must tempt to win…he cannot force the win as the stronger opponent can. This leaves the weaker opponent a little weaker every unsuccessful attempt at manipulation…but if the prize is worth it, he must simply go for it. The other option is to be satisfied with a Draw – if possible.

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