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KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid

KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid

Apr 24, 2015, 9:37 AM 4

I think I first saw the title acronym applied to chess in an article by former world title contender Peter Svidler. Despite being one of the best calculators in the world, Svidler still tries to simplify his decisions when he can. Chess is too complicated for even the best players in the world, so it's important for them, and ecspecially us mortals, to try to make our advantageous positions as simple and easy to win as possible. 

I thought about this topic recently when showing the end of a recent game of mine to a few friends. 

Everyone who looked at black's options at move 18, found a line that won material. They each suggested 18...Bxh6 19.Qxh6 Nf4?!
This variation wins material for black, but leaves the queens on the board in a position where black's king is open. White actually has an advantage after 20.hxg6 hxg6 21.Be4!
Instead, the game continuation forces white to trade queens and still manages the knight fork on f4. Black is simply winning.
The ability to find lines that take a good position and simplify it by making key trades or ending an opponent's attack are just as important as textbook tactics which win material. Here are a few examples of key simplifying ideas, mostly from my own games. See if you can find the path to winning ending in each example.
How did you do so far? The last game was played by an extremely talented friend of mine, IM Florin Felecan. His strong move in the diagram below convinced his opponent to resign because black knew he was heading to a lost king and pawn ending. What did Florin play? You can leave answers in the comments.

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