Systems, styles and methods of playing chess

Systems, styles and methods of playing chess

Feb 6, 2017, 1:45 AM |

Good morning and evening chess enthusiasts and get ready to greatly expand your understanding of chess!  


This week I have been learning about the styles (systems of thought, values and beliefs) of the World Champions.

  1. Paul Morphy 
    1. Lead in development in open games leading to win through sharp accurate attacks.

  2. Wilhem Steinitz
    1. Accumulation of positional advantages through pawn structures, posts or key files, including bishop pair and bishop over knight, leading to winning positions & attacks
    2. Position for both sides is like a chain with weak points.  Stability of position is gauged by weak points which must be improved (if yours) or targeted (if opponents).
  3. Emanuel Lasker
    1. Piece coordination by
      1. pieces targeting single weakness
      2. pieces protecting one another
      3. pieces covering maximum squares
    2. Two weaknesses is one too many.
    3. Attack converts positional or dynamic (development) advantage into material proportional to the degree of advantage beforehand.  Positional sacrifices follow this proportion.
  4. Nimzowitsch
    1. Control center w/ pieces rather than pawns
    2. Center control is a must and allows easy switching from side to side.
    3. Wing/side attacks are in error if no equal share of central control
    4. Understand opponents best plan and prevent it
    5. Knights blockade passed pawns
    6. Fianchetto + Horowitz (side-by-side) bishops to attack enemy king & control center
    7. Outposts, squares which can't be attacked by pawns
    8. Rooks & queens on semi/open files
    9. invasion of rooks and queens to 7th rank
    10. overprotection of vital pieces or squares
    11. attack base of pawn chain (sometimes front as in french advance f6)
    12. Open with a lead in development, create a weakness by positional play, attack thru combinational play, win material or positional gain, plan for endgame with positional play, then mate with combinational play.
    13. Positional play (magnetic) gives birth to combinations (electric) which gives birth to position.
  5. Capablanca
    1. Endgame mastery
    2. Long combinations are strategic since they often lead to the endgame
    3. play balanced simple openings
    4. control the center with pawns
    5. exchange all pieces, keeping the knight vs the bishop, then fix pawns on opponents bishops color forming a rigid structure (closed game).  Use your knight to jump over pawns and attack one or two.
    6. Centralize king
    7. Queen and knight compliment well for mate
  6. Alekhine
    1. Focusing on pawn structure and the creation of strong and weak squares
    2. Active and passive pieces
    3. Go for bishop pair
    4. Good and bad kings
  7. Euwe
    1. Before attacking king make sure:
      1. control of center or center stable enough opponent can't cause serious action
      2. get as many pieces possible for available play
      3. open as many lines/diagonals as possible
      4. bring in pieces with tempo so no defense can be made
      5. sacrifice to bring right piece to right square
      6. strip king from protection
  8. Botvinnik
    1. Take opponent into your own analyzed territory
    2. Complex middle-game with minimal exchanges and its over before the endgame.
    3. Developed many opening systems
    4. creation and utilization of space advantage
    5. flank attacks with open centers and in order to control center
  9. Lipnitskty
    1. After gaining center, strengthen it and use it to launch attacks
  10. Smyslov
    1. Create simple and uneven positions favorable to your own pieces and play the endgame flawlessly.
  11. Tal
    1. Accurate attack
    2. keep enemy king in center and yours away from center until the endgame
    3. breakthrough in center, mobilize your pawns with initiative to restrict opponent and create new advanced posts
    4. increase assault ratio through initiatives gaining more pieces to attack king than there is to defend with
    5. open invasion trajectories (files and diagonals)
    6. open communication lines for own pieces while disrupting opponents communication lines.
    7. take pieces near king, eliminate kings defenders and destroy kings fort
    8. as long as opponent isn't castled seek pretext for offensive
    9. don't give up center pawns
    10. piece can be moved by enemy king to open possibilities while subtly increasing assault ratio.
  12. Petrosian
    1. Prevent opponents offensive capabilities
    2. put pieces on white squares controlling dark squares with pieces (knights or dark bishop)
    3. Exchanging rook for knight or bishop
  13. Spassky
    1. Strong mobile center and free development
    2. Direct attack on enemy king
    3. Subtle maneuvers
    4. Defending inferior positions
    5. Good Endgame
    6. No losses with Kings gambit
  14.  Reshevsky
    1. No fear, fighting spirit, great desire to win, stubborn defense, not discouraged in inferior position
    2. balanced position and assault, not too aggressive or passive
    3. play slow in the beginning, then under time pressure win due to won position
    4. use tactics to get position
    5. pressure kings pawns to make them move then destroy them
    6. sac piece in endgame to get passed pawn
  15. Fischer 
    1. Treated draw as a loss
    2. Fischer endgames R+B+Ps vs R+K+Ps 
    3. Always look for a winning move
    4. Lost games in order to win
  16. Karpov
    1. Ensure win or escape with draw
      1. Material strength is starting point of position evaluation, when equal accent is shifted to 6 reference points.
      2. Player with material advantage systematically exchanges reducing # of active pieces to become more dominant, taking to position to a theoretically won endgame position.
      3. Excellent endgame play is a must.
      4. The weaker/defending side strives for tactical complications in irrational positions where material advantage loses significance.
    2. Three questions must be constantly asked
      1. what is threatening me?
      2. what else can my opponent do
      3. what else can i do
    3. Control over important lines, files, ranks, diagonals greatly influence the advantage.  Four strategies for fighting for different types of open lines:
      1. Breakthrough in center to mobilize forces fast to any part of board.
      2. Breakthrough between center and flank on c and b files
      3. Attack on edge, a file is farthest from king in short castle.  Opening outside file diverts forces from king side towards queen side and provides chance of opening king side or leads to outside passed pawn for the endgame.
      4. Dangerous diagonals, at great cost controlling long diagonals even by way of rook sac to opponents bishop.
    4. Pawn structures strong and weak squares influence plans, actions and results of both sides.  Pawn structure determines course of game.  Carlsbad structures lets white choose between pawn minority attack, break in center, king side attack, undermining center or counter attack on queenside castled position.
    5. The center and space.  There are 5 types of pawn positions in center each with precise plans of attacking and defense.
      1. In games with closed center with fixed pawn chains play moves to flanks with pawn storm to clear a path for attacking pieces.  Attacks take place on side with open lines or where superiority of forces can be created in shortest time.  If opposite side castling attack always where enemy king is located.  For defense counter attack on other side or put obstacles in way of enemy attack.
      2. In games with static center with central pawns fixed in pairs, manoeuver to battle for central squares and once center is at peace, , switch attacks to flanks at right moment.  Or obtain initiative with peaceful center and look for active play on flanks.
      3. In games with dynamic center where pawns are not yet fixed, in open or semi open openings, can transpose to the other 4 pawn positions.  Keep careful eye on center to foresee coming changes.  Convert this position to suite your playing style or situation.  Be cautious towards opponents flank attacks.
      4. Mobile center where center pawns can move.  Blockade mobile center, attack central pawn and occupy squares in front of enemy pawn with our pieces
      5. Open center with no pawns in center makes sharp active tactical piece play.  Action is to take the central lines and important squares.  First achieve center superiority, then create weakness in enemy camp, next make coordinated piece attack where opponent is weak.  As defender, defend weak squares bringing protection to the flank under attack.
    6. Most important law is restricting mobility of enemy pieces and increasing your own pieces.
      1. Make enemy piece occupied/tied down with defense of another pieces or square.
      2. attack two or more pieces or important squares at same time.
      3. make opponent move pieces in way which takes essential square away or dis-coordinates enemy pieces
      4. attack square where opponents piece can move, blockading path, controlling or occupying it with your pieces or your enemies pieces.
    7. 3 stage evaluation and plan
      1. compare above reference points
      2. choose a plan, attack or defense depending on evaluation of reference points.  Evaluations:
        1. Better position: if you have advantage in development, try to prevent opponent from completing mobilization of forces by choose as opportunity arises, moves that present concrete threats, forcing enemy to waste time and energy deflecting threats.  Often theres are tactical blows to open game and get to enemy king.
        2. Equal position:  go peacefully, aggressive action can backfire here.  Long period of positional or tactical maneuvering starts as both sides try hard to avoid making weaknesses while trying to create weakness in enemy camp.
        3. Worse position: slow down opponents attack by simplifying position by exchanging the enemy attack pieces.  Once slowed down prepare for counterattack.
      3. Strength & weakness of chess pieces knowing each pieces limitations and how to trap each one of them...
    8. Kasparov
      1. 3 elements of chess game, material, time  and quality of position.
      2. Trade material for time (speed of attack) or position (making his pieces work better than counterparts).
      3. Equal emphasis to all 3 phases of game.
      4. Goal of opening is to get favorable middle game and goal of middle game is to get a favorable endgame. 
      5. Best at exploiting space advantage
      6. loves putting knight on f5 to pressure enemy king
      7. focus on center control to swiftly change attacking sides
      8. expert solving complex middlegame positions
      9. Bring opponent out of comfort zone in opening or middle game.
    9. Kramnik
      1. Keep patience
      2. Determine the most correct positional placement of your pieces and your opponents pieces.  Following prophylaxis do not allow your opponent to take his piece to the best positional square.  Place each of your pieces to their maximum pressure position.  Continuous struggle of occupying the best squares while not letting opponent do the same.
      3. Only when all your pieces are positionally exerting maximum pressure on their best squares, launch an aggressive attack on the enemy weakness.
      4. Long and complex positional maneuvers with positional accuracy.
    10. Topalov
      1. Crowd pleaser, taking the game to risky unclear lines in opening or middle game
      2. Prepare to use long endgames to win while using superb tactical skills to come on top in endgame.
      3. Take attacking initiatives, calculated risks with computer like accuracy, he has been accused of cheating, especially when he has long winning streaks, but he's a natural
    11. Anand
      1. Tactical style but adjusts to situation quickly.
      2. Finds genius conclusions by linking much evidence together.
      3. Links one improvement to another, making a series of moves which lead to success.  One move isn't devastating but the series of moves are.
      4. Strong in opening preparation.
      5. Likes simple chess, solid and aggressive play.
      6. Can calculate a deep series of moves quickly and accurately.
      7. His quick moves are dangerous and usually well thought out.
    12. Carlsen
      1. Versatile openings with experiments, deep positional play and accurate endgames, takes game to his analysis with prepared positional maneuvers.
      2. Inferior positions defended well to win or draw.
      3. First book, "Find the plan" by Bent Larsen.
      4. Originality of analysis and plannings.
      5. Exploits very very small errors with long maneuvers.
      6. Play closely resembles Houdini or Rybka engine.
    13. Smirnov System
      1. Control center with pawn moves first, then knight moves, then bishops then queen to connect rooks, then centralize rooks on c,d,e,f files all the while keeping your king safe.
      2. Move long range pieces like bishops and rooks as close to control squares of the king as possible, in opening only bishops need be moved.
      3. Castle whichever side is best for particular situation or opening requirements.
    14. Synthesis of ideas... (can be found in my book only)
    15. My system... (can be found in my book only)



Everyone plays chess different.  Each person judges and weighs positions according to principles, intuition or countless other factors.  If a persons factors are weighted/valued more correctly than his opponent he should win.  But here is the interesting part...Tell me, what is the most important factor to consider for winning chess?  (I hear you all saying: "it depends", "king safety", "center control", "development", "activity", "mobility", "attacking", "flexibility", "psychology", "studying", etc, etc, etc)  So we mortals do have difficulty even answering this question.  What's my point?  Well, if someone truly knew this most important factor, (i do) and the factor was prioritized over other factors in chess (that's what i did), then the result would be a win against any opponent  whose factors were not as pure, fundamental and most important.


Ever wonder how a GM plays such great chess even during speed chess?  I wondered that too, but now i know each GM has a set of factors with values corresponding to prioritization which are much more correctly ordered than the values of lesser players.  But the kicker is from my viewpoint you can see how much GMs don't understand.  For instance, because computers calculate on programmer defined values who do not know even the fundamental principle to all of chess, the programs spit out second rate lines no matter their speed.


I value one factor above all others and the results were instantaneous.  Chess at the GM level becomes the starting point of my method and it is strong enough that it allows me to beat Super GM engines and's engine (easily) as well as countless top experts and 1 master and counting...


However, Stockfish 8 is much more difficult for my method which i found needed refinement at about 3300 elo.


For all of those interested I have been taking time off to write a book which is helping me refine my method.  It is my hope that all of chess will be transformed quickly by greater understanding like no other time in all of chess history.