Double Triple Zugzwang (with an extra order of zwischenzug, hold the mayo...)
In reply to a question on "the thought process."
Hey, I've been working on this a lot lately because it's my biggest weakness. First, I would highly recommend coach Dan Heisman's website (danheisman.com). Click on Novice Nook articles then "subject type". There's a whole category on thought process and it doesn't cost anything.
In general, here's what I've come up with. I don't know if it's right, but it's way better than what I was doing. If you have ideas to improve it, let's do it together and beat everybody!
1. Identify all reasons for your oponents last move. All reasons, not just some.
2. Is there any move (not any good move, any move) that your oponent could make, if you skiped your move, that would put you in check, capture a piece of yours, or threathen to capture a piece of yours. If you were playing the other side against yourself, can you find any positive tactics? If the answer to any of these (in order) is yes, can you defend against it when your opponent makes the move, or do you need to defend against it now. This decision affects step 4. Well, maybe it effects it. Definitely one of the two. Also, is there a limit to the number of comma's you can use in a paragraph?
3. If there is no threat, then decide what your opponents general goals should be. Is he playing for a kingside attack? Trading her bishops for your knights and closing the position? Knowledge is power.
4. Now, is there any move you can make, in the following order: Can you check the opponents king in any way? Can you capture a piece? Can you threaten to capture a piece. Identify the answers to the questions, even if they're bad answers, because maybe there is another move you can make now that will make it a great answer on your next turn. Note, if there is a threat you have to deal with from step 2, then limit your candidate moves to only those than defend against the threat, or set up an attack that makes up for it.
Using the king of the hill method, the very first move you consider is your king of the hill, even if it costs you a queen, two rooks, a bishop and two nights for a pawn. It's the best move you've found so far because you haven't looked at any others. Now go through the checks, captures, threats and tactics, comparing each candidate to the king of the hill. If it's better, it's the new king of the hill. IT IS NOT THE END OF THE PROCESS. If it's not better, throw it at your kid sister and move on. Also, don't evaluate the move. Evaluate the position following quiencience, which I believe is a french word for "the shit's hit the fan, but it's all over now."
5. Vision: If there's not a move you "have" to play, then evaluate the position and understand what it calls for. Defend and try for a stalemate? Sac your queen and rook for the initiative because you can mate with a knight and bishop afterwards? Just understand the overall requirements of the position.
6. If you've made it this far and don't see a move that you absolutely must play, then it's time for positional considerations. I've read that positional considerations should take place before tactical ones, but coach Heisman disagrees and I trust him.
7. (or 6a., I'm getting confused). Positional considerations would be: (I think in order of importance, but I'm not sure.)
- Any move that can improve king safety and needs to be played now. If you get checkmated, you lose the game.
- Any move than can increase the activity (current or future) of your pieces or decreases the activity (current or future) of your oponents pieces.
- Any move that can change the balance of space in your favor, either by controlling an important square in your opponents camp, or by contensting an important square your opponent controls in your camp.
- Any move that can increase your development, or hinder your opponents development.
- While considering positional moves, understand that sometimes it is better to block before you punch. Consider moves that limit your opponents counter-play just as much as you consider those that improve your position.
13.a.II.V.7.L: Finally, assuming you have some move in mind, check to see if it's a safe move. To do this, look at every move the opponent can make after your move that can check you, capture a piece, threaten to capture a piece or create any other tactical or positional advantage for your opponent. If it's not safe, rinse and repeat. Imagine that Bobby Fischer or Paris Hilton comes up to you and asks you to prove than the move you are making is wrong. Not right, wrong. Can you do it? If so, it's a bad move. If not, get 'er done.
Adding another paragraph after the one that started with "Finally," I must say that this is the plan I'm trying to put into practice. My goals are to never be surprised by the move my opponent makes after my move, and to find the best move in the position in a reasonable amount of time. If this isn't the right way to do that, somebody please let me know.
Also, if anybody knows of an all-you-can-eat bacon resturaunt, can you give me the address?