woensdag 15 februari 2017

QC vs NIC BOOK CHALLENCE: Tune your chess tactics antenna - Part 1: Introduction

Beep! Beep!

When I gathered my material (notebook, pen, New in Chess chess book, board and pieces) to start todays chess study my mind made a strange jump. It seems that Chris has another advantage in this challenge. Not only may he use Quality Chess books but his mother tongue is english, the language in which most chess books are written. My language is dutch, so I have to translate what I read. So maybe I must ask Chris to read only books in german? 

Jokes aside, I hope Chris has fun with this challenge. I am having a blast of a time. Never thought I would put so much energy into chess. Time flies. Dont even miss TV.

Andrew Soltis wrote in one of his books that for a good chess study you have to do three things:
  1. Use every diagram as a lesson.
  2. Identify your weaknesses and make them your strenghts
  3. Practise practise practise

My weakness is that my playing style is not active, attacking. I am rather a passive, positional player. Nothing wrong with that, but when I became this year rapid champion of my chess club everybody spoke praising words of my active, attacking style of play. When I became this year blitz champion of my chess club I got again praise about my active, attacking style of play. When I play long time control games everybody talks about my boring, positional play, putting my opponents to sleep, ... .

So my first goal is to get an attractive, active, attacking style of play in my long time control games aswell. This means that I have to improve my tactical play. I could do so by solving hundreds, thousands of tactical puzzles. But I sought another way. I think I found it with the New in Chess book: Tune your chess tactics antenna.

In the 25 page introduction one gets already a nice diagram on the first page which I will give later in this blog post as an example. First I want to talk with you about the thinking process that Emmanuel Neiman discusses in these pages.


1. Global vision
Take a paroramic view without trying to grasp all the details, try to get a general impression.

With other words, just get a feeling (some may call it intuition) of the position. What impression does it give you? Do you prefer white or black? Does it remind you of a simular position you know?

2. Analysis of the position
The dissection of the position.

This you can compare with Silman's imbalances or for the older players, the elements of Steinitz. Once you picked one or two, you can try and look for a combination, with the relevant theme in mind.

3. Looking for the theme
For example, in step two you have detected that the only defense against the threat Qxh7# is the knight on f6. Therefor the theme is elimination, deflection or decoy of the defender

With other words, time to make a plan!

4. Looking for candidate moves
Time to make choices

The selection of candidate moves should be made according to the general idea. We will choose the most forcing way to execute first, and then the second most forcing, ... .
(Forcing: Checks - Mate patterns - Captures - Threats)

5. The calculation of variations
To check our ideas

Previous examinations required good vision of the board. The final stage is just one of sweating. When we deal with forced moves (only moves) the calculation is easy. Sometimes we can find positions that are more complicated, and in this case, at each step, we have to return to step 4.

Easy, isn't it? :-)

Now lets give you an example. Here is the diagram I spoke of earlier. (If you want to solve it yourself first then dont read further until you found the solution).

White to play and win

So lets try our new thinking proces.
1. Gobal vision: not hard, white is winning
2. Analysis of the position: white is ahead in material. All his pieces are on white squares so the black bishop can do no harm. The black king has no legal moves thanks to the knight and pawn.
3. Looking for the theme: Plan: to checkmate the king
4. Looking for candidate moves: Since the black king has no legal moves one must just put the black king in check.We can do this with the bishop, so we must find a route for the bishop to get to b7 without moving knight or pawn.
5. The calculation of variations: Only one variation one has to calculate knowing the above. 

? - ?
Result: *
Site: ?
Date: ?
[...] 1.¥h3 g2 2.¥c8 g1=£ 3.¥b7#

Did you find the solution?

 Now I will give you an exercise to solve, I will give the answer in a later blog post.

White to play and win 
Happy solving!

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