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STRATEGY AND STRATEGIES

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Much has been written about strategy and planning. When I started to play Chess I dreamed with the “perfect” game: I would play the opening, I would devise a single grand ( enormous, magnificent,unbeatable ) plan and I would carry it out in style. Everybody would congratulate me, asked my advice and the game would find its place in the books. –End of dream.

Of course it is nearly impossible to do that. Chess strategy has become a very subtle and refined element these days, perhaps due to the predominant rôle of opening preparation and today’s tactical approach (GMs try to finish off the game quickly and at the minimum risk of losing, if possible.)

In the world of CC, some players are trying to rethink all this matter because we have to fight against program-aided opponents. The tactical brute force of today’s engines can only be met with accurate strategical play so as to try to baffle the computer: human abstract thinking vs. engine calculation superpowers. Yet this is only in theory and (perhaps) in an ideal world… Reality is very different as CC players know. Why?.- Because in fact, I guess we all are doing the same at home…

I have already written that I grew up reading Chess literature produced in the former Soviet Union: Kotov, Karpov,Petrosian, Botvinnik, Lipsnizky,… So, I suppose I acquired a rather “academic” (right or wrong) approach: a good game had to contain good strategical plans, you cannot do without that. With the books by Pachman, Koblentz, Suetin, etc I learnt tactics and more strategy, then hundreds of Chess books began to appear on my bookshelves, mainly books published by British or American GMs. Others were Russian/East German editions that my kind opponents sent to me as a present. In one of the English editions, G. Abrahams wrote the following wise words (“The Chess Mind“): Strategy (…) is at its best when it is least perceptible.(…) (The master) has seen the tactical lines and has valued the permanent features: but always of the specific position”

So, strategical thinking cannot be separated from tactical calculation. The key is to prevent all the opponents’ tactical counterplay and then liquidate the position. Apparently and if you have managed to expose your opponent’s weaknesses, this strategy would pay its dividends. Thus: 1) creation of weaknesses ;2) Prevention of counterplay; 3) Transformation of the position.  In the process you will have to deal with threats, unexpected moves, your own mistakes and your opponent’s will to beat you . Perhaps  this is the secret to success …? Of course not!!  In the past I thought most of the glorious ideas I read in books were a sort of absolute truth. But then , when I try to play the game nothing of that happened/ was likely to happen, etc. 

So my advice is this: Never, never blindly believe  what people write in books. Books must be servants, not masters. Refer everything you read to your own experience. The map is never the battleground. Even GMs may be writing by a lot of different reasons, and bear in mind NOBODY , LET ALONE PROFESSIONAL GMs .IS GOING TO REVEAL ANY SECRET. Study good books, and, above all, study good collections of games with good notes. And do your own work. Now look at the following game : it was acclaimed as a rare masterpiece containing a single grand plan which comprises the whole game !

W.: Keres (1)

B.: Euwe (0)

Match played   in  1940

1. d4  Nf6/ 2. c4  e6/ 3. Nc3  Bb4/ 4. Qc2  Nc6/ 5. Nf3  0-0/ 6. Bg5  h6/ 7. Bh4  d6/ 8. e3  Qe7/ 9. Be2  e5/ 10. d5  Nb8/ 11. Nd2 (Here Keres envisages a grand plan. The idea is to play f4, force the exchange minor pieces, play e4, open the a/h files , attack c7 an g7  and play f5 This threats will provoke Black’s …g6 so weakening g7/f6 and h6. The attack will force Black to accept more weaknesses in his position. You play with threats so as to force your opponent to make defensive/weakening moves. As Nimzowitsch would say, there is the main melody and the accompanying music…):

11…, Nbd7/ 12. 0-0  a5/ 13. Rae1!  Re8/ 14. f4! Bxc3/ 15. Qxc3  Ne4/ 16. Nxe4  Qxh4  17. g3  Qe7/ 18. Bg4!  Nf6/ 19. Nxf6  Qxf6/ 20. Bxc8  Raxc8/  21. Rf2  b6/ 22. Re-f1  Qg6/ 23. f5!  Qf6/ 24. e4!  c6/  25. dxc6  Rxc6/ 26. a4  Kf8/  27. Rd1  Re-c8/ 28. b3  Ke7/ 29. Qf3 ( over to the K-side), Kd7/ 30. h4  Kc7/ 31. Kf1  Kb7/ 32. Ke2  R8c7/ 33. Rh2  Qd8/ 34. g4  f6/ 35. Rg2  Rc8/  36. Rg3  Qd7/ 37. Qd3  Qf7/ 38. Rh1  Rh8/  39. R1-h3  R6-c8/  40. g5!  hxg5/ 41. hxg5  Qc7 (d6 must be defended) 42. Qd5  Ka7/ 43. Rd3  Rxh3?!/ 44. Rxh3  fxg5/ 45. Rh7  Qe7/ 46. Kf3!  Rf8/ 47. Kg4  Rf7/ 48. b4!  axb4/ 49. a5!  Qb7/ 50. axb6  Kxb6/ 51. Qxd6  Ka7/ 52. Qxe5  b3/ 53. Rh3!  Rf6 / 54. Qd4  Rb6  55. Rxb3 , Black resigns. 

Apart from studying the planning in the game, it is very important to realize how that planning is carried out by means of threats. Chess is a game of threats.

QChess.

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Written by QChess

November 22, 2013 at 8:12 am

Posted in CHESS, Strategy

Tagged with ,

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