Monday, December 11, 2006
About Plans
To continue my last post. Chess players should plan. Even simple plans are preferable to a move-by-move listless play. This is well understood by now. The only thing is that weaker players does not have the necessary experience to know the correct plan in any given situation. This can only be remedied by playing supplemented by book study. Not book study supplemented by playing, ok. Experience is the best teacher in my opinion and trying to learn from books is not nearly as effective I think.

Active plans are best. However, one of the best advice i came across was from Simple Chess (Wait, did I just say learning from books is not as effective? That tells you I'm a flip-flopping idiot. Don't forget this fact when reading my posts. Not for a second).

Lets give the mike to Michael Stean:

"When you have a spatial advantage, there need be no hurry to form an active plan. That will come in due course. The important thing is to keep your opponent bottled up and put the onus on him to create active play"

This simple advice has done wonders for my game. This is for when you have a spatial advantage, but i have applied this even when i have not. I mean, when i don't know what to do, i just sit in my had and let my opponent dictate the course of play. Hmm - this doesn't sound right. When I don't have a plan in mind, I think about what his plan is and try to mold my actions accordingly (If I feel my position is optimal, and i dont know what to do - I don't do anything. I just wait for his actions and try to poke holes in them). There, is that better?

For example, take these positions from two of my latest games

Game 1.
Here I had a hunch my opponent wanted to play Bh6. A direct attack on my position. At this point, i wasn't thinking of attacking. I was thinking of "Hmm, let me give him enough rope to hang himself." So my next move was (try to guess..). Btw: I don't know what happened to my opponent here, but i think he must've been drunk or something. He did play Bh6 and launched a speculative attack. But I remember thinking, "My position is sound, why are you attacking stupid!?". (Shoot, I hope EdFix is not reading this. Otherwise he might take offense and try to crush me everytime we meet. -No offense EdFix. Its just what I though ok. Just being honest =>)

EdFix (1881) vs. Nezha (1737)

Black to move

Game 2.
This is a slightly complicated example. Here, my opponent will have to play e5 at some point in the future. He might not play it i know, but if I were him it couldn't be helped. So I didn't try to do anything like advance my queen-side pawn or do some queen-sally or some such thing. I just waited patiently for that move. Just quietly preparing for it. The line of thinking was "Well, I can't prevent it anyhow. Let him try it and see what happens".

RedPimpernel (1671) vs. Nezha (1726)

Black to move

Now, we can say "Anybody would have done that". But that is not true. If I were playing this position a few years ago, what I would had been thinking was "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and would had been trying to aim my battering arm on a target. Any target. The need to do something "active" would had driven me forward to some pawn push, some bishop attack or anything. Just as long as its a move that allows me to feel I'm "progressing".

Playing this way. I'm starting to understand what Lasker called the "Balance" in chess. After achieving an optimum position, I'm starting to think that maintaining that position is very, very important. Sure I can try to think of trying to achieve something like trying to determine the "best" move in a position using things like the Sillman list. But I'm starting to think that the plan of achieving, and maintaining balance in an equal position is a good plan too.

Its because thinking in chess is very hard after all. Perhaps it is better to just empty my thoughts and wait for events to come to me (Its called the "MU" in Japanese. The state of emptiness..) This way, perhaps my opponent will make an error trying to come up with the best move? Its a very (fatalistic?) passive way of thinking i guess, but hey! it worked here so, can't argue with success..

Whew! Thats too much philosophy for one day.

(Btw: Regarding game 1, I played Nc4 helping him carry out his plan (Bh6). I saw a tactical trick as a result of focusing on the idea of allowing Bh6)


Complete game score for the two games

RedPimpernel (1671) vs. Nezha (1726)
1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 d5 3. d3 Bg4 4. Bg2 Nbd7
5. O-O e5 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. Re1 O-O 8. c3 c6
9. Qb3 Qc7 10. e4 Nc5 11. Qc2 dxe4 12. dxe4 a5
13. b4 axb4 14. cxb4 Ne6 15. a3 Bxb4 16. Bb2 Bxd2
17. Nxd2 Rad8 18. Nc4 Nd4 19. Bxd4 Rxd4 20. h3 Be6
21. Nd2 Rfd8 22. Nf3 Rc4 23. Qb2 Rc5
24. Rac1 Rb5 25. Qc3 Nd7 26. Rb1 Rxb1 27. Rxb1 f6
28. Bf1 b5 29. Rxb5 Qd6 30. Rb1 Nc5 31. Re1 Rb8
32. Kg2 Rb3 33. Qa5 Nd3 34. Ra1 Qd7 35. Qa8+ Kf7
36. Ng1 Qd4 37. Rd1 Qxe4+ 38. f3 Rb2+ 39. Kh1 Nf2+
40. Kg2 Ng4+ 41. Be2 Rxe2+ 42. Nxe2 Qxe2+ 43. Kh1 Qh2#
{White checkmated} 0-1

EdFix (1881) vs. Nezha (1737)

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 Bf5
5. e3 e6 6. Bd3 Bxd3 7. Qxd3 dxc4 8. Qxc4 Nbd7
9. O-O Be7 10. e4 O-O 11. Bf4 Nb6 12. Qe2 Nh5
13. Be3 Nf6 14. Ne5 Bb4 15. Qf3 Nfd7 16. Nxd7 Qxd7
17. Qg3 Nc4 18. Bh6 Qxd4 19. Rad1 Qf6 20. Bg5 Qg6
21. Qf4 Nxb2 22. Rd7 Bxc3 23. Rc1 e5 24. Qe3 Bd4
25. Qg3 b5 26. Rc7 c5 27. Qh4 Nd3 28. Rc2 a6
29. Be7 Rfc8 30. Rd7 f6 31. Rd6 Re8 32. Bxf6 gxf6
33. Rxf6 Qg7 34. Rf5 Re6 35. Rh5 Rf8 36. Rf5 Ref6
37. Qh3 Nf4 38. Qf3 Rxf5 39. exf5 Rxf5 40. g3 Nh3+
{White resigns} 0-1

Paste them here

Hat tip: The images on these site was automatically generated. I used Chess Imager Give it a try. its very convenient.

- fin -
posted by Nezha at 12:30 AM | Permalink |


  • At 4:12 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    So the plan is to let your opponent make a plan.

  • At 8:30 AM, Blogger Fierabras

    True prohpylactic thinking, much like Lasker, the first Tenacious D(efender), a long time before JB and KG. I think you are in the process of synthesis, combining attacking and defensive thinking to deepen your game.