Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Failed Attack! the hunt for blunders part 2

“it Incredible! How many I come across, more than half the low rated players; and once their attack fail miserably some even resign!

It means that childish “tricks” is all they have learned of chess.” Alessandro170 5/5/15'

My assessment is ongoing… and the PC has been a Depressing realist in terms of my games.   Game after game; attack after successful attack.   Unfounded! Unsound!  Could-have-been Turned by more determined defense and on and on….

This is LOOSE chess… Bane of my chess game!

Right so lets not beat around the bush… many of my winning attacks are unsound and many are outright crazy!  counting on my opponent to do some pretty panicky things and missing easy and obvious resources. … its not just wins, either!  A frequent pattern of my losses is to go for some sharp attack; suffer material loss and refutes and try to pull off some miraculous retreat and regrouping.  This is common; and perhaps a little more justified.   Once you lose material superiority in a bad position; in the end you have little left but tricks.  This is not the ONLY way to win- and probably not even the best way to win… (I little grandmasterly voice is telling me pawn promotion is a far more effective strategy, then beating against a strong position with outnumbered pieces…)

But the Point is; I think I UNIQUELY have a stronger tendency to go for the unsound attack; than some... I like the feeling of being bold and putting lots of pressure on the opponent and hanging an ultimatum over his head.  And this IS the winning way. (err, well “one winning way)… but it comes at a cost.   Not everyone curls into a ball of anxiety with a few threats…

The REAL question is … What are we going to DO about it!

There is NO “magic Bullet”  about any of my patzer ways! the only ‘cure’ is Determination, Focus, Practice, along with a lot of Self Assessment!

THE PC is a friend.  I’ve been doing more with a chess engine these days… while I feel it is pretty useless to get deep assessment of a specific position; its great for going through your game- catching missed attacks AND missed defense.   It the game culminates into a game shattering attack; it can be a Great Arbiter.  Showing when and IF the attack was a legitamite strong attack or based off from blind and panicky opposition.  More and more I think Most of my serious games should be checked on an engine!

The attack is a responsibility… and if you play it well you get Initiative, counterplay and potentially put the opponent in a constricted position where his forces are not well coordinated and he will struggle to keep his pawns and pieces safe. 

But then your intensions are on the board and your pieces may be inflexible and tied to an attack that will never happen.   What forces you commit to the attack can be a major strategic decision.  Generally, you don not want to commit heavy pieces (the rooks and queen) lightly- and often redeploying them becomes aimless as there are by nature long range pieces.  Pawns make powerful attackers; but pawn moves introduce weak spots to you formation.

A strong attack is not the only Winning way!  And in many positions not even a good idea!  As alessandro correctly points out, chess is more than “cheap tricks”; though I might argue that in the right position- some serious well coordinated attack on your king might not feel so “Cheap”.  
The fact is for every sound attack on the king; there was a critical weakness in your opponents play.  and at heart chess is about Punishing weaknesses and poor moves that your opponent makes.
If you opponent doesn’t create kingside weakness; an attack fundamentally MUST be unsound.   And will NOT work unless you opponent misplays it. 

Seeing strong tactics is a challenge; and its easy to think We are tactically stronger than we really are.     One of the clever things (and harder) about these kinds of weaknesses; is they are not usually all that obvious.  Stuff like double checks and smothered mates;  surprise us even in the puzzle books!   It takes substancial effort, to effortlessly see these kinds of pattern.  so it is natural to strive (very hard) to find them in our games.
To really see these patterns (and recreate them) each time they appear, with no warning, though, is the highest form of learning.   The synthesis of our creativity and the patterns themselves.  So naturally, it is very challenging- easy to fool ourselves that we are at that point; when we still have work to do…  

The focus needs to SHIFT to more complicated puzzles and Studies.  I’ve been working through Bain’s “chess tactics for students” for quite some time now and Basically ‘mining salt!’.   The problem with that ,of course, as it can create a stiff simplistic version of chess Tactics.  In Fact,  Chess often gives us positions of Tense positional importance rich with tactical complications and subtle long term consequences.   A book like “Chess tactics” simply isn’t going to address the deeper problems, since its meant at heart to be a newby primer in the most common types of tactics that exist. 

But I certainly have a versatile library of books that go much deeper. And one that I’ve just bought, Alburt’s 300 Essential chess positions, is considered a classic in the world of deep puzzle book ; where the solution is probably more than a simply basic tactic.

In fact, I’ve already answered the first few problems, and consistant with my observations about unsound tactics and unsound attacks; I’ve consistently under estimated the complexity and depth of the first 3 problems.  Either not seeing a critical decision or missing the tactical consequences given best play by the opponent.

I’ve decided I like this kind of format… not an annotation, but structured more like a puzzle; but with perhaps extensive analysis of the puzzle, that I can look up after I made a decent attempt to understand the puzzle and play the best move.

Books (that I have) that offer such kinds of puzzles/positions could include…
            Heisman “looking for trouble”
            Reinfeld “the Complete chess player”
            Pandolfini “Endgame challenge”

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