Positional Play

Here is a great example of what I’ve been talking about.

Kurt is in H.S., and you can see how brilliant of a kid that he is from coming a move away from checkmate. In reality, though, this to me is obviously weak positional chess.

I am looking at ‘Game of the Year VIII’

Move 13, Black should play ..c5, not ..b5? IMHO. You can see how brilliant that this kid is and why he is rated what he is rated, but it is tactics, not positional play. Positional play represents experience, and even the brightest kids may not have that part down nearly as much.

A good way to think of positional play is WHEN something is or is not tactically feasible. The kids can execute the tactics, it’s a matter of WHEN. If all there are is good, quiet moves, then they may find those because it’s a matter of elimination. So, don’t think that they can’t maneuver optimally, if they are high rated.

Instead of 17..Nc3+??, Black could defend with 17..Re8 and if 18.Qe4 then ..f5, and if 18.Rg1, then upon hxg6..QxQ, NxQ g6 and Black can try to scoop up the h6 pawn with the king or ignore it. I’m not even using an engine for this. Have to defend well and play positionally, though.

Hard to not mention this positional win:
Petrosian game

Here is a positional question that I just finished asking myself. Assuming White hadn’t blundered his queen and had played 20.QxQ instead, how can Black continue to play for a positional advantage? I’ll give my answer in the comment following this post:
FICS game

Lastly, I have to thrown in this blitz game. I played an exchange sac, and it looks like a joke, at first, but I don’t see the refutation to my own attack. It was an inspired move and I got a strong attack for it. I think he’s got to play the zwischenzug move 27..Rf8. That one took me a long time to find.

Blitz game

Progress on ‘Combination Challenge’ 772 problems completed. Quite a few of these are “sack 3-5 pieces to find the forced checkmate”, and I don’t remember such problems on a tactics server that went like that. A tactics server seems to keep feeding you at your rating, which is measured by speed of board-vision. I still don’t have fast board-vision, except possibly in time-trouble. I also find these problems to be mentally fatiguing, so that I usually require a nap when done to clear my mind.

Takchess completed 70,000 problems on a server. I think BDK may have completed the 7 circles. But I can’t even google and find out anyone else who completed the 7 circles. A lot of people started on it, talked about it, complained about it, complained about difficulty of duplicating MDLM’s results, but where are the people who finished it. I would be surprised if it’s more than a handful, and that includes MDLM himself.

My take on studying both endgame and tactical positions is that many of them are either composed or something that the computer found out for them when they got home. In practical terms, I think it makes a person want to analyze endgames and tactics more critically OTB, recalling patterns as they analyze, giving them an edge in “messy” situations.

Let’s put it this way, does anyone who has done the seven circles, completed it, have a higher OTB rating that me? lol. It’s been out there for over 5 years now, we should have some results. Blunderprone is the only other active player/knight that I can point to besides myself. I see some have 2100 rating on chesstempo, so I don’t doubt that tactics makes you better at tactics.


4 thoughts on “Positional Play

  1. I think that Black should recapture the queen with NxQe5, Bc2 then play ..a6 for the ..b5 break. If White plays a4, then that weakens the b2 pawn, so double rooks on the b-file, if necessary, and crash through with ..a6 and ..b5.

    Thinking about it more, ..a6 would only be necessary if a4 came first, so ..b5 right away, and if Rc3, then ..b4. Then Black will need to crash through on the kingside, but if Black does, then there are all of those backward pawns to go for, and Black has forward pawns.

    No, if Rc3 then ..bxc and trade knights on c4. The rooks and bishops endgame should win for Black.

  2. Interesting Petrosian game.
    Your sacrifice in blitz is funny, I really don’t know how it would work OTB, but in blitz it worked. Again, I admire your studying tactics, I forced myself once, don’t think there was any result, maybe it was too little.

  3. RollingPawns, yes it takes many examples, many patterns! 🙂

    If you really want to save time you can simply look at the position and then look at the answer. The thing with a book such as ‘Combination Challenge’ is that it goes by theme, so it keeps ramming that pattern into your head until you are looking for it in your games. If you don’t know the pattern, then you won’t look for it, even probably OTB, that is the idea. Once you know to look for the pattern, you can already calculate it. If you don’t know to look for mates where 3 pieces are superfluous and you can get rid of them, then you will never look for it, for example, you will only ask “Which one wins the most material?” Checks and mates are a big part of the reason a lot of sacs look so bizarre. If there were no king, no checks, it wouldn’t be nearly as tricky.

    The thing about it is tactics are a separate consideration. The now famous MDLM quote “Is there a tactic?” Me and you are prone to not say this as if there were two games going on, but there are. You can ask “Is there a strategy?” The strategy and the tactic may be two separate things.

    In my game last night the answer to the one question above was a completely different answer than the one to the other question above. It’s like two different games, have to somehow recognize this fact OTB, or at least I do.

  4. The server Fics (USA) developed to more or less a free insult chess server.
    Very bad managed with abusers as admins.
    Never use fics if you want your PC safe. Some interfaces are spyware.
    30+ years exp. from comps and 16 from IT-chess since the time of ICS (1994)

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