Friday, July 08, 2005
Discipline vs. Oblivion
There are plenty of things that my "each move" discipline is shaky on, and I have been lucky that it hasn't cost me more. I have been good about scanning for hanging pieces each move, and that's about it. I think my subconscious attitude towards defensive positional elements has been one of everything better just pop-out or I am going to relegate it to oblivion! I need a better approach.
Although I was waiting until finishing TCT, Tempo and Mousetrapper's posts now have me considering beefing up my own "each move" discipline sooner rather than later. My theoretical bent towards chess makes me inclined to first make a large list of material and positional weaknesses, essentially everything you might want to achieve or prevent. Over time I hope to incrementally incorporate several of these things into my "each move" discipline. The rest of these deserve enough training such that they do begin to pop-out, as relegating them to oblivion has not paid off.
- Mate and Check threats
- Draw threats (stalemate, perpetual check and chase, fortresses, drawn endings, 50 move rule, 3-fold repetition)
- Material exchange and gain threats (both straightforward and tactical)
- Promotion and underpromotion threats
- Outnumbered pieces (both en prise and partially defended)
- Evenly attacked pieces (both hanging and equally defended, tacking threats)
- Rook threats on open/half open files, 8th and 7th rank weaknesses
- Pinned and threatened defenders
- Overloaded defenders
- Castling prevention threats
- Development hampering threats and undevelopment threats
- Weak squares and weak line occupation threats
- Immobilization threats (both piece and pawn blocks)
- Piece trap threats
- Endgame conversion threats
- Pawn cover around King threats (both pawn exchanges and sacrifices)
- King and Queen only defended squares and pieces
- Activity threats (both "big attacks" and defensively tying down)
- Space gain/loss threats
- Tempo gain/loss threats
- Pawn structure weakening threats
- Prophylaxis and shutting down/plan killing threats
Mousetrapper has done a nice post of his working list, and is the source of "Evenly attacked pieces" and "King and Queen only defended squares and pieces" in my list. I wasn't really considering those specifically before, and now I can see that there is merit in doing so.
There are plenty of little details missing in I list, but I think I have most of the larger categories well laid out. I would appreciate any comments on stuff I left out. Arguably putting tactics under "- Material exchange and gain threats" is a bit oversimplified.
Another "each move" thing is writing down moves before making them. I am beginning to realize that this can be tough. When I played my last standard game, I was good about writing moves down first in the opening, but then, somehow, I got squirrelly entering the middlegame and started moving pieces first half of the time. I had over 40 minutes on the clock, and a slight opening advantage with the White pieces, yet somehow I must have felt that the pressure was on. I actually did write something down first that was a bad move. I looked at it, crossed it out, and saved myself from going down the exchange, proof that my discipline was worthwhile. In spite of that, these impulses appear difficult to curb. Maybe I need a big sign saying, "Crossing out text won't unmove pieces".
Lastly, I highly recommend an after the move visualization blunder check. Not doing this probably cost me more games than anything else I can think of.
Circle 1 Circle 2 Step 1 97% 99% Step 2 93% 96% Step 3 93% 96*% Step 4 80% ??% Step 5 74% ??%