Friday, November 10, 2006

Better Have a Plan

In some recent posts and comments in the Knights Errant blogosphere I have read anti-strategic opinions. I do not know if I got it right, but it sounded like «just bring out your pieces quickly, move them around until your opponent blunders, then use a tactic and win.»

I strongly disagree, based upon my own experience. I just cannot count the cases where I did not understand a position and got into troubles, either in position or in time or both, and it was my turn to blunder and run into a tactic of my opponent.

Just two examples. In the sixth round of my past tournament I had a distinctive plan with a kingside wing attack. My opponent did not find the right plan, i.e. to use minimal required forces to stop the attack and to launch a counter-attack in the center or at the opposite wing. This is the normal strategy in such situations and it could have been successful because White stood better in the center and on the queenside wing. Of course the game was decided by tactics. But I think it was more than a happy coincidence that I won. I had an active plan, not the best one probably. He had no active counter-plan but just defended passively. It was a tactical win, right. But strategy played an important role.

Now my seventh round loss. This is one of the examples mentioned above. Wrong strategy, based upon non-understanding of the position. Then a confuse middlegame, both sides moving pieces around without a plan. Then a tactic emerges. But my opponent is careful. Pawn loss here. Pawn regain there. Equal endgame. Throwing it away, violating a golden principle of using rooks in the endgame.

The reason why strategy is important for tacticians, also on the class player level, is very simple: It allows to force a better position rather than wait until it happens to arise by chance. All tactics come from better positions. Therefore, with the help of a good strategy, the tactician will find more opportunities to win.

Conclusion for my future training: I'll continue to use CTS, and I'll try learning to read positions and find appropriate plans, using Karpov's book which in turn is based upon Steinitz and Capablanca.


At 5:43 PM, Blogger Temposchlucker said...

Doing tactics in an excessive way is the best way to learn to appreciate the role of a plan. The reason that it took me so long is that I never understanded that it all revolves about the pawns. Pieces you can play round and round. But it are the pawns that constitute the landscape of the battle. The pawns decide where you can land with your pieces and where not.


Post a Comment

<< Home