25 ( +1 | -1 ) Novice Nook #13This week's article is called "When You're Winning, It's a Whole Different Game". It's got a lot of good tips for the "I've won a piece; what do I do now?" situation. The link is:
166 ( +1 | -1 ) HubrisWhen I read the opening paragraphs of this article, I thought-- here is a lesson that I have already learned, but then as I continued to read I remembered a few recent examples of games in which I gained a piece then threw it away by underestimating my opponent.
It's not as if I thought that the game was over, but rather that once the opposing player made a mistake that allowed me to win a piece, I just subconciously concluded that I didn't need to work as hard to win the game. So instead of analyzing the position to figure out what the other player is doing, and why he is willing to keep playing in a "lost" position, I just assumed that their moves were pointless, and that I could win easily without worrying to much. And sometimes it is true, if they will give you one piece, they will often give you two! But as the jazz vocalist says, "It ain't necessarily so." So in one recent embarasing example, I was able to trade a pawn for a knight, but then shortly thereafter I gave up another pawn unnecessarily and then a couple of seemingly "pointless" moves after that I found myself looking at a forced mate in two.
On another point, his advice to "Get every piece into the game fast." has always served me very well when I follow it. I think it is good advice in almost every situation, not just those where you are materially ahead.
Finally, I would add another seed to his "Seeds of Tactical Destruction" g) Pieces that are constrained so that they have no place to which they can retreat. It doesn't always lead to destruction, but it is worth looking for.
23 ( +1 | -1 ) Craig reports....that the link above doesn't work. Can someone else try posting one? I don't have much luck posting links from my home computer although it works just fine from the office. Thanks.
242 ( +1 | -1 ) Thanks W and cascadejames !I got to read thru this one today and agree with the author but will just add a couple points. 1) Immediately after a piece is won, the next few move are CRITICAL. As the author mentioned , this is a time when there might be a tendency to let up if you have won the piece. But dont! This is the very time, if you Lost the piece, to look for every posibility to attack, complicate or win back material. And it is the best time to do so (except for Before losing the piece :)) because often your opponent will start napping. So dont be afraid to play on a ways after such an occurance and see how he handles his good fortune. 2) If you are the side that wins the piece: To me generally planning is overrated for an experienced player that knows many position types and what leads from them. To me analysis Rules. BUT ... if there is ever a Great time to plan, it is after receving a material gift. And the author points out to look things over very well at this point. True. But I dont think he came out and said the word(plan), tho it is implied in what he says to do. When you have the extramaterial, do Plan what to do with your position. After looking at all the opponents chances to attack, complicate or win material. Then look at your Own chances to attack, Simplify (generally trading pieces being better than trading Future Queens, aka Pawns) , win material or push/promote pawns. And for chances to tie enemy pieces to defensive tasks. The last and Simplification, together are elements of snuffing counter-play and you definately want to do that. So look for plans that deprive the opp of counterplay above all. And try to figure out how your extramaterial can figure into that. Plan it right down to Queening, Mate or some version of victory if you can. Ask yourself Questions about the position mentally if you need to, to check your logic. EG What is his Biggest threat? What is his best & worst piece. What are yours etc. Generally gives you an idea where to start. Get rid of his biggest threats and best pieces if possible, if you dont see a forceful winning plan. (or that may be part of that plan, cetainly) Then look at things again in that quiter position. The quiter it gets, the closer you are to winning, nearly always. The less quite it gets ... maybe is closer to winning at times, or closer to not winning at times. Imo Regards, }8-)
157 ( +1 | -1 ) Good advice, Craig...... especially about the first few moves after having won material. I've often found that winning a piece, say, comes at some cost in time, and possibly also in placement of pieces or pawns. You will often hear the word 'consolidation', which means reorganising, 'tightening up' one's position. Hence Dan Heisman's 'think defence'. *** By the way, even GMs can stuff up a position when well ahead on material. Back in the 1951 World Championship match, David Bronstein dumped a whole rook against Botvinnik, and do you think Botvinnik could win? In fact Botvinnik let Bronstein get an exchange back for nothing, Bronstein gradually picked up pawns for the missing piece, and eventually came very close to winning. The result was a draw *** Just one slight caveat about Heisman's advice, concerning the example in which a wrecked pawn position is relatively trivial compared with the piece advantage (1...Qh6 example). He is right, but beware of making too many compromises. That's what happened to Botvinnik, and I did the same in a fairly recent GK game. Having won the exchange (it should have been a whole rook!!) I faffed around until I ran out of ideas, then sacced a pawn to create chances (for both sides), and had to fight like hell for the draw. Fortunately, my opponent overlooked or eschewed the draw and allowed my to win. So Craig's (ccmcacollister's) observation about planning is very pertinent - I didn't come up with a decent plan until my opponent had gone a long way towards neutralizing his material deficit. Cheers, Ion