Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Know Thyself


This is one of the hardest skills to acquire in chess.

In chess, the difference between knowing and understanding is as clear as night and day.

For example, you may know the 11th move in the Breyer Defence of the Ruy Lopez but understanding why the moves are played as they are is more important.

When starting out in chess (I still am by the way), I always try to incorporate understanding into my game play especially in opening theory and sometimes, I would try to formulate specific strategies and ideas into my game play.

Have a look at the position below. I arrived at this position in an online game with White to play (I am White).

Now White is an exchange up but Black can defend very resolutely. If you were White, what would you play?

Note that this puzzle has NO DEFINITE answer. The idea is to make you think of possible solutions and try to think of a coherent strategy.

I am always open to suggestions and criticisms so feel free to comment.

You can highlight below to see the move I played (which I will explain in my next blog post).
[1. f4.]

Note that I may be wrong and as I said, there are no sure-fire wins in this position.


  1. I like 1.f4 too, although even after most other first moves White is still winning without too much trouble.

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  3. On hte principle that rooks need open lines, I like 1. f4 as well.

  4. From a brief glance I like doubling up the rooks. There is a week pawn and I would like to try and snatch it up.

    Aftewards I like g4 followed by f3. You consolidate your position and get ready to bring the K into the game. Black's K-side pawns should be frozen now.

    But the only concrete move I would have from the start is Rab1. I don't care for f4 because you trade pawns, and I'd like to keep those on the board now.

  5. I tend to agree with Wang. I would move Rad1 and double up those rooks. Black could then reply ...Nd4 which is a little icky but then you just trade bishop for knight and white is still up the exchange and black has doubled pawns and white is bearing down on the d file. I don't think any of it is set in stone though!

  6. I absolutely love the chess diagrams on this blog! It makes it so much easier to get a feel for the position on the board. Top job Tanc!