Friday, December 21, 2018

Chess Club Still Busy 121718 - Timing is Everything!

Former World Champion - Gary Kasparov

The Club has been a busy place the last few weeks and we thank everyone for their attendance. We had 18 players – two weeks in a row
We will try to run a Speed tournament on January 7 or 21st – or both days! Hope to see you there. As always, it’s a fun event and prizes for the young players.
Now for a little chess coaching advice:
I teach and coach chess to children – usually from ages 5 to 12 years old. Sometimes I get early teens that I coach. 
One of my older students asked a very good question – “When does a good chess player stop thinking of making just general good moves and start thinking of calculating an attack?”
My first knee-jerk reaction was to answer with, “Well, we have to go find a good chess player and ask him or her.” But since that would tarnish my coaching status, I had to have a better answer.
 The answer is, “When you can predict and limit your opponent’s responses to your forcing moves and you are pretty sure of the best time to start the attack. And the timing of the start of the attack is the most important part of the calculation!”
The more powerful a move is, the more important it is to time it correctly. Don’t make it too soon and don’t make it too late.
Let’s consider other situations. A poker player wants his “Ace” in the hole and not on the table. That way, he can “raise” at the correct time to trap his opponent. Raise too early and you lose profit. Raise too late and maybe you get re-raised because you gave time (cards) to your opponent that allowed him to make his hand better than yours.
A billiard player doesn’t knock in the easy balls close to the pocket first. He saves them to set up his next shot when all other shots are difficult. That way he remains in control of the table.
So the timing of your “check”, “fork”, “pin” or “sacrifice” move is usually the most important part of the move. The calculations must be done to determine how ‘forced’ your opponent’s next moves are and have you covered his limited responses correctly.
Black to move. Is it the correct time?

Let’s look at an example:
Black has a king-side attack, while White has a queen-side attack. It is the old race to see who gets there first. Black to move.
Black is considering either the attacking move of ...fxe4, a developing move …Rf7 or Rac8, or a simplification move of …a6. He throws out …a6 and Rac8 because he feel …a6 liquidates material to a bigger advantage to White and …Rac8 is too slow and leaves the a-pawn under siege without helping out in the king-side attack.
(Note: Igor liked both …a6 and …Rac8 slightly better than Rf7 [1.1 and 1.3 vs 1.4, and White with the advantage], but that is not important here).
All three of those move require little calculation as they are improvement moves that must wait for White’s response. So with …Rf7 as a fall-back plan, now Black has to calculate whether the timing of opening up of his opponent’s King-side in now.
Black calculates that;
     1.      ……..          fxe4!
     2.      fxe4             Nxh3
     3.      Bxh3           Rf3
And White’s position is in ruins. After Black played
     1.      ……..          fxe4!
White quickly realized it was his turn to calculate. He saw that 2. fxe4 was no good. It was time to get to work and try and find something else. After a half hour, White found this variation;
      2.      Qd1 ?         Nxh3
      3.      Bxh3          Rxf3
      4.      Qf1             ……..
Rather than capturing with fxe4. (Note: the ugly and hard for a human to find, 2. Kg1 was what Igor says keeps the game at only a (-.8) for Black).
But Black still had;
      5.      ………       Raf8
      6.      Qg2            Rxf7
      7.      Bxf2           Rxf2
      8.      Rxa7           Rxg2+
      9.      Kxg2           Qg5+

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