Monday, March 1, 2010


I am confounded and amazed when I hear players say, "If he moves his Queen there I will have him." I don't mean like an analytical solution such as, "I've got his Queen almost trapped. It looks like I have all the avenues blocked, and if I nudge him here, and he does this, then I've got him."

I'm writing about a lifestyle!

"If he moves his Q to a5 (when there is no reason on earth for the Queen to go there), then I fork him and QED."

I call that "Hope Chess" and it is quite popular.

Myself, I'm almost the exact opposite. I have no idea where he is going to move. But, if you analyze like any strong master or CJS Purdy, after a while you start limiting the places of movement. You go through a number of scenarios and in effect say to yourself (I hope to only yourself), something like, "My King is under attack (or some other piece), do I have a way to survive and maybe throw back the attack? Maybe this g3 defensive move followed by h4, the B to d3, etc." Then we look at whether this can play out. If we find a line is there a way I can play it without some unforeseen interruption?"

I remember years ago played a guy who was a tremendous counterattacker. Sometimes he was maniacal. The problem with that approach is that guys like me tend to stay on our toes because we know what he is capable of. I had been eyeing a sac on a pawn for 15 or more minutes. I analyzed the position to death. I didn't "hope" he would play a move that would win for me, I tried to find the moves he might play that would stop me cold.

Finally, I gave up and didn't sac the piece. It was unclear. He was patiently sitting there and I believe he was looking at the same sac and was hoping I would go for it! After the game I looked at it without the stress. It would have been bad, very bad. Sometimes you have to say "no" to your inner analyst. Maybe I was afraid I would only draw if something went wrong and I wanted to win so bad. I don't recall the outcome, but I played the pieces on the board, not my wishful thinking.

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