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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

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A piece is best improved to the point where it is just one move away from its ideal square. Only when our pieces occupy this position are they ready to be transformed into their perfect state Here is the example .

In this famous position, from the game Lasker-Capabalnca , St. Petersburg 1914, White's knight

on e6 is already ideal, but let us take a look at the rest of the pieces. The Rd1 wants to reach a7, The other h7 and the king is better moving away from the same diagonal as the Bishop - in the game Lasker chose the g3-square for the king, and that seems to be a wise choice. The other knight needs to find itself a good square, and in the game this leads to e4-e5 followed by Nc3-e4, from where it rules the world. But let us take a look at how the game went.

31  hxg5  hxg5  32 Rh3!

The rook is on its way to its ideal square, h7, simultaneously vacating g3 for the king, But now after,

32...Rd7  33 Kg3  Ke8

White continues to improve his pieces slowly with

34. Rdh1  Bb7?!  35  e5!!

The pawn is of little importance. Control over the dark squares means everything.

35...dxe5  36  Ne4  Nd5  37  N6c5!

Now Black is lost. Notice how the rooks have not rushed off to their ideal squares since they could do little on their own. After 34 ...Bb7 Black was lost in a sea of forks but it is still worth noting that white had prepared his pieces, one by one, to almost their optimum before finally slotting them into ideal squares all at once, so to speak. White now won easily.

37  ...Bc8  38  Nxd7  Bxd7  39  Rh7  Rf8  40  Ra1  Kd8  41+  Bc8  42  Nc5  1-0

Intuition does not develop as random pattern recognition, but rather the recognition of patterns previously investigated and understood. That is why looking through unannotated games from a database or playing through the complete works of Averbakh will not seriously improve your chess. Instead we should work with annotated games and - even better - discuss positions with stronger players who know something about teaching. Analysing your own games in depth and trying to understand the reasons for mistakes you commit is, obviously, also a part of this. It is my hope these simple tools will prove helpful for you in this task.

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