Sunday, July 11, 2010

General Principles: Openings Pt. I

The main aim of the opening is to get all your pieces into working order - i.e. developed. The moves of the minor pieces and the Queen have a double purpose:

  1. to get those pieces into play themselves and
  2. to clear the back line for the rooks.

Development is complete when the rooks are connected on the back rank and at least one of them is on an effective file, both if there two effective files. (pg. 44)

The second aim of the opening is to get a good share of the center squares.

Where you don't play e4 (...e5) early, never block your c-pawn. (pg. 45)

Don't finachetto a bishop if an avenue is already opened to it. (pg. 45)

Do not let a bishop be shut in by a one-step move of the e-pawn or d-pawn. (pg. 46)

To see how you stand in development see how many moves each side needs before their rooks will be connected, with one rook on an open or half-open file. Add on half a move (or "tempo") for the player whose move it is, and take the diference. If one player is 2 1/2 tempos ahead and has a good share of the center as his opponent, then that player usually has a winning advantage (advantage of a pawn plus). (pg. 46)
An exchange loses a move(a "tempo") if the opponent recaptures with a developing move. (pg. 47)

To avoid getting behind in development refrain from playing any non-developing move, unless you can compel the enemy to make a non-developing move to counterbalance yours.  (pg. 46)

Consider taking a center pawn if the pawn is threatening to take your pawn or to advance and hit a piece. (pg. 48)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Fundamental Chess Principles

On Combinations

One simultaneous double threat is better than a great many successive single threats. That is the main lesson of chess. A double threat is a combination of two threats. (pg. 31)

A combination (threat plus restraint or threat plus obstruction) may be called a "net". It is the most important kind of combination because every mate, without exception, is a "net". (pg. 32)

Watch out for pieces of limited mobility, especially pieces without retreat. Remember that one retreat may not be enough.(pg. 32 / 33)

On Tied Pieces

An important rule for avoiding a trap is this:
Where feasible, avoid using a piece to defend something that is attacked. Either protect the attaced unit with a pawn or move it away. (pg. 34)

A knight is the worst defender because he cannot possibly maintain the defense if forced to move. (pg. 34)

The best protector is a pawn - for three reasons:

  1. There is no possibility of it being attacked by a unit of lesser value;
  2. It is a complete defense against any piece bigger than the one attacked;
  3. above all, a menial task is suited to it, whereas a piece used for defending one particular thing is wasting its talents.
(pg. 35)

If you must use pieces to protect something, perhaps because it cannot move away, try to use one more than necessary! You are then free to moe any one  of the protectors; not a single one is absolutely tied to its defensive task. (pg. 35)

On Position Play

Position play is the art of improving your position in small ways when no sound combination is possible. (pg. 40)

One can say that an endgame has arrived when neither side has more pieces than the equivalent of Queen plus pawn (with of course, the Kings, who are always with us).  (pg. 41)

Combinations are of primary importance, position play of secondary importance. (pg. 41)

Pages refer to where content can be found on Guide to Good Chess.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Five Preliminary Endgame Rules

1. Before even beginning to think of making a passed pawn, put all your pieces into as good positions as possible.

2. Avoid pawn-moves while you are getting your pieces well positioned because pawn-moves create lasting weaknesses and thus make your task harder.

3. Try to free your position from weaknesses; and if possible, make it hard for the opponent to do likewise.

4. When trying to win, keep pawns on both wings. When trying to draw, play to eliminate all the pawns on one wing. With pawns on one wing only, a pawn plus is usually insufficient for a win.

5. If you are a pawn up or more, exchange pieces (not pawns) wherever you can do so without losing in position.

Exception: do not rush an exchange that will leave you with a single bishop running on the opposite color to the enemy's single bishop. Also, refrain from exchanging if it will give your opponent two bishops against bishop and knight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hint - Use Rook to Cut Off

The rook's natural function in endgames, apart from grabbing pawns, is to cut off pieces from wehre they want to go, especially the King. In general, don't check with a rook, but cut off where feasible.

- C.J.S Purdy

Hint - Checks

A check is the most compelling type of move because it threatens to take the King. You MUST know all checks available for each side, or all your thinking is liable to be futile. But avoid wasteful checks. Don't drive a King where he wants to go.
-C.J.S Purdy

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Purdy Chess

This blog is dedicated to the writings of C.J.S Purdy. Purdy founded and edited the magazine Australasian Review where he posted annotations and articles geared to the amateur chess player rated under 1900. Purdy was described by Bobby Fischer as being a great chess instructor.