Friday, March 27, 2009

A golden nugget in my inbox

"Thanks for your comment. It is nice to know that people read what you write!!

Just a thought to add to all of this:

I notice on your web site that you use CTS web site a lot and also have a diet of MDLM who advocated a lot of tactics (I notice that he is well retired now and does not have to support his assertions by defending his playing skill). I think all that sort of thing is good, but in moderation. Some trainers have noted that if most of the time in training is spent on tactics, then the chess players skill is a little brittle. I think it is very important to be deconstruct a position positionally as well as tactically. Most moves in a game are quiet, not tactical (despite assertions that chess is 95% tactics - it isn't). Often, people who have focussed mostly on tactics have trouble in quiet positions and tend to look for tactical solutions. So I think it is very important to absorb positional/planning patterns, even more than tactical ones. In my own experience against weaker players, I have found that quiet positions are usually where they go wrong (not tactical ones) and they just drift into inferior positions before making a tactical mistake. Usually, against higher rated players (say 2400-2500 FIDE) I obtain an inferior position first before making a tactical mistake - so same thing. The inferior position is usually due to the failure to correctly assess the positional elements - little to do with tactics.

Just an idea. I think positional elements need to be studied 1. By going through classic games (up to about 1800 FIDE), 2. A study of the middle game positions arising out of your openings (up to 2000 FIDE) and 3. A deep study of the endgame, and in particular strategic endgames (beyond 2000).

Cheers, David"


  1. I think it depends on one's ranking. Class D (1200-1399) and below tactics is everything--opportunities for instant wins open up without any particular positional pressure. Class C and above complexity or positional pressure is usually needed.

    The silliest thing I've seen is a USCF 1200 who read "How to Reassess Your Chess" many times and discusses in detail how to decide which rook to move to the open file. Yet, he drops pieces to pins and skewers!

    The people saying chess is 95%-98% tactics include Teichmann, Fine, Polgar, and Karpov. Quite a cast to disagree with. ;)

  2. Yeah, Agreed!

    Another interesting point added to an imprtant topic.

    Thanx for sharing.