Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Find the right move - Strategic exercises

Later on in May, I will publish some combinations in the regular  column of monthly combinations, but today I would like to publish some other sort of exercises.
This sort of exercises which I will publish, can be called for the strategic exercises.
This terminology I adopted from the excellent books of
GM Jacob Aagaard in his serial Grandmaster preparation.
It is somehow different from the usual positional exercises.
For the better understanding I will provide one example in the following lines.
However, the solutions for these positions will be published in the next article.

Here is on of the positional exercises.
This is the position from the last round of Prague Open 2013.

Bejtovic Jasmin - Van Kerkhof David

Here I played:

28. Bf5!

I do not care about h5 pawn, as long as I can exchange light square bishops. After this exchange I will make the full blockade on e4 and f5 squares. We will exchange all four rooks on the h file, and I can simply put my pieces on f5, e4 and there should be something decisive.
The flow of the game confirmed  my explanations.
This type of decisions are purely positional.
Strategic decisions are a bit more complex. There is usually some tactical idea behind it, and there are more then one positional themas which intercepts each other.

In order to make it easier, I decided to provide a subject of every position in the exercises.


I remind you that you do not need to find something decisive, or something that leads to the clear advantage. This is not tactical exercises.

This is the position from one of my recent tournaments.
White is on move.
Your task is to recognise the weaknesses in the Black position and to take the right decision at this place.
More simplified, I can ask you to make the best move for White, but as this can be done by a simple guessing it is very important to explain the idea behind the move.
When showed as an exercise it can look very easy, but when we reach the position in the game, our thinking process is not  as in the training.
I found this position very challenging.

This is one more position from my recent tournaments.
White is again on move.
There was an interesting middlegame in this game, but at some point we exchanged the queens.
You can find the right plan for White if you can simply recognise the weaknesses in the Black position.
Again, it is not enough only to find the right move.
The complete explanation of playing plan is needed.
This position is somehow more complex then the previous, and I decided to show it from this point (even if my plan started two moves earlier) just for the simplicity.

Prophylactic thinking...

The position is from one of my games in Denmark tour.
I got very nice knight on e6 and has clear advantage.
It can be said that my advantage is close to winning , just if I found the right move here.
I failed in that but maybe you can find the solution?
The subject is prophylactic thinking.
It does not mean that you have to find some defencive move or something.
I have seen that many players does not understand the concept of prophylactic.
What is the idea of my opponent and how I can fight against it?
Do not forget that idea of your opponent can be defencive.

This is the position from the same game.
I got one more chance to decide the outcome of the game.
I failed again, but later on I got the third chance.
Failing to take that chance too, I deservedly share the point.
However, in this position I can play on prophylaxis again, and stop the idea of my opponent.
This time it is more complex than in the position on the previous diagram, but if you can solve the previous position, then this one is it´s natural successor.
The task is just like before.
Find the right move and explain it with the text and some variations.

Position of the pieces and the pawn structure...

We came to the position in the introduction.
Again, it is from my recent tour in Denmark, but this time it is not me who is on move, but my opponent (Black).
My last two moves were an exchange on d5 and Rc1.
Now, I am ready to play Qc2 and Qc7, which would paralyse my opponent.
However he has a chance to play e7-e5 , a move that he prepared in the couple of last moves.
In that case he will get an isolani pawn on d5.
This is a very complex decision.

  • Is that pawn a weakness or not?
  • Is my bishop on d3 placed good or it would stand better on e2?
Answer the second question in two ways. In the light of possible break e7-e5 and just in the case if Black play some other neutral move.

  • Does Black has some other idea, unorthodox and original?
  • If so, what is the best answer on it from the White point of view?
I have to remind the readers that this position can be very tricky and complex so the right answer should contain some complex tactical lines.