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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Philidor Defense (5), SWOT at work

Today’s blog entry is from an online ladder game. It illustrates my new understanding of the typical chess game flow. Moves #1-4 are the theoretical beginning, marked by repeating moves from Master play, usually memorized.

From this point forward, my play is guided by the SWOT analysis, where I look first at my opponent’s move, both the square vacated and the square newly occupied, for Opportunities and Threats. If none, I am free to improve my positional Strengths and Weaknesses.  Implicit in this positional phase is the thrust and parry.  Like two sword fighters, each player tries to set and/or solve problems while improving their position.  Mistakes are made by either a faulty response to a threat or by a blunder.  Without an Opportunity, an attack is premature.

On move #22, the game transitioned from a positional middlegame to a combinational middlegame when White made his first serious mistake (i.e. leaving his Queen without adequate escape squares). This was the Opportunity to launch an attack.

 The variations and move symbols are Houdini’s (1.5 w32), diagnosed with ‘Scid vs PC’ at 10 seconds per ply. The verbal comments are my thoughts during the game and my interpretations of the analysis provided by Houdini. The score chart is at the bottom of this entry.

I am currently reading Secrets of a Grandpatzer. It contains a lot that I disagree with and much that induces me to analyze my approach to the game. Most of the book can be read without a board, but am looking forward to studying in depth the chapter on 132 key patterns that must be known.

One of the major disagreements is that a player should only play openings that are currently in vogue at the grandmaster level and memorize the sequences that get to your favorite variations within those openings.  I believe that all openings are good at the class level and getting out of theory early makes the game more fun ... and less memorization is required.

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