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- Chess Strategy - 6/68 -

|---------------------------------------| 3 | | ^B | | | ^P | | ^Kt| | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^P | ^P | | | ^P | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | | | ^Q | | ^R | ^K | | --------------------------------------- A B C D E F G H

Diag. 10

White's further attack on the Knight by Q-B3 forces the Rook to defend on K3, where it gets into the diagonal of the Bishop, which at present is masked by White's Knight. The sequel would be 3. QKtxKtch, RxKt (not BxKt on account of BxR winning a whole Rook), 4. BxR, and so on. A similar case is shown in Diagram 11.

--------------------------------------- 8 | | | | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | #K | #P | #Kt| | | #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | #P | | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | ^Kt| | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | | | | | ^B | | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | ^P | | ^P | | | ^P | ^P | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | #B | | | | | | | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | | | | | | | ^K | | --------------------------------------- A B C D E F G H

Diag. 11

Here, too, there is a flaw in the simple calculation, because the defending units are not secure. Beginners should devote special attention to this position, which is in practice of frequent occurrence.

It can be easily perceived that the Bishop cannot capture the pawn at B7 on account of P-QR3. But to take with the Knight would also be an error, because Black would then keep chasing away the covering Bishop.

1. P-Kt4; 2. B-Q6, K-B3; 3. Kt-K8, B-B2; and wins one of the pieces.

Finally, one more example, in which one of the defending pieces being pinned makes simple calculation impracticable.

In Diagram 12 it seems at first sight as if Black could play KtxP: although White can pin the Knight with R-K1

--------------------------------------- 8 | #R | | #B | | #K | | | #R | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | #P | | | | #Kt| #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | | #P | #Kt| | | | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | | | | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | | | | ^P | ^Kt| | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | | | | | | | ^B | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^P | | | | | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | ^Kt| | | | ^R | ^K | | --------------------------------------- A B C D E F G H

Diag. 12

and then attack it once more with his Knight, Black would appear to have sufficient protection available, with his Kt and B. White has no time to double Rooks, because if he does so, after his R- K2 Black would play the King away from his file and allow the Knight to escape.

But White can, by a simple sacrifice, bring the slumbering R at R1 into sudden action:

1. ... KtxP; 2 R-K1, B-B4; 3. Kt-B3, Kt-Q3; 4. RxKt, KtxR; 5. R- K1, and White wins two pieces for his Rook.

These illustrations will be sufficient to give the beginner an understanding of economy of calculation in all kinds of combinations. His power of combining will grow speedily on this basis, and thrive in the fire of practical experience. Where an opponent is missing, the gap must be filled by reference to such books as treat of the science of combination and give examples taken from actual play.



In bringing the teachings of this book under the collective heading "Chess Strategy," it was not in any way my intention to draw anything like an exact parallel between the manoeuvres on the chess-board and military operations in actual warfare. In trying to seek such analogies there is great danger of being led astray, and little likelihood of gaining knowledge that might be of use in practical play. Plain common-sense will give us all we need, without our being influenced by those tactical and strategical considerations that have been found useful in war.

The following definition may not be out of place: Strategy sets down the whole of the problems which must be solved in war, in order to attain the ultimate result aimed at; tactics solve such problems in various ways, and according to the conditions prevailing in the particular case. Sound strategy, when setting the task, must never lose sight of tactical practicability, and only a thorough knowledge of tactical resources makes correct strategy possible.

Now we shall not under any circumstances, as unfortunately even great chess masters have done, seek in outward similarities justification for transferring to chess the teachings of the strategy and tactics of war. It sounds pretty enough to say: Chess is a game of war--the various pieces represent the various kinds of forces: the pawns represent the infantry, the Knights take the place of cavalry, the Rooks do the work of heavy artillery, sweeping broad lines; the different ways in which the pieces move find a parallel in the topography of the theatre of war, in that the various battle-fields are more or less easy of access. But it is quite unjustifiable to assign to the Knights the functions of scouts, and to say that Rooks should stay in the background, as heavy artillery, and so on. Such pronouncements would not have the slightest practical value. What we take from the science of warfare is merely the definition. In each game the strategy of chess should set us the tasks which must be accomplished (in order to mate the opponent's King), and tactics point the way in which it is possible to solve such problems. Correct chess strategy will only set such tasks as are tactically possible, and, if we wish to expound the principles of chess strategy, we cannot exclude chess tactics from the field of our observations. If here and there the results of our deliberations bear some analogy to actual warfare, we may certainly give way to a kind of aesthetic satisfaction in that our own occupation has some parallel in real life, but we must never fashion our principles in accordance with such fortuitous circumstances.

Having surveyed the problems we have to solve, we can now plunge into our subject.

In the first chapter, when considering special cases in elementary combinations, we have already noticed the important part played in each skirmish by the balance between the attacking and defending units. Speaking quite generally, common-sense will tell us that, in all operations on the chess-board, the main consideration for the defence will be to maintain that balance, and that there is only justification for an attack when it is possible to concentrate more forces on the strategic point than can be mustered by the defence. However, one very important point must not be neglected, though I did not touch upon it when discussing elementary combinations for fear of complicating matters for beginners: the balance between the contending forces is by no means established by their numerical equality. A paramount factor is the mobility of such forces, and as soon as it is no longer one of the elementary cases of capture and recapture described previously, this factor must be taken into account in order to decide, on a general survey, whether there is a sufficient defence to an impending attack, or whether one's own intended attack is likely to prevail. That mobility is the first and foremost consideration should be self-evident, since the relative value of the pieces can only make itself felt by their greater or lesser mobility.

Except in certain positions, which are brought about by some particular array of the pieces, the intrinsic value of a Rook is greater than that of a Bishop, because it can command all the squares on the board, whilst a Bishop is tied to its own colour; Knight and Bishop are considered equivalent, because the Knight's advantage in being able to act on all the squares of either colour is balanced by the fact that the Bishop can sweep long diagonals. Two Bishops are, generally speaking, of greater value than two Knights, because together they also act on all the squares, and their command of long diagonals is a clear advantage. The whole of this valuation, however, comes to nought when the pieces are hindered in their mobility by the peculiarity of any particular position.

We will consider one instance from end-game play, and one from the openings.

In Diagram 13, White derives no advantage from being

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Chess Strategy - 6/68

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