Sunday, December 9, 2012

Move First Think Later

I recently purchased a chess book by that title. Despite the name it's not a primer for how to play better blitz. It seems to be written as a challenge to the classic models of how to train at chess and how chess players think. Essentially, the author (IM Willy Hendriks) challenges the assumption that players evaluate the position and its imbalances before looking at candidate moves. Instead, he thinks that we simultaneously calculate and evaluate and you can't do one without the other. This part of the argument persuaded me, although I'm not convinced yet about some of his ideas about subconsciousness decision making.

The book isn't just a work of chess philosophy. My favorite chapter so far was a fantastic lesson on line-clearing sacrifices. The two diagrams below are a simple line clearing tactic and a much more difficult one. The first tactic is from one of my hundred or so games while entertaining kids at a tournament yesterday. The second tactic is from the book and much harder. I eventually stumbled on the answer, mostly through trial and error. Please leave solutions in the notes:

Question 1: Black to move and win:

Question 2: What is the best move for white?

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