Monday, March 12, 2007

Purdy's two candidate move criteria

1. Examine moves that smite.
2. Use inactive force.
Cecil Purdy, the first correspondence champion, is cool. I like his two criteria for coming up with candidate moves. First, look for smiting moves, moves that will simply crush. That is, mates and threats against material. Threatening moves give you the initiative, put the opponent on the defensive, let you control the flow of the game. This is almost always a good thing, so everything else being equal pick a threatening over a nonthreatening move. Second, fix inactive pieces. Otherwise, they may as well be off the board. Active pieces increase the likelihood that those crushing moves will appear.

Beginners like me need to be careful, though. Candidate moves born from general principles need to be analyzed concretely using the position in front of me.

Also, caveat emptor. There must be more than just two principles (?). For instance, the above two principles don't suggest what to do when there are no tactical possibilities and your pieces are all active, and there is no obvious way to limit the opponent's activity. Such situations are like one of Temposchlucker's tough positions. One thing is for sure. In such positions, and all positions, the first rule is DO NOT BLUNDER!

6 Comments:

Blogger J'adoube said...

I have the answer to your dilemma:

Rule 3. Improve your pieces.

That completes the ensemble. [grin]

3/13/2007 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger classplayer said...

Even though you said that last rule in capital letters I still do it :-(

3/13/2007 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Jojosh_the_Pi said...

How about 4. Inactivate the opponent's pieces?

And thanks for the do not bludner tip, although I could have used it an hour ago.

OT: Do you follow the NCAA tournament? Yeah, I got Duke getting bounced by VCU in the first round. Sorry.

3/13/2007 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mousetrapper said...

Checks, captures, threats, is a useful sub-rule of the first one. After thousands of problems done at CTS, I still catch myself violating it.

3/14/2007 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Jojosh: activity is in his second rule, but you are technically right that he only says to activate your own pieces (as I mentioned in the last paragraph, I consider this to imply you want to do the opposite for your opponent).

Duke ain't gonna make it far. I think they will be eliminated in the first or second round.

3/14/2007 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

King safety and pawn structure are the two traditional criteria he left out. You can have very active pieces, but if your king is about to get mated, you are in trouble, and should have paid attention to his safety. You could say this is a special case of threats against material, but the king is so damned special a piece that it needs special attention.

Most pawn structure principles are special cases of activity or material, but I'm not sure. Doubled pawns hurt mobility, tend to cramp you in, and give the enemy targets. Isolated pawns give the opponent a target (but also can give you certain advantages such as space). Backwards pawns have little freedom to move (activity).

But also, like Kings, I think pawns are special creatures on the board. They can promote, and determine the strategic arteries (ht: Patrick) for the big pieces, and can't go backwards. Once you've made a pawn move, ya can't take it back. Hence, it pays to pay special attention to such big commitments.

3/14/2007 11:14:00 PM  

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