Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Calculation in attack versus defense

Principle number 39 from Soltis' wonderful The wisest things ever said about chess:
Exact calculation is needed more in defensive positions than in attack.
I wish I had considered this before taking up the Caro Kann!

9 Comments:

Blogger likesforests said...

The basic defensive structure with pawns on c6 and e6 is tough to break down and many an aggressive opponent has launched unwise / unjustified attacks against it. I think it just takes some getting used to Black's defensive resources and chances to counter-attack. Of course, you must some hiccups expect when first you try a brand new opening. :)

10/29/2008 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger chesstiger said...

I already, kinda, knew this principle since one bad move in defense may be the end of the game. One bad/worse move in attack only means the attack can bleed to death but not to resign the game.

10/29/2008 02:00:00 AM  
Blogger tanc (happyhippo) said...

Hello BDK,

I think it's a bit too general to say more calculation is required in defense than attack.

I find that it is very important to constantly calculate when you're attacking as well especially when the attack involves a deep idea or a sacrifice.

cheers

10/30/2008 05:19:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

tanc: I was wondering if anyone would disagree. I am still thinking about what I think of the principle.

While accurate calculation is needed for both (I could attack with my queen but not notice she is en prise!), I have noticed on average that mistakes in my attacks are not punished nearly as badly as mistakes in my defense, perhaps for reasons chesstiger mentioned.

Plus, there is a psychological tendency I have in defense to be sort of lazy and not think through attacks that don't actually work, so I make unecessary "prophylactic" moves.

10/30/2008 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger Polly said...

BDK: I can relate to those unnecessary prophylactic moves. One of my most frustrating losses in the last 2 years was one where my defensive safe move, cost me the game. Whereas the more aggressive and riskier move was actually much safer then the one I chose.

Wisely played defense can be harder at times then attacks. If you're attacking there is the distinct possibility that you're already ahead and maybe an inaccurate attacking move may just slow down the winning progression. An ill timed defensive move could hasten one's defeat.

10/30/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Temposchlucker said...

As attacker, you have to "make the game". As defender you have only to react, which costs less energy. As gambiteer I used to say " I had to do everything myself, even losing" .

10/31/2008 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

It depends on the position from which the attack is coming, and the position being defended. As has been said, many (nonsacrificial) attacks weaken the enemy position at worst, lead to a win at best. Also, in defending there is often simply one square the King or other material can go to to avoid getting crushed, while a misstep on the attacker's part often just leads to retreat (and often with the opponent's position in a shambles).

However, all of the principles in his book have counterexamples.

10/31/2008 11:38:00 PM  
Blogger Grandpatzer said...

I'm curious how you handle the Advance variation, especially since you've played the French. How many of your CK games are the Advance Variation?

Also: my word verification is "muffiess"??? WTH?

11/04/2008 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

GP: I've never played the French.

I play c5 against the advance in the CK. I don't have a great feel for it yet, but so far I am happy with it. It's similar to the French advance but without that Bishop locked in by e6.

11/04/2008 11:30:00 AM  

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