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How does one deal with diverse middlegames when many different openings are played?

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  • How does one deal with diverse middlegames when many different openings are played?

    Even when playing against amateurs like myself, I end up facing just as many different openings. The variety is not very different compared to playing against stronger players. Even when you tell amateurs not to play certain openings, they will still end up experimenting with them.

    If we follow the basic advise to amateurs to not learn the openings and just focus on tactics and endgames, assuming we survive the opening, how do we find a plan in the middlegame, when the variety of the arising positions is so diverse?

    For people with a repertoire, in a certain opening there are several possible plans, but more importantly the number of plans are finite. That doesn't seem to be the case in amateur games; possibilities seem endless.

    Is this state of affairs really true or am I just high? Further, is experiencing each position firsthand the only way to find the right plans?

    "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
    "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY

  • #2
    Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post

    assuming we survive the opening, how do we find a plan in the middlegame, when the variety of the arising positions is so diverse?
    Only one position actually arises at a time; that's to our benefit. There's the possibility of a variety of positions arising, but that possibility is never the actual reality. Only one position will actually arise, and the ghosts of those unmanifested positions will dissipate into the aethers, usually harmlessly.

    When surveying a position, care must be given to noting the threats actually being made towards your pieces/king. That care must be extended to "possible" moves which "may" arise from your opponent.

    A hierarchy of urgency may be composed to aid in one's collapsing of potentiality. It's usually always best to see to the safety of one's own forces before contemplating how to do mischief to the forces of one's opponent. After all, one's opponent has just moved, and therefore the relationship of the pieces to each other and to the board has been somewhat altered, for better or worse, since one last held a plan in mind.

    1. Safety of one's King.
    2. Safety of one's Pieces.
    3. Safety of one's Pawns.
    4. Underprotected squares. Unprotected squares.

    ("Hope Chess" rears its unlovely head when we note a weakness in any of the above categories but prefer to carry on with the glorious plan we've held dear to our bosom so long. "Things change", and we have to change with them, or go under. As few statements in chess are perennially absolute, so too this statement is but relative: if we calculate a series of forcing moves winning us a piece in the vicinity of the opponent's king, we may safely ignore for the moment that hanging pawn on our queenside, so to speak.)

    All else being equal, which sometimes it will be, let's move on to considering "over the horizon threats"....again, possiblities which are not yet actualities, but only potential.

    Presently, your knight is two moves away from actually forking my Queen and Rook. I note that. That forking is a possibility, but not yet an actuality. My judgement finds itself weighted towards ignoring that possibility for the moment, as I believe I smell a scent of mischief I can do you which promises keeping you too busy to unfold the future in the direction of forking my pieces.

    I turn my attention to the state of your forces, examining how you stand in relationship to the hierarchy of urgency mentioned above. How stand your king/pieces/pawns? What weak squares are in your domain? Might I exploit them safely, without compromising the safety of my forces or allowing you some obvious counterstrike? Is there the possibility of a tactical combination against you, lurking a few degrees of contemplation beneath the surface appearance of your forces as they stand arrayed against mine?


    I recall my notion of a possibility to avoid the actuality of your Knight forking my pieces, still potentially two moves distant, by doing you mischief. I turn my mentations towards this happy thought, surveying the board. Yes, as I thought--I can see a clear-cut sequence of several forcing moves, winning me a piece at the end of it. By the end of your forced reaction to this sequence, my Queen will be several files away from your as-yet unmanifested, but possible, knight-forking. (Arising possibility avoided in entirety, while pressing you with urgent matters Elsewhere. 2 birds killed with one stone...)

    I then consider how our forces will stand in relationship to each other at the end of this proposed sequence, and I can find no downside for the safety of my side. If there's a possible downside I stumble upon, I must examine it and then determine if the entire affair's too risky. I must also be careful not to grace HopeChess with the appellation of "intuition" LOL

    This is all a very verbal description of a process--the actual experience isn't as verbal, or as rote. Experience and intuition collapse possibilities, usually in conjunction with calculation, but sometimes without that conjunction. Many positions may be considered, but only one is chosen and only one will manifest. If one chooses well, things go as one imagines they should. If one fails to choose wisely, or one's opponent chooses better, one gets experience and a lesson not soon forgotten

    A plan has been chosen, and acted upon, by noting the disposition of the forces against each other, the threats against our own well-being, and the threats we can make against the well-being of the opponent's game.

    This is a tactical plan, not a strategic plan.

    My over-all strategic plan might be to block the Center, avoid castling, and attack you on your kingside with tempo. Risky business, but an overall strategic plan. I might have chosen this strategy with valid reason, say as my familiarity with your games convinces me that you do quite well with an open center, while I know that I'm capable of playing comfortably with my King uncastled and the center firmly blocked. I discomfort you by closing the Center, while playing to my lack of fear of remaining uncastled. A strategy, simple but strategic. If you manage to break through the Center, I'll have to scrap my strategy, as I've failed in it, and I'll have to deal with the arising positions, according to the hierarchy of urgencies mentioned above. Doubtlessly I'll arrive at some modified strategy, play the rest of the game tactically, or lose.

    Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
    For people with a repertoire, in a certain opening there are several possible plans, but more importantly the number of plans are finite. That doesn't seem to be the case in amateur games; possibilities seem endless.
    Seriously amateur games, beginner games, can be quite unpredictable, even to experienced players who obviously have the tactics at hand to successfully overcome the nearly random wood-pushings of the beginner. A long long time ago when I was only beginning to learn chess, there was one Expert in particular who enjoyed playing me, because, as he said, "I never know what move you're going to make--it's very interesting." LOL I think this is why sometimes we'll hear of masters making less-than-the-best moves intentionally, too. To mix things up and keep their opponents off-guard.

    Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
    Further, is experiencing each position firsthand the only way to find the right plans?
    No. If you bear in mind the goals of chess--to checkmate the opposing king without yourself being checkmated--keep sound precepts in mind, and relate the current position to similiar but not identical positions you've experienced, you'll find the plan. If you fail to find the plan, you've gained experience. If you find the plan, you've gained experience. Win/win situation.
    "They work at the pace of amnesia."--M. Bloch

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
      If we follow the basic advise to amateurs to not learn the openings and just focus on tactics and endgames, assuming we survive the opening, how do we find a plan in the middlegame, when the variety of the arising positions is so diverse?
      I wouldn't give advice to focus on endgames....I mean, this even sounds odd, you focus on the last part of the game reversing the order of the importance of each phase of the game...plan should be developed when you play your first move and carried out accordingly to what your opponent plays (you might tweak your plan every second move or so). If you start like this you'll realize that you don't even need to know what you play or how you got there; the plan is everything. In other words, you force your opponent to play like you want, a factor that is major while playing.

      Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
      Further, is experiencing each position firsthand the only way to find the right plans?
      Yes and no. See for yourself.
      Last edited by stachu71; 04-01-2013, 09:25 AM.
      Skype chess coaching? Send a message!
      Ever heard of The Hook and Ladder trick? Please refer to the famous game by Andriej Hook and James Ladder.
      Play as if you didn't understand chess. People always fear what they don't understand.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the responses.

        @Celadonite:

        I'm not referring to positions arising within one game, but rather across games. At the amateur level, the degree of unpredictability is so high that even if the game starts with the French Defense, Tarrasch variation for example, every game will likely end up somewhat different from another game that started off the same way, in terms of plans.

        The stronger you become, the more you need to play the best moves, in general, in order to maintain an advantage or equality. So the positions at higher levels tend to be less diverse and more "thematic" for that particular opening.

        So that's what I'm asking, how do we deal with very different positions in the middlegame? Every game may very well require different plans. This makes learning less thematic.

        You gave an interesting answer, which is a system based on maintaining safety while getting ever closer to mating the enemy King. That's a very Petrosian approach. Not that I don't like it, as I play in a similar manner. I'll try out the system and modify to fulfill my needs.

        "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
        "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
          So that's what I'm asking, how do we deal with very different positions in the middlegame?
          Every time you sit to the chessboard you are faced with a chess problem. Solving problems is far easier if you know their roots; know exactly what they arose from. This means that if you play the opening properly (have a good plan) you minimize the difficulties (degree of unpredictability) in the middlegame, and you should tackle it way better. To answer your question bluntly: you tackle them.

          Sorry to butt in, C.
          Skype chess coaching? Send a message!
          Ever heard of The Hook and Ladder trick? Please refer to the famous game by Andriej Hook and James Ladder.
          Play as if you didn't understand chess. People always fear what they don't understand.

          Comment


          • #6
            Question:

            What do you know about "Critical Thinking" Rimuel?

            Be thorough and honest as possible. If you know nothing say so. I want to know a starting point.
            I am a proud supporter of the GM Igor Smirnov way of teaching. If you would like to see the system and want to try out his teaching methods please follow this link: http://chess-teacher.com/affiliates/...?id=1517_2_3_1

            If you have questions/want a tutor inquire with messages. I am going to rewrite my web page and it will also go here.

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            • #7
              What I know about Critical Thinking:

              The subject that applies Aristotelian Logic. Premises, Conclusion. True or False. Fallacies. Forms.

              I think that's it. I'm afraid I don't know how to actually apply it to chess, unless I see positional weaknesses and tactical motifs.

              "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
              "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Rimuel V2 View Post
                What I know about Critical Thinking:

                The subject that applies Aristotelian Logic. Premises, Conclusion. True or False. Fallacies. Forms.

                I think that's it. I'm afraid I don't know how to actually apply it to chess, unless I see positional weaknesses and tactical motifs.
                That is an interesting way to put it. Boy you're smart.

                Okay, so you are familiar with it. How it applies to chess is the same way it applies to the scientific method. Which is basically this:

                1. You collect data.
                2. You analyse data to get common responses and possibly get new responses based on ideas, or evidence based processes.
                3. You plan how you will accomplish the goal you may have set from step 2.
                4. Implement the plan.
                5. Evaluate your results.

                In chess you can change this to ADD Evaluate your expected results on step 3. You are suppose to do this in the scientific method as well but it is "MORE" so important in chess in this case because it goes with calculation and evaluation before you move. Science you test to evaluate, chess you evaluate and test. Get it?

                Step 1. How do you collect data?

                You use books, Databases, People. You get the ideas that were used in the past and test out how those ideas work. If you can, even make changes to suit you or your situations better.

                Step 2. Analyzing data is pretty hard because it takes another skill set. But the way it comes back to this is, you will be repeating this method over and over. Basically it's coming up with how the position is and getting together the ideas from step 1, and producing your own ideas. This is where you set goals and plans.

                Did you see my post on the use blitz to improve your game? There is a lot of examples in even my last post on using these two methods if you look closely.

                Step 3. This is where you physically plan how you will accomplish those goals, Determine if it is necessary to calculate etc etc. (Yup, it is unnecessary to calculate in a lot of positions.)

                Step 4. Implement the plan would be the action of proceeding with the move and hope you calculated correctly.

                Step 5. This is where you ponder how you did on your last move and double check your current position/plan.


                It gets easier the more you do it of course.
                I am a proud supporter of the GM Igor Smirnov way of teaching. If you would like to see the system and want to try out his teaching methods please follow this link: http://chess-teacher.com/affiliates/...?id=1517_2_3_1

                If you have questions/want a tutor inquire with messages. I am going to rewrite my web page and it will also go here.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hmm...I see. The scientific method...

                  Aim, Hypothesis, Variables (Controlled, Manipulated, Responding), Collecting Data aka Procedure, Organizing and Presenting Data, Evaluating Data, Conclusion, Theoretical and Methodological Issues, Further Research: Research by others and Future research ideas.

                  Hmm...let me ruminate about this a bit more.

                  "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
                  "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yup and if you think about it most things we do are based on this, just people do not realize it nor practice it.

                    When you realize chess is an accumulation of ideas and methods and that your decisions can be made in a structured format, learning becomes easier.

                    That's also why people like Silman, Purdy, and Smirnov have taught systems of thought. Because it is EASIER to have thought systems explained than it is to just hear the thoughts of a master.
                    I am a proud supporter of the GM Igor Smirnov way of teaching. If you would like to see the system and want to try out his teaching methods please follow this link: http://chess-teacher.com/affiliates/...?id=1517_2_3_1

                    If you have questions/want a tutor inquire with messages. I am going to rewrite my web page and it will also go here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      you guys are saying some great stuff in here keep it up!

                      THis game is about checkmate! You deal with middlegame by planning out a checkmate, strategically positioning yourself into a position where you cannot get checkmated, controling the match while doing so so yo uare not reacting off your opponents moves he is doing it to you, and finally strategically positioning in a checkmate not trying to trade for pieces but for sure fire positions that will get you checkmate!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        To answer your question, the solution to your problem is you need to study middle game. And you need a good chess book to do so, I suggest your try Reassess Chess Book by Silman.
                        " Deep calculation is not what distinguishes the champions. It does not matter how far ahead you see if you don't understand what you are looking at. When I contemplate my move, I first must consider all the elements in the position so that i can develop a strategy and develop intermediate objectives"

                        -- Garry Kasparov--

                        "Tactics must be guided by strategy"

                        --- Garry Kasparov--

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                        • #13
                          Thank you for that advice, ryan. I will look into it.

                          "Blame yourself, or blame God." - Delita, FFT
                          "Give up on yourself, and you give up on the world." - Joshua, TWEWY

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Get a copy of Reuben Fine's books on the Opening.
                            There were two:
                            How to play the Openings.
                            PCO- Practical Chess Openings.
                            Now the books are of course dated.
                            But what they do teach is that some openings are interchangeable.
                            Such as playing the Caro Kann and you end up with a position in the Queen's Gambit.
                            And it goes on.
                            So you begin to think in positions and not openings.
                            Also get Roman's DVD on Bobby Fischer which indicated what Fischer was thinking when playing the opening.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dunno my chats so far with Rimuel seem to dictate he either has natural ability to look at positional difference and similarity, or he already studied it. But I have yet to see that Fischer DVD. Maybe I will look at it too.

                              There is also a few interpretations to silman's work. Maybe the best is Dana Mackenzie's video on '8 point chess'. Unfortunately I think that is just a chess lecture dot com video.
                              I am a proud supporter of the GM Igor Smirnov way of teaching. If you would like to see the system and want to try out his teaching methods please follow this link: http://chess-teacher.com/affiliates/...?id=1517_2_3_1

                              If you have questions/want a tutor inquire with messages. I am going to rewrite my web page and it will also go here.

                              Comment

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