Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Plan--Middlegame

This is where the rubber hits the road. For me, thinking about the middle game starts during opening preparation. Part of the opening preparation is to understand what kind of middle game plans I am striving towards. If my opponent takes me out of my preparation, I need to develop some kind of middle game plan over the board.

I try to use the method outlined in Silman's how to Reassess Your Chess. Silman's Imbalance descriptions provide a framework for positional analysis, which one uses to decide where you want to apply pressure (king side, center, or queen side). Plans evolve around turning temporary advantages into more permanent ones, and taking advantage of favorable imbalances. It should also be turned around and used to figure out what the opponent's plan should be.

Silman's imbalance list:
  1. Superior minor piece
  2. Pawn structure
  3. Space
  4. Material
  5. Control of key file or square
  6. Lead in development
  7. Initiative
Reassess provides lots of good examples for all of these, but particularly extensive is Silman's exposition of superior minor piece.

To improve my planning, I intend to write extensive notes, while sparring with Fritz or playing solitaire chess.  (I love Pandolfini's monthly column in Chess Life, even though I think he telegraphs too much in his comments)

The planning process I am training myself to use is covered in my move method under A.1-4 and B.2. The results of planning are used in B.3 Candidate moves along with tactical possibilities.

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