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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Rest is matter of technique! - Part 1

Greetings to Chess folks!  I ruined several winning positions recently and realized that I need to work on my technique. While I started working on this 'practical' subject, I came across several instructive examples . I thought that sharing this would help a lot of players as not much is written on this subject and it will also help me in return. Chess is no textbook game, but then the guidelines serve as direction to us while we take decisions. So, you might want to pay attention to those conclusions. You might have come across the phrase 'Rest is matter of technique'. This usually means that one of the players accumulated a long-term advantage that should be now transformed into victory..Is it just so easy? I don't think so. The modern generation is ambitious, so one has to be ready to squeeze. Before we get to the examples, remember : Always expect your opponent to play the best move. Expect that your opponent will not give it easy, thus you will not frown at your opponent's tenacity. The two most common ways to improve technique : 1) Studying classics 2) Playing out Technical Positions against a friend or a computer. I will give you several positions for training purposes. Make sure, you give it a try. The difference between good and bad technique is often, matter of poor, good or excellent knowledge of the winning patterns and endgame theory. In short, more knowledge equals better technique. I might cover a bit on that in the coming parts. There are a few stages in between a won position and a full point. The most important concept while you are converting a winning position into a win : Optimum Position of the Pieces. Your pieces will help you when they reach their best squares. Before a concrete action, bring all your pieces to the play, get them to the best squares and Centralize them if its possible I am starting with my favorite example, that helped me win two games. Let us see How Kramnik does that:

Kramnik - Anand, Corus Wijk Aan Zee. 2007
Play this position against a friend or a computer. Lets take a stock of the position : White is better as he has double bishop advantage and a potential active majority on the kingside, whereas Black's queenside majority is stamped. 

Next Position :
Kramnik - Leko, Rapid match - 2001
Try playing this position against a computer or a friend. Take white and try to win!

                                                                                    Anand-Ponamariov, Corus 2005. Diagram [#] Lets go deeper and learn about a key idea that should be mastered in technical positions : Do Not Rush! It is clear that white is winning, white has a protected passed pawn and active pieces. Anand beautifully improves all his peces and delivers a final blow. All this is great technique. Watch how Anand improves slowly, without rushing. You must have figured out by now that c2-c4 is a pawn lever that opens the gates.

Anand - Aronian, Candidates - 2014
This position is from a very recent game where Anand scored a win against Aronian. Pay attention to the subtle moves that shows great patience. 'Do not rush' is an important mantra of great technique

Anand- Topalov , Candidates 2014
This is again from the Candidates. Anand scored an important win against Topalov. It was fun to watch the press-conference after his game. Here, white is slightly better and black's 31st move proved to be very fatal.

Conclusion for Now :
Problems in Realizing the advantage : 1) Lack of Patience 2)Overlooking opponent's counterplay 3)Poor Knowledge of Endgame theory An antidote to the first problem is Patience. Understand and implement the concept 'Do not Rush'. When you reach a winning position, do not relax. This is the time where you need to be alert and precise. Your opponent is not going to sit and wait, he will setup some traps and pitfalls. So, be alert! Be proactive. Study the basic endgame theory and devote some time towards studying of endgames. It is something that I am doing as well, though I must admit that the subject is vast. I hope the technical postitions will boost you and motivate you further towards mastering the art of technique! Remember, Lasker once quoted : "Most difficult one in chess, is difficult to win winning positions'' My next article will have more themes on this subject :)

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