PART 3: Calculations and Combinations
Promises to introduce Kotov’s method of calculation and a system that allows you to understand when combinations may or may not exist.
Chapter 1: Calculation
How many moves ahead does a GM see? Reti says one move but examples from Alekhine display many, many more. The trick is “you only bother calculating once the correct plan is clear and once you settle upon a plan that helps your plan come to fruition.” Normally you need to at least calculate at least a couple of moves ahead to make sure everything is in order and sometimes you have to look much deeper. Silman uses a couple of his own games as examples and then shows the famous Reti-Alekhine 1929 game. I followed the game in one of my databases with Kasporov’s along with Silman’s analysis. One thing Silman mention that I hadn’t considered before was that in a game with one player attacking queenside and the other kingside, a trade of queens usually helps the player attacking queenside. This seems obvious but the Reti-Alekhine game is an exception.
Silman suggests two things to improve calculation:
1. Go through a GM game collection looking at possible candidate moves and writing down all your analysis in a notebook.
2. Read Kotov’s book “Think Like a Grandmaster.”
Chapter 2: Rules of Combination
For a combination to exist one of these factors must be present:
1. Open or weakened King
2. Undefended pieces
3. Inadequately defended pieces
So don’t look for a combination all the time but rather only when you see one of these factors in a given position. A position from Alekhine-Junge 1942 is used to demonstrate. GM Averbach has stated that the vast majority of combinations are based in one way or another on the theme of double attack. A Aronin-Kantarovich miniature is used as an example and demonstrates the rule that you shouldn’t open the position if your are behind in development.
Two problems finish the chapter from Kolvick-Silman 1989 and Amateur-Muller corr 1928-29.
Over all it gave me some new ways to think about positions, which is always good, but nothing too concrete yet. I feel there needs to flesh added to the bones of ideas presented so far.