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wschmidt ♡ 107 ( +1 | -1 )
Novice Nook discussion forum I’ve been a long-time fan of Dan Heisman’s Novice Nook column at I’m convinced that he’s got a great deal of valuable information and advice to offer for beginning and intermediate players. I’ve read many, but not all of the Novice Nook columns and I’ve recommended them to many of the players I’ve coached in the Chess Coaching Club.

I’ve often thought that I would benefit from systematically reading them straight through, like short chapters in a book. I’ve decided to start from the beginning of his columns and read one a week, starting this weekend (January 21-22, 2006). I’ve started this thread to invite folks who would like to join me to read along. We’ll use it as a very informal forum for discussing the articles. If it takes off, that’s great. If not, well then it wasn’t meant to be.

You can find the articles at Look for the Archives link and scroll down to Novice Nook. The first article, introducing the series, is from February, 2001, called “Helping You Through the Jungle”. I hope some of you’ll will join me! Walter
thunker ♡ 234 ( +1 | -1 )
Simple comments.... I have NO qualifying credentials such as USCF rating or anything, but have enjoyed chess for years. Although I took about a 20 year "vacation" from the royal game! So my comments probably don't account for much....

I like the way/style he writes. Everybody has his or her favorite/preferred way of learning/playing chess I suppose. However, my teacher has always abhorred fast chess - he calls it speed chess, blitz, whatever. He has even gone so far to state that it can harm one's chess playing ability! To him, it's either OTB or correspondence. And one is completely different than the other. If you want really GOOD chess - then play CC! Which is what we do here at GK for the most part.

Heisman’s piece "evaluation" is interesting. As he pointed however, position can greatly affect simple "piece" evaluation in my humble opinion. I mean a connected pawn-pair on the 7th rank... Watch out. His big deal about "points" is simply semantics. Everyone knows we amateurs use the term "point" and "pawn" interchangeably regarding a board evaluation....

I sure appreciated Kaufman's approach of simply crunching the database numbers to "calculate" an average piece evaluation. Such information is really good as long as the people using it realize just where it comes from and doesn't try to just do "basic counting" in a chess position. Counting pieces without position can prove to be quite fatal! Statistical analysis and tools can be great a great blessing or curse - depending upon how you use them and upon how you interpret the results.... :-)

I also appreciated his comments regarding post-game analysis with his chess engine, and how he played "his move" to develop his piece (rook) rather than what the engine showed was "better" after the fact. This reinforces what my teacher has repeatedly shown me regarding chess engines - they just can't "see" the whole scope of the game. They can do really well, but there are still ways to "thwart" them in certain type positions. I don't know how many games I've played him over the past 35 years, but I've *never* won a single game with him. And many of those more recent games he *asked* me to use a chess engine against him! I have *one* draw! But that hardly counts as he was recovering from a major heart attack and was not at his best level...

yanm ♡ 12 ( +1 | -1 )
direct link to Heisman's column ->
ruzina ♡ 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice idea It's more fun to read something when others are doing it also, so this is a nice idea. I'm pretty busy this weekend but I think I'll start to read those columns at some point.
deejie ♡ 76 ( +1 | -1 )
Accessible & Helpful Hi all

Great idea, Walter - a read/discussion of Dan Heisman’s Novice Nook.
Have to admit to reading ahead already!

These articles begin with a fairly general overview of necessary approach
and attitude towards chess. If nothing else, they present reassurance to the
avid player that thier work is correctly focussed and progress, although often
imperceptible, is taking place.

Heisman's writing seems somehow fresh to me, despite familiarity with most
of the topics covered. He's already successfully inspired me to adjust my
approach to lost game analysis. I look forward to further responses to the
articles & would personally benefit from comments by stronger players.

alice02 ♡ 9 ( +1 | -1 )
Kaufman points Why do you divide 1 3/4 by 3 3/4? It was clear up to the point where exchanging a rook for a bishop gave an advantage of 1 3/4
ras11 ♡ 57 ( +1 | -1 )
Kaufman Values Hello all.

I am finding it tough to understand the point of calculating the Kaufman values rather than using Reinfeld values. I understand the theory, and the fact that statistically Bishops & Knights are worth more than 3 pawns. But for players at my level, and even well above, does it really matter that much? I can see how in the heat of battle over the world championship it may make or break the game, but in reality, I cant see myself pulling out my calculator every time I contemplate an exchange.

I guess my question is then, is it still OK to do it the Reinfeld way?

mattdw ♡ 104 ( +1 | -1 )
Ras11, you ask what the point in calculating Kaufman values is, well if you think why you study anything other chess related things it is because we either enjoy it and/or simply to improve. If using the Kaufman values might give us an edge in our games by allowing us to calculate the true outcome of an exchange, then why deliberately overlook it (unless you despise numbers!)? I suppose it does depend on what your goals are, but for me it is worth doing. Besides, the arithmetic will become easier with time (darts players are a good example!) and common exchanges will become second nature.

I think I'd personally rearrange all the values to be whole numbers with a pawn worth 4, a Bishop/Knight worth 13, a Rook worth 20 and the Queen worth 39 to allow for quicker calculation. I understand that many people will think I mad for doing that! but at the end of the day, they are just numerical values.

I'll give my full opinion on the rest of the article later, I'm a bit bogged down with work at the minute.
ionadowman ♡ 32 ( +1 | -1 )
I had a look at the Novice Nook... article on 'Candidate Moves' - that is, how to decide on a 'short list' (my expression) of moves to think about in a given position. Damn good advice (and clearly written, with practical examples)! Does he really call this 'Novice Nook'?? I think I'll be reading more of these...
deejie ♡ 65 ( +1 | -1 )
Kaufman values It's fair to say that the relative value of pieces varies with each position. In realistic gameplay
we need to evaluate the force advantage (or occasionally disadvantage) with consideration to
such elements as development, mobility, the state of the centre of the board and the location &
safety of our opponent's king.
Personally, I appreciate the academic, perhaps scientific, approach to such subjects but have
found tools like Fritz's analysis to 100th of a pawn a little like overkill. Then again, I'm
floundering around the high 1400s for ever ;)
ionadowman ♡ 128 ( +1 | -1 )
Piece values... ...are merely a rough and ready guide, and are always mutable. Sometimes the values of pieces and pawns are determined by what you retain, rather than what you have given up. Would you prefer R+2P or 2 minor pieces? Values systems indicate a preference for the former, yet, early in the game at least, probably the 2 minor pieces are handier. How do K+R+2P fare in an endgame against K+2mp? Beginners soon learn not to give up B+N on f7 (or f2) in exchange for R+1P! In an endgame with Q+N vs Q+B the owner of the knight might prefer to keep the queens on; the owner of the bishop to exchange them! For some reason the Q and N complement each other very well in the endgame - better than Q+B (generally speaking). On an empty board, 2 pawns on the 6th rank will defeat a rook, even if the rook moves first (provided it has no immediate capture); 3 on the 5th will do the same. They don't even have to be connected! On a full board, 2 pawns on the 6th, especially if connected, are likely to be bad news for someone! Speaking of pawns, aren't some more equal than others? One really ceases to think in terms of numerical values of the pieces after a while, and goes by 'feel'. But thinking about these values goes a long towards developing that feel. As such, it ought to be simple. The classical 1-3-3-5-9 does the job for me. :-)
happinessisawarmgun ♡ 43 ( +1 | -1 )
IMHO... ...the most important piece of advice in relation to my rating is the memorization of tactical motifs like removing the guard ( as Mr. Heisman states is his favorite ) .

Personally speaking I have found that my play is at its best when my brain is switched on tactically and my biggest improvement has come from doing puzzles etc .

Between now and the discussion on the next column I will be memorizing 100 or so 'removing the guard ' puzzles as Mr. Heisman suggests

ccmcacollister ♡ 377 ( +1 | -1 )
I find it ... interesting to contemplate the number valuations that must go into programming a top level Chess playing computer ... where everything must be assessed and assigned a numerical weight, and always dependent upon X number of other factors... but the quality of computers' play now seems to indicate that Chess can be broken down into a mathmatical concept quite effectively. (It Has been said that mathematics is the universal language; and that all things can be expressed in such terms. ... Hmmm, how about 'The Equation for "Love" ?!', etc...!!? )
But in a program, not only Pieces but formations and positional factors would need to be numerically expressed as well. I imagine that there are now those player-programmers who could really shed some light upon the value of various features, if inclined to.
I've used 'the numbers' sometimes as an estimation in some gambits that I've played. And came to believe that a pawn is worth about 2.5 tempii in an opening.
What's a 1/2 tempo?! Well that would mean that just getting two tempii in not enough, but getting 3 should more than compensate for the pawn.
In most decent gambits, you will get 2 tempii for your pawn. (Also important to consider, are they Developing Tempii? or Significant Tempii) And then you start looking around at other positional/dynamic factors to try to find the remaining 1/2 to full tempo of compensation. EG. A half-open file invariably accompanies a pawn gambit, and makes part of the tempo value needed. So you look to see how significant that file is. And usually ends up worth 1/4 to 2/3 tempo, perhaps, as an estimation. Bishop has a great diagonal? Add that in! A permanent weakness in the defenders camp? That can yield BIG fractions or more!! (Like in a Goring Gambit where BL has played ...c5 to try to hold his d4 pawn, making that Huge hole on d5
... puts the Goring WELL OVER the 2.5 mark for compensation!)
But that's all approximations to me, as I play. And seems pretty finickity for a human player. Yet it could go much more detailed, and must, if we wanted to play the game in a truly mathmatically calculated manner. Like if we each have a 1/2 open file, generally the one is better that: 1.Has a significant target, or 2.infiltration potential, 3.more central file closer to the king's than the others guys file. 5.has the greater distance between rook and target.
All of which can go out the window if one file should happen to be an h-file that is mating the other king ...
I've seen the Bishop pair valued as worth an extra 1/2 pawn together ... in certain positions anyway. A Knight equalling a Rook in value.
The Soviet School is apparently quite adept at teaching hit matter of when to sac The Exchange with advantage to the minor piece. The games of Tal, in particular show a keen insight in this regard.
All the different ways of valuation end up being approximations to us as humans. Few can/will or would calculate up all of this, even if possessed of an unerringly accurate system of values. (Of course computers dont mind doing it :) Fortunately we have our intuition, judgement and experience to guide us instead of rote formula. But adding in a little bit of System seems fine to me, if it provides any bit more of insight, or simply confidence in your own play is a gain worth having. And might be attained this way. If so, great. Like having a bad plan is better than no plan; it has been said. Sometimes being wrongly confident can be better than being correctly terrified to move! }8-))
I found the "clumps" thread, that came to the forum in this last month, to be very interesting. Pertaining to the valuations used by Corr Chess WC Berliner (and Chess programmer as well) , you might want to see that one as well.
Regards, Craig
cascadejames ♡ 64 ( +1 | -1 )
Good idea Walter! Thanks, I am another one of those players returning to this game after a long intermission. In my
case nearly 40 years.

The first article is good. Instinctively I always knew that the Reinfeld points were an
oversimplification, but had not seen such a quantitative analysis. I would add that for me, the
advantage of two Bishops over a Knight and Bishop seems more than 1/2 a pawn. Unless the
position is very cramped, the higher mobility of the Bishops seems very powerful, particularly
because with two bishops it is possible to switch from an attack on one side, to an attack or
defense on the other more quickly.

wschmidt ♡ 86 ( +1 | -1 )
Wow! I’m so pleased so many folks decided this was a worthwhile idea! Whether you’re commenting or just reading along, thanks!
I'd like to suggest some very general guidelines for this discussion to keep it orderly.
(1) For consistency, let's start our discussion of the new weekly article on Friday of each week. That way everyone will have full weekend to look it over and weigh in if they wish.
(2) If the thread is closed because of the 50 message limit and you want to post, start a new thread with a title like "Novice Nook #2" or something clearly indicating continuity.
(3) As we progress, we'll probably be referring to past and future columns; let's refer to them by the month and year they were published, rather than by "#13" or "week 7".
Again, thanks to all! It's great to see so many folks getting into this idea! Walter

wschmidt ♡ 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Mattdw. I know you're one of the more math inclined folks at GK. For those of us, like myself, who are somewhat challenged in that area, could you answer Alice02's question further up in the thread? I.e., why is Heisman dividing 1 3/4 by 3 3/4? As she says, "it was clear up to the point where exchanging a rook for a bishop gave an advantage of 1 3/4". Thanks in advance. Walter
thunker ♡ 93 ( +1 | -1 )
Craig The concept Berliner uses is called "chunking" rather than "clumping" I've not been able to figure it out either and have even asked Dr. Berliner personally to explain it better to me. Of course, he's much too busy to mess with a little peon like me, although he has told me he's been working on another paper specifically to address that issue in more detail. He acknowleged that his coverage of that concept in "The System" was a bit vague. Perhaps someday he'll publish something addressing that, as the concept is key to his development of his HITECH chess playing machine/software hybrid.

I, too, didn't quite follow the "dividing 1.75 by 3.75" issue that Alice02 mentioned. To me, using Heisman's values (I still prefer Berliner's though) trading the minor piece for a rook and I would be simply 5 - 3.25 = 1.75 *points* (haha) to the better. Of course, this doesn't take into account the board position....
mattdw ♡ 120 ( +1 | -1 )
Walter/Alice, I'll do my best to explain the bit about, "the exchange is
worth 1¾ divided by 3¼ or about half a piece, not 2/3 of a piece."
If we consider an exchange of a knight for a rook under the Reinfeld system, in terms of pawns we get:
5 - 3 = 2 us the advantage of 2 pawns.

Now if divide that number by the value of a knight or bishop we can work out how much that is worth relative to a minor piece:
(2 ÷ 3 = 2/3) we get that our 2 pawn advantage is worth 2/3 of a piece (either knight or bishop).

So in the exchange of a minor piece for a rook under the Reinfeld system we are up the exchange by 2/3rds of a minor piece.

Now if we do the same for the Kaufman values.
Firstly find the advantage in pawns after an exchange of a minor piece for a rook:
5 - 3¼ = 1¾

or in decimals...
5 - 3.25 = 1.75

Now if we calculate how much this advantage is worth in terms of a minor piece:
1¾ ÷ 3¼ = 7/13

or in decimals...
1.75 ÷ 3.25 = 0.54..

As we can see from the final answer, an exchange of either a knight or bishop for a rook leaves us up the exchange by about half a minor peice (0.54.. or 7/13). The reason why this is less under the Kaufman system is because the minor pieces are valued slightly higher than under the Reinfeld system.

I hope this clarifies it a bit, if any of that is still not clear then please ask. Alternately I apologise if any of it is too simple!

thunker ♡ 25 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh! I see! Thanks Matt. He's simply comparing the "advantage" to a minor piece. I should have understood that before.
Still though, I tend to think in raw "advantage" rather than the ratio to a minor piece.
Guess it's all in how one prefers to think.....
wschmidt ♡ 172 ( +1 | -1 )
A couple of thoughts.... I think Heisman's discussion of the Kaufmann values was mostly to illustrate that using Reinfeld’s values can be a bit misleading at times. Reading the article, I have come away with the knowledge that, all things being equal, winning the exchange isn’t quite as good a deal as I used to think it was and that the queen is a bit stronger than Reinfeld’s numbers suggest. Of course, as has been said, so much is dependant upon the resulting position. Particulalry in OTB games, howver, I have a hard enough time adding up Reinfeld’s numbers on both sides in a multiple exchange scenario -I’m certainly not going to be switching to Kaufmann!.
One of the items that has been just barely mentioned in the thread is the paragraph about tactics towards the end of the article. I’m not familiar with the book that he’s recommending. I do know, however, that tactics underlies everything on the chessboard and if you haven’t worked your way through some form of introduction to tactics and elementary checkmates, - a book, software or website - your progress will be limited.
I speak as one who spent a lot of time reading stuff like “How to Think Like a Grandmaster” or “How to Reassess Your Chess” while still missing elementary combinations on the board. I’m now a big believer in starting simple and doing a lot of reviewing of those simple things before moving on to more advanced stuff. While positional considerations become increasingly important as one’s level of play improves, tactical considerations always lie beneath the surface. Accordingly, if you're a beginner or intermediate player who hasn't methodically worked through a book, a website, or a software program on tactics and elementary mates, that is definitely the next thing you should be doing.
wschmidt ♡ 153 ( +1 | -1 )
Synchronicity? Serendipity? I was thumbing through a book by Andy Soltis this evening, "Karl Marx Plays Chess", and stumbled across the following. Really, I wasn't looking for it!

" The first authority to claim scientific analysis of pice values appears to have ben Howard Staunton, the nineteenth-century Englishman who was unofficial world champion before 1850. Staunton wrote a hugely popular book, 'Chess Players Handbook', and in it he said the true numerical worth of the pieces could be worked out to two(!) decimal places:
Knight: 3.05
Bishop: 3.50
Rook: 5.48
Queen: 9.94"
Soltis then says that Staunton was, in fact, cribbing from an 1817 (!) edition of a book ascribed to the long-dead Philidor, but probably written by one William Lewis a leading chess author of the day.

Soltis. writing in 1991, goes on to discuss a couple of other approaches to valuing the pieces, and then says, "One approach that hasn't been tried yet is to load up a high-speed computer with master games. There's plenty of raw data, since there are so many games these days."

Voila, 15 years years later, we have the Kaufman values, remarkably close to Staunton/Lewis in several respects. Draw your own conclusions. Soltis also notes that Siegbert Tarrasch, another early great, discussed piece values in his book, "The Game of Chess" and then went on to say, "The estimates I gave are completely false for most advanced players."
alice02 ♡ 7 ( +1 | -1 )
My Rule (LOL) The value of a piece is directly proportional to the dismay you feel on losing it.
ketchuplover ♡ 9 ( +1 | -1 )
The first article I see is about candidate moves. Where's the one regarding piece values?
yanm ♡ 28 ( +1 | -1 )
its the last one The articles are listed by reverse publication dates. And wschmidt proposed to start with the first one chronogically: the one from February 2001!
ketchuplover ♡ 13 ( +1 | -1 )
I just went back & voila! it's there :) I think a pieces value is contingent upon their mobility and relevance.
yanm ♡ 49 ( +1 | -1 )
I second alice02 on piece's values More seriously, I don't use much the Reinfled values, let alone the Kaufman's system... Instead, I try to assess the values of each piece in concordance with the position. However, since my analysis skill is quite poor, maybe should I consider to rely more on the Reinfled's sytem?

On the other hand, the Kaufman's system seems needlessly precise to me: not only are the piece values tightly connected to the position, but they are also dependant on one's playing style!

My two cents,

alice02 ♡ 34 ( +1 | -1 ) -> -Understanding improvement and elements of chess strength

With respect to point 5. Do chess engines, when they spot a combination that was missed, now also identify a pattern of error over a number of missed combinations?
wschmidt ♡ 118 ( +1 | -1 )
OK, folks, it's Friday, time to move on to the next article. Alice02 has kindly provided a link in the previous message, or it's the March 2001 article in the Novice Nook archives at

I'll start by answering the question Alice02 raised - no, you have to discern for yourself from the chess engine analysis what sort of pattern of errors you have. If, over several games you see you are continually missing a certain type of pattern, then it's helpful to put in some time practicing those.

I'll also mention that those three diagrams at the end of the article are worth spending some time on. Last year I won an endgame in an OTB tournament because I was familiar the first diagram - the Reti problem. The set-up wasn't the same, but the principle was - there were two places where my king could head for to be effective. Using the diagonal move instead of a file or rank move got me closer to both and, when my opponent commited in one area, I headed to the other. My opponent was clearly shocked when he realized what had happened. I can't tell you how satisfying it felt!

I'll have a few other comments on the text of this week's article this weekend, but I'm at work and can't take any more time for now. ws

ras11 ♡ 96 ( +1 | -1 )
Heisman 2 OK, I thought this was a very good article. Within the last six months or so I have been reading books on tactics & strategy, and have been using a chess program (Chessmaster 10th Ed.) to increase my skills, and so far it appears to be working. However as Heisman pointed out in his first point, Identify your weaknesses, I'm finding it very hard to identify what I'm doing wrong. I looked into hiring a chess tutor in my area, but that proved to be to expensive for my tastes. (Around $100.00/hr) So I joined this great club, and have worked with a tutor online who definately helped alot, and for free!!!! Thanks chk12.

I have not analyzed past games though with a cpu program, and I think I may start doing that so I can try to identify where my lost games eventually went South. I think the problem with that is, the last time I tried to use Chessmaster for analyzing, it didn't like any of my moves. LOL.
ruzina ♡ 75 ( +1 | -1 )
Heisman 2 It was a nice column again. He seems to know what he is writing about.

This “ability to tolerate losing just right” is a good advice. One of the most important things I learned about chess was when I was not angry anymore after losing a game. I still see these people who throw pieces to floor or start cursing when they lose a game, even if it was their own blunder. This happens usually in blitz-games at my chessclub and it’s almost always happening in lower groups. The players in A-group have already learned how to take a loss.

Identifying weaknesses is something I have never tried, maybe because like ras11 said, it is so hard to do without a trainer.
ionadowman ♡ 77 ( +1 | -1 )
Recognizing tactical motifs... ...Pardon me if what follows looks like skiting, but one thing I noticed in my play over time (a lot of time!!), was how combinations would come to me almost without thought - instantly, as Heisman put it. In a recent GK blitz game, Philidor's Mate was the clue to a quick finish: Forsyte: r5k1/6r1/pp5Q/3P4/P1P1qppP/3n4/6PK/3R1R2 Black (me) to play: 1...g3+ 2.Kg1 Qd4+ 3.Kh1 Nf2+ 4.Kg1 Nh3+ 5.Kh1 Qg1+ 6.Rxg1 Nf2# To be sure, my opponent could have lost in other ways. I suspect he saw what was coming after 1...g3+ and, like a gentleman, played it out. My thanks to him.
It must be said, though, that this intuitive feel can come only from experience (which means practice!) and is the first thing to go if you stop playing for any length of time (as Adolf Anderssen found out against Morphy!). A pity.
mattdw ♡ 166 ( +1 | -1 )
I've just read the second article and again I think it's all very useful, it suits my work & thought style, breaking things down so that problems can be properly identified and targeted specifically for improvement.

Concerning the seven points which he says are important for an improvment in playing strength, I am in the process of addressing no.1 , but I have so many weakness' at this stage that pretty much anything would be benificial! wschmidt pointed me in the direction of tactical work and endgame study and it has been highly benificial and most of all enjoyable (which Dan also says is important).

no.2 - I have actually made a list of things that I need to remember to consider with every move which, as I have got used to using, has helped my significantly reduce gross blunders & to stop tactical opportunities. I will need to refine this over time as my style changes and I learn new things. Does anyone else done this? If so, care to share any thoughts on the matter?

I think 3/4/5 are all taken care of at the moment.

I think I'm ok with no.6 at the moment, but number seven might be my most problematic area but that is just because I am naturally competitive and ambitious. I've been working on trying to detach myself from my rating and to let my playing strength be the only factor involved in my performance, but it's proving quite difficult so far!

I bought a folder today, made notes on the first and second articles and then filed them. I plan on reviewing the basic points of each article before moving on to the next one every week. Hopefully this will really fix the messages in my memory.
happinessisawarmgun ♡ 7 ( +1 | -1 )
tactics... ....tactics , tactics and more tactics !! It's as if Mr. Heisman is talking to me personally . :)
wschmidt ♡ 217 ( +1 | -1 )
my two bits on the second article... Well, actually 3 bits....
First, I made a note in the margin next to "2. Learn a competent thinking method." The note was, "Something very possible in GK chess." One thing about correspondence chess, you don't have to move the first time you look at the board. Whatever method you come up with, whether you write it down and check yourself everytime to make you've completed the list, or have three step mental process, etc., etc., it's doable in a way that isn't possible in OTB play. When the clock is literally ticking next to you and people are standing around and you had to get up at 6 in the morning and drive across two counties to get to the tournament - you can easily slip up and not use that method that you so carefully worked out. But in correspondence, you not only get to practice the method slowly and carefully, you'll regularly take points from folks who don't! (And the habits practiced while playing on GK will carry over into OTB play.)

Second, I made a note next to "4. Practice and play as much as you can." And the note was "doesn't mean lots of GK games - but as many as possible fully using the thinking method and having fun." This is gonna mean different things to different people. Right now, for me, factoring in my work, chess study, personal life, etc., that means a handful of non-rated games and 2-4 rated games at a time. And those rated games can get several looks in 3 days before I make a move. I know some of the highest rated players on GK spend hours on a position. Doing that is not fun for me, but neither is moving like I'm playing blitz and lsoing because of blunders.

Finally, in another little bit of synchronicity, I read the bit about "6. Tactics flow from imbalances...." not long after looking over a line in a opening book for White that concluded with a discussion of whether a recapture should be made with a center pawn or a piece in a particular position. Taking with the piece would have left the pawns lined up 4 and 3 against 4 and 3. Everything else being equal, the author suggested taking with the pawn, leaving 4 vs 3 and 3 vs 4 - the reason, of course, was the imbalance created. Otherwise the position would be drawish.

We all find our own
ionadowman ♡ 98 ( +1 | -1 )
Sometimes... is well to look at these ideas in concrete terms. As wschmidt ('vice' Heisman) observes, you often have to create imbalances in order to bring about tactical chances. Paul Keres recommended that early in one's chess development one ought to play risky - even unsound - gambits and variations in order to develop the (tactical) imagination. Such lines have imbalances built in! True, they aren't altogether in your favour, but they aren't wholly against you either. The discipline is to extract every little tactical nuance that you can find in order to survive, to turn these imbalances around, make them work for you. In other words, to create problems for your opponent!
By the way, one ought not cease to be on the alert for tactical possibilities even in quite simple endgames. Remember the 'eternal vigilance' gag. Against one opponent a win and a draw became a draw and a loss owing forgetting this ... twice. :-( :-(
wschmidt ♡ 38 ( +1 | -1 )
It's Friday, So, it's time to move on to the next Heisman article, "Going to Sleep in the Endgame" from April, 2001. We seem to be going from the generalities of the first two articles to a very specific technical lesson in this article - a very worthwhile one, I might add. Here's the post:

yanm ♡ 63 ( +1 | -1 )
Hesiman 3 I find this third column particulary enlightening. I think that the idea of 'Going To Sleep' (GTS) moves is well suited to my desperate case. I tend to play rashly in endgames in which I'm advantaged... and doing so, I often found myself on the losing side! So, I will try to play some GTS moves to avoid any surprises wheneve possible. I guess that masters could find that those moves are not the best ones, and are even ugly. However, for the majority of us, who struggle with simple chess tactics, they might avoid losing winning games...

My two cents,

ionadowman ♡ 81 ( +1 | -1 )
A fine article... ...though its examples are pretty simple and obvious, it does articulate certain ideas I've used in endgames in an easily understood form. My last posting in this thread is relevant to this article, too, but serves as a cautionary tale. Here is the position: White: Kd3, Be1, Pb4; Black: Kd5, Be5, Pb5, Pc6. A dead draw...But!! For the last few moves, Black had been manoeuvring with the bishop and making nothing of it. White had been aiming to get his K into the GTS position on the b-file - b3 for preference, but b1 would have been OK if things got heavy. Black tried one last idea... 57...Bc7! 'A-ha!' says I 'Now I can get my K to b3, and that's all she wrote.' 58.Kc3?? c5! 59.bxc5?? Nope, still haven't spotted it... 59...Ba5+! 0-1 So...beware of going to sleep too soon! (Also, if your sight of the screen board is as lousy as mine is, always, Always, ALways transfer the position to a chessboard!!!).
ruzina ♡ 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Heisman 3 Funny position ionadowman and a good advice also. I found this third article to be much lighter to study than the previous ones. Maybe more practical also. I like the GTS-idea a lot.
alice02 ♡ 21 ( +1 | -1 )
2ND LAST EXERCISE I have got as far as the second last exercise and i am not sure why bc3, which protects the white pawn , "blockades" all the black pawns?

Couldn't some of the pawns keep the king busy while one of them gets to 8?
alice02 ♡ 29 ( +1 | -1 )
on screen miniature chessboard Does anyone know of an onscreen miniature chessboard that can be used in conjunction with the GK forum?
I thought CT ART had one but I tried experimenting with ionadowman's moves and it wouldnt allow that. I had to play against crafty and also I couldnt get GK and CT ART to stay on the screen at the same time.
mattdw ♡ 75 ( +1 | -1 )
alice02, I've not read all the article yet so I may be missing the point when I try to answer your question but anyway, Bc3 blockades all of the black pawns because any individual pawn move will render it undefended and simulateously under attack from the Bishop. The Black king cannot come to the aid of it's pawns as it can only move backwards initially, giving white the opportunity to play Ke6 and attack the 1st pawn in the chain whilst blocking blacks king from coming to the defence on subsequent moves.

As for a minature chess board, I just open one of my games from GK and reset an analysis board! It wont stay at the front if you start using the forum but I haven't found a way to get one to stay at the front regardless of what other windows I'm using.
alice02 ♡ 12 ( +1 | -1 )
Now I know It is an effective blockade because if the black king is moved to support the pawns white will get their pawn to 8.
mattdw ♡ 48 ( +1 | -1 )
I've read the whole article now, another very useful one. This time with more specific practical advice rather than general strategic advice. Though in a way the GTS move could be considered as a principle since it is an idea that aims to narrow down the many possible moves in a position to a one or two that help to achieve the desired result by severely limiting the opponents options. I'll keep a look out for an opportunity to play one in my upcoming games.
alice02 ♡ 33 ( +1 | -1 )
THANKS mattdw No - you werent missing the point at all - I am still working on seeing combinations:). I eventually got it - but it took me a while:)

And the advice about using analyse the board is very helpful.

But I don't know what that situation is called. I know it is not called a pin or a fork. Can soemone please tel me if there is a specific name for it- apart from clever:)
wschmidt ♡ 49 ( +1 | -1 )
I have a question for the readers of this thread, based on a suggestion I got from Alice02. Her suggestion reads....

"i'M WONDERING WHETHER EACH WEEK SHOULD START A NEW THREAD WITH THE DATE AND SOMETHING LIKE 'this weks discussion of the next Heisman article dated ****".

Many people skim read and would have missed that it was a continuous thread. Some may not realise the next aticle is up for discussion."

What do you folks think of this? Shall we start doing a new thread each week?ws
cascadejames ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes for new threads >Shall we start doing a new thread each week?

Good idea. And thanks again for organizing this project. I am finding it very helpful already.
alberlie ♡ 56 ( +1 | -1 )
One thing... ... in the last diagram of Heisman's last article, I'm not exactly certain that his suggested moves of Bc3, Kg6 e7+ Bb4# are the kind of thing he talks about in the rest of the article.

For, in this case he's mixing the "play it safe and immobilize your opponent" - theme with the "deliver mate quick" theme.
If I want to really Go To Sleep in that particular endgame, I'd surely play Bc3 protecting my own pawn and then follow up with Ke5, Kxd5, xc4, xb3, xa2. Then go back and queen the pawn. At least that's the way I'd play if I had only 20 sec. on the clock and wouldn't want to spoil it.
yanm ♡ 33 ( +1 | -1 )
New thread I set up a new thread for the Novice Nook colum: ->

Thanks wschmidt, this Novice Nook idea is really great!