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Novice Nook # 39
This week's article is called "A Planning Primer" and it discusses a variety of subjects relating to planning. It touches on the idea of grand plans (which Heisman says are really pretty rare) and a variety of shorter plans, mostly dealing with pawn structures. It's really a teaser for the sort of thing Soltis deals with in "Pawn Structure Chess", Stean in "Simple Chess" and Silman in "Reassess" (and I'm sure Seriwan in his series too), but it's a good quick intro.
Here's the link. Enjoy.
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A very interesting article...
... with some sensible observations on planning.
Apropos of which, is this interesting position that arose in one of my games several months ago. Black to play.
Now, Black can immediately knock over a rook for a knight, but my last move 18...Ra8-d8+ 19.Kd2-c1 had been motivated by a vague sense that the weakened K position and the threat on the rook ought to yield more. But I couldn't find it, and rather tamely continued 19...Rxd1+?
It was only after the game I found the much better plan: 19...Nd4! so that if, say. 20.Rg1, or f3; then 20...Nb3#.
How about the 20.Rxd4 Rxd4 continuation? Well, White's rook is still 'en prise', but Black is now also threatening 21...Rc8#.
I really hadn't examined closely enough the complex of squares around the WK to see if there was anything to back up my 'gut feeling'. If you do have a gut feeling there's something in the offing, it's worthwhile looking around to see what is causing it!
But the real point of this post is in the game continuation. After 19...Rxd1+? (19...Bxh1 at once seems better, though still a poor substitute for 19...Nd4) 20.Kxd1 Rxh1 21.Kxc2 Black has R for B+P: not a huge plus, and has to find a plan.
Not easy, is it? What the hell do you do here?
After 21....Re8, it took me a further 6 moves of more-or-less aimless shifting to and fro with the bishop, trying to find a good spot for it, before I came up with something, and even then it involved giving up the b-pawn, and giving White serious counterchances with the resulting Q-side majority, in order to unbalance the game enough for concrete plans to be realisable. Even then I was lucky, as, with the draw in sight, White made a slip that allowed the rook, after its adventures behind enemy lines, to scurry back betimes to defend the Q-side.
So my question is, using the above position at move 21 as an example, say, how does one formulate plans in such quiescent, transitional situations? I've always had a problem in this area - or at least, I've always felt it to be a problem.
What sort of plan ought we to be considering (especially for Black, but it might be equally instructive to look at White's plans, too)? I knew enough to realise h1 could fast become an unhealthy resort for the B (22.f3 ... 23.Nd3 ... 24.Nf2 ...) but where to put it? White's K could become very active very shortly, as will the WB.
What sort of pawn constellations are indicated?