These are some notes I wrote down when reading through some different texts a while back. I am posting them here as a refresher for myself since there was a study break since I had written these down in my training journal.
Dvoretsky on Calculation
I. Technique of move selection and variation calculation
1. Immediately decide on all possible candidate moves. (each ply)
- Establish an optimum order in which they should be considered
- Sometimes we don’t look for candidate moves, but candidate possibilities (concepts in Aagaard’s terms)
2. What might I have not seen?
- cast off burden of variations calculated earlier and look at the position with fresh eyes.
- look for improvements earlier in variations. It is more important and can save time.
- Don’t hurry into deep calculation. Ask yourself if it is necessary, or if it is possible to find an improvement earlier.
3. Should you check your calculations?
- In general, NO!
- After deciding on candidate moves, do a rapid appraisal – check them superficially. The preliminary conclusions will come in handy in later calculation. Perhaps it will help clarify the order in which to consider them.
4. Register the results of your calculations, and end the variations with a definite conclusion.
5. Prophylactic Thinking
- Often useful to look at the position from p.o.v. of your opponent, what does he want? Try to deny him his ambitions!
6. What is the drawback of my opponent’s move?
- If the opponent makes an unexpected, or uncomfortable move, answering this question can help determine how to combat it.
7. What do I want to achieve?
- Clarify your aims!
- Good technique is largely based on concise and accurate tactical play.
II. Principles of rational, economic thinking
- When thinking about a move, the objective is not to calculate all the variations to the end and obtain an exhaustive impression of the position. You have only one objective: To take the correct decision, to make the best move! Try as far as possible to minimize expenditure of time and energy. Calculate the minimum number of variations needed for taking the correct decision.
1. With what to begin thinking?
- Generally, is it advisable to immediately begin considering forcing moves.
- If you sense that a combinative idea is probably correct, it makes sense to first examine the opponent’s weakest replies. ***
- If you suspect a combination does not work immediately concentrate on the best defense.
2. Emergency Exit
- After beginning calculation of a complicated combo, if you notice that at some point you can, if you wish, force perpetual check, or go into an equal endgame, go for the combo.
3. Method of Elimination
- Often it is not necessary to make an accurate calculation of the intended continuation; it is sufficient merely to satisfy yourself that it makes sense, it cannot be immediately refuted, the remaining moves are all bad and all the same you have nothing better. This can save a mass of time and energy.
- It is not essential to analyze lengthy and complicated variations ‘to the end’ – it is far more important to check accurately the necessary short variations, endeavoring in doing so to take account of all the significant playing resources for both sides.
- Sometimes you should quickly choose a move, only because you see that the situation arising after it is nowhere worse, and is in some places better, than another possible continuation.
5. Don’t calculate ultra-complicated variations for too long – in these cases rely on intuition.
- In which cases does it make sense to spend a lot of time and energy on a move? When you realize that an exact solution may be found to the problem facing you and it will decisively influence the further course of the game. Critical moments!!
Krasenkow on calculation
1. Decide on the aim of calculation
- The criteria by which we will assess the variations we calculate.
- Aim should be realistic
2. Search for ideas to achieve the aim. Choose appropriate candidate moves and order their priority.
3. Calculate variations in their order of priority
4. If continuation leading to aim is found. Play on.
5. If not, lower aim or continue new search for candidate moves to achieve aim.
Aagaard on being practical
1. When you have a drawn endgame against a weaker player, doing nothing is often the best policy.
2. Another good tip for beating a weaker player is to exchange a knight for a bishop, or the other way around. Create an imbalance between the armies.
3. Bore your opponent.
4. Don’t exchange pieces yourself, let the opponent do it.
5. Make as many decisions as possible at home (prep).
6. Know where you are going when you sit down at the board. What is your goal?
Aagaard on analysis
- Tisdall (Improve your Chess Now!) and Dvoretsky
- Always end calculation on the move of your opponent.
1. Compare pieces
2. Talking exercises
3. Look over should exercises
4. Study the endgame. Ideas and understanding are what is important.
Soltis: 4 Basic kinds of middle game moves
1. Tactical moves
2. Repositioning moves (by far the most common)
3. Exchanging moves
4. Moves that change the pawn structure.