Error Management Guide:
Part of the Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 3)

Error Management Guide
[Cramp]


Cramp

When Cramp is realized, you're facing a situation where there are very little movement options that won't get your Pieces captured, or worsen your current Position.

Cramp doesn't mean there are NO squares for your Pieces to move to ...

Technically, some Pieces could be moved to freely available, 'safe' squares ...

BUT, those Pieces are usually already on key squares - such as when White's Kingside Knight is sitting on 'f3', helping to defend the White Queen Pawn on 'd4', while also attacking the 'e5' square (another square belonging to the critical Small Center area).

You wouldn't want to move such a well-positioned Piece, so you must find other Pieces to move - which can be difficult when the Cramping intensity is high.

From watching different games, Cramping is most likely to happen during the Opening phase ... Cramp appears most difficult to prevent building up when both players choose to avoid capturing in their Opening play and, instead, focus solely on the development of their army.

As this development continues, without captures made, material on both sides spreads further out into the middle of the Board, taking up key positions; both gaining advantage in one area, but losing advantage elsewhere ...

With both players continuing to refrain from capturing, the Cramping seems to happen stealthily; gradually bulding, until it becomes REALLY restrictive - one moment a player has a handful of decent squares to slide their Pieces onto; then, all of a sudden, you're down to one or two available squares and Cramp becomes a definite, restrictive hassle.

Looking back over different Chess games, when Cramp appears to be at its greatest, players seem to break, or reduce the Cramping intensity, by capturing material ... A single capture can act like the busting of a dam, with a flood of captures happening in quick succession, leaving plenty of clear space in its wake.

If you do decide to tackle Cramp by capturing enemy material, the skill is in choosing which Pawn or Piece to kick things off with ...

No matter which you choose, try and make sure that each attacker has immediate back-up so, if each subsequent attacker gets captured, you have an attacker that can capture back, straight away.

This series of captures can happen like an explosive chain-reaction ...

You must make sure you have no less than equal back-up material in your chain-reaction, than your opponent - that way, you should emerge with having captured at least the same amount of material that you've lost ...

Naturally, if you enter a fight with a larger force, than your opponent has for back-up, you should expect to finish the series of exchanges with a material advantage.

By the way, when we say "Pieces", we mean all, except the Pawns.
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