Email 3: Ken's second email
(more about Point Count Chess).

Date: April 25, 2011

First Name: Ken
Last Name: Wilsdon
Country: Canada
Subject: Ken's second email (more about Point Count Chess).

Hi Graham,

(Regarding Point Count Chess), I learned much of basic chess strategy mainly from this book when I was younger, and wrote down the sum of the pluses and minuses in short hand in my notebook that I carried with me when I played like this (+STM-P=2 for "I am ahead in space, time and material over my opponent, but he currently has a slight advantage in pawn structure, but overall I am ahead 2 points").

I would conduct my point count and look at the game more strategically on my opponent's turn, while I would look more tactically when it was my turn ("Why did my opponent make that move? What's his threat? What's the difference between where he was, and where he is now? Is something protected less than it was a moment ago? Can I take advantage of it?" etc).

Fritz and other such programs helps with the tactics, but your program helps teach strategy and what is happening in the position at hand and looking at the basic elements how to proceed long term, which is generally where other programs can't teach someone just starting out. Believe me when I say, doing all the space counting when playing took some time, but it helped me understand the game much better while playing, and enabled me to see tactical ideas while doing the point count.

As far as understanding where you are stronger on different sides of the board (the clusters you refer to), your own web site goes into that a little bit. If the center is blocked, find out on which flank you have the advantage, and pursue there, and vice versa, etc.

Here is a link to a review of a method by a Grand Master on how to determine where to attack, and how to use weak squares and complexes to your advantage color-complexes-and-bangiev-method.

This is an area most amateurs are really weak in, even if they have read "My System" by Nimzovitch. While Bangiev himself is a great chess player and he has a great method, he's a lousy teacher, and I think all you would need to know about his great ideas is explained by someone who knows how to teach on this blog (3 articles total in the June and July parts of this blog).

While I wouldn't bother with Bangiev's book or DVD (I have heard they are very confusing), the method explained here helps to determine the move to make. I think it complements what you are doing, and may be of interest for you in playing your own games along with what you already know.

Best of luck to you on this project, and if I can be of further help, let me know. I would be happy to send the pdfs if wanted. I would be pleased to keep in touch with you and share ideas. Keep up the good work!

Best wishes,