GW-KW, Point Count Chess Raw Discussion, File #9:
Part of the Advanced Beginner's Chess Guide (Section 2)

KW explains his 2-Point Principle
for Assessing Moves

[August 7th-18th 2011]


Ken Wilsdon's 2-Point Principle
for Assessing Moves

(KW, August 7th) One principle I have always used in games, that I read somewhere, that made a lot of sense, was to:

  1. On your opponent's move, concentrate on strategy, i.e. look at the point count, strengths and weaknesses on both sides, and think of where you want your pieces ideally;

  2. On your move, concentrate on tactics.

    1. Ask what did your opponent threaten or accomplish with the last move.

    2. Then concentrate on every check and capture you can make, and follow the lines for a couple of moves (this is how Tal played - he was a master at sacrifice).

    3. Following that, concentrate on what your opponent can do in the future to improve his position, and what you can do now before he does it to prevent his moves (Petrosian was a master at defending, and virtually stiffling his opponent's chances).


(KW, August 18th) We'll use the current game, to help with the example:

PGN: [+]Show

Obviously, I am talking here about over the board (OTB) play. In our game, we do not sit in front of the computer before responding, and we do not have time controls.

This strategy helps in time control situations.

  1. On your opponent's move, concentrate on strategy, i.e. look at the point count, strengths and weaknesses on both sides, and think of where you want your pieces ideally.

I go into this component in greater detail in Bent Larsen's 8 Point Method, steps 1-5.

  1. On your move, concentrate on tactics.

    1. Ask what did your opponent threaten or accomplish with the last move.

    2. Then concentrate on every check and capture you can make, and follow the lines for a couple of moves (this is how Tal played - he was a master at sacrifice).

    3. Following that, concentrate on what your opponent can do in the future to improve his position, and what you can do now before he does it to prevent his moves (Petrosian was a master at defending, and virtually stiffling his opponent's chances).

Ken's Principle: 2a. Ask what did your opponent threaten or accomplish with the last move.

Ken's Principle: 2b. Then concentrate on every check and capture you can make, and follow the lines for a couple of moves (this is how Tal played - he was a master at sacrifice).

  • This follows the axiom, "always explore every check - it might be mate!"

Most class players will not win brilliancy prizes at tournaments because they do not look at every check and capture. It is here that sacrifices and combinations develop.

Most players are too conservative to find great moves that are decisive. Chess is about taking calculated risks. Tal would probably believe that "the best defense is a good offense."

One of Tal's memorable quotes on Wikipedia is: "You must take your opponent into a deep dark forest where 2+2=5, and the path leading out is only wide enough for one."

As we have not had an exchange or capture in our present game, I am unable to illustrate this point from it.

(GW) On Page 3, Ken runs through a game between Tal and Petrosian, to illustrate the point involving "an exchange or capture".



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