Topic 15 (Advanced) Ė How To Think Like a Black-Belt: Phases 1 & 2
You may have thought that since the last few topics havenít brought any new strategy ideas to the playing field that I had run out of material for further articles. Oh, how wrong you were! It is time for me to begin training you in the skill - nay - the art of thinking like a Black-Belt. Over the next 3 Topics I will take you into the mind of an insane lunat - ah, umm, that is to say - into the mind of a Kung Fu Chess Master.
Your house is made of straw. Prepare to be blown away!
Phase 1: Clearing Your Mind
The first thing you must do to begin the training is to clear your mind of all thoughts. Then, once you realize that really doesnít work too well since you need your mind to read the words on this page, proceed to Phase 2.
Phase 2: Finding Purpose
Every move a Black Belt makes on the chess board has a purpose (except the ones that donít). In this phase I will show you positions from games that I have played (or made up), the moves that I made (or postulated that I would likely have executed had I come across the specified fictional scenario), and the purpose behind each of those moves. Do not concern yourself with the specific moves, but with the thought process that goes into the selection of these moves. Also, donít worry if you canít understand a single word of what Iím writing - when you become a black belt you will understand everything.
Take a moment to analyze the position. Each side is level in material except that Black has an extra pawn, so whiteís initial goal here is first to regain the pawn. If youíve read all the Topics in the guide thus far, you should be able to guess whatís coming I think:
The feint. Weíve looked at this before. Black has the choice to push his pawn forward a square or capture the proffered pawn. Either way white gets the f pawn with his bishop. Suppose black pushes the pawn.
Now notice I moved the king to g3 instead of playing the pawn forward to defend the bishop. Why not the pawn? What is the purpose of the king move? There are two reasons mainly:
- In Kung Fu Chess, the King is an attacking piece. It is very difficult to checkmate the King in the middle of the board in Kung Fu Chess, as opposed to regular chess, since the King can easily dodge out of the way of attacks. Therefore, the King can and must be used as an offensive weapon! The Black player has already learned this lesson; his King is out to the middle of the board.
In this position, playing the pawn forward would force the King to retreat back a row instead of maintaining an attack position. You donít want your King to retreat if itís not necessary.
On g3, the King can attack blackís pawn on g4. This may seem ridiculous since the pawn is defended by the pawn on h5, but white is thinking ahead and he sees the possibility that he could get a rook to e5 and execute a combination attack on blackís two pawns using the rook and the king:
||White is thinking ahead and he sees a rook on e5 as a definite possibility, so the King move to g3 could give him this combination threat. Donít worry too much about this yet; seeing the future is Phase 4 of your training.
- The pawn can always be played forward later if you need to retreat the King somewhere down the road. Thereís no rush to play the pawn forward - it would unnecessarily restrict your bishopís movement and your kingís movement.
Are you thinking like a black belt yet? No? Donít worry, Phase 2 is just filler - the real meat of this Topic is Phase 5. (Not really - or is it?)
Astute readers will recognize this position from Topic 3 - itís an example of a good opening by white and a horrific opening by black. But thatís as far as the analysis went. Now, let us delve deeper into the mind of the white player - an accomplished black-belt.
If youíre white, what moves do you make and why?
Back in Topic 3, I briefly pointed out some possibilities for whiteís attack. This is the most important:
||Not a safe combination yet,
but if that black knight moves...
Yep, white is looking to play this combination. But he canít yet, because black has it nicely defended by his king and knight. White would very much like that knight to move so the combination could be played. So what then is the play?
Bishop to e5! The purpose of the bishop move is threefold:
- Itís a fake capture of that pesky knight thatís preventing the combination. Black might think the bishop is going a square further than it actually is and dodge with his knight. And if he dodges with his knight then white can unleash that game-winning combination.
- It attacks that pesky knight thatís preventing the combination. If black doesnít capture the bishop, it will be able to capture the pesky knight and allow white to unleash the game-winning combination.
- If black does capture the bishop, white recaptures with his pawn like so:
And now white is once again attacking that pesky knight *and* he has his knight back on that excellent square. Now black has no choice but to move his knight - allowing white to unleash that game-winning combination.
||The moment black moves his knight, white can play that combination. Whiteís bishop move guaranteed that black would have to move his knight (or have it captured).
I know youíre thinking, ďBut black could just play his rook to the corner and defend against the combination.Ē Thatís very true, and if that happens, then the purpose of whiteís next moves may be based on how to make that rook move away so he can play the combination. Or not. Thatís not whatís important in this example. Whatís important is whiteís thought process in determining what he wants to happen and then forcing it to happen (ie. Forcing that knight to abandon its defense of the combination.)
Devilantís Strategy Guide: Topic 15 Official Strategy Puzzle!
Here it is as promised. The solution will be included in Topic 16.
back to topic 14
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