“Calculation of options”
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“Calculation of options”

During tournament and match games, a chess player only in rare, exceptional cases performs a combination, more often he analyzes the positions and evaluates them, after which he draws up a game plan. But he’s engaged in calculating options for almost all the time allotted for the game: sometimes it’s a short “run” over a number of small options, but at some points in the game it can be a complicated set of mutually connected options.

Calculation of options is a review of their possible moves and the opponent’s responses to the nearest segment of the game. Indeed, when we think about a move, we evaluate our own possible moves and look for the opponent’s answer. We try to embrace as many moves as possible and consider the largest number of answers to the proposed moves. The ability to conduct calculations widely, analyzing the greatest number of possibilities, and at the same time far – to the greatest possible number of moves forward determines to a large extent the skill of the chess player.
An important circumstance is the control clock. A strictly limited time is given to think over the moves and options, so you need to take care not only about the accuracy of the calculation, but also about not getting into time pressure. This complicates the task of calculating options even more, and we will not forget about this in our conversation.

When calculating options, sometimes even strong chess players make inaccuracies and errors.

Chess Chart. Where better to sacrifice?

Sacrifice, the player thought white. – But where? I’ll try on b6. So, 1. C: h6 gh 2. Q: b6 C: e5 3. L: e5 Qg7 4. Fez Cd5, and I have nothing for the figure.
Or maybe better on g6? – the next thought flashed. – Then 1. K: g6 C: g3 2. hg fg 3. JI: e6 gh 4. JI: f6 + Kph7. There is no quality, the d4-pawn is weak, the black bishop is very strong. No, it’s not good on g6.
I look again at the h6 victim. Maybe I can find the gain. So, 1. C: h6 gh 2. F: 11b C: e5. Does not work. You also need to take a look at the sacrifice of quality – 1. K: g6 C: g3 2. hg fg 3. L: e6 gh 4. JI: f6 + Kph7. It gives nothing. ”

“Having run” like this several times on the options with moves 1. K: g6 and 1. C: h6, the master glanced at his watch. “My fathers! I thought it over for almost half an hour. Time pressure is coming. ” And immediately, without thinking for a minute, he made move 1. CC3, which simply “strengthens” the position. Followed by 1 … Kf4! 2. Qg4 h5! 3. Ф61 h4, and White was immediately forced to surrender.

What mistakes did our chess player make when calculating options in this position?

First mistake. White began calculating the options, without first planning for himself the moves that they were going to consider. They did not identify candidate moves for themselves. As a result, we missed the calculation of the move 1. CC3. The correct start of mental calculation should always be determined by a clear listing of candidate moves: “I will calculate options with candidate moves 1. C: h6,1. K: g6 and 1. Cc3. ” And only after that it is necessary to proceed to the calculation.

The second mistake. White did not find in himself sufficient determination after the first calculation of the options to firmly say to himself: “All possibilities have been considered, I stop the choice on the move …” As a rule, losses from brevity of calculation are much smaller than losses from indecision. Oscillations lead to time pressure and inglorious death.

The third mistake. White “ran” several times according to the same variations. This is a fatal loss of time and energy.

Let’s formulate the correct order of calculating options. We will do this for the same position (see diagram above). First, we determine the candidate moves that we will take into account. There are three such moves: 1. C: h6, 1. K: g6 and 1. CC3. Then, once, we go through all the options to the depth that our abilities allow us to achieve and the position itself requires. Having counted once, we stop and, having overcome the natural desire to calculate the possibilities again, we make the final decision on which move to take.
Fisher – Naydorf
Varna, 1962

Chart from the party Fischer – Najdorf. Varna, 1962

An analysis of this position determines that for fastening the advantage white needs to organize a quick attack on the black king, who is stuck in the center. After a little thought, we plan to play 1. Le1 and consider seven possible candidate moves that Black can choose: 1) 1 … Rg8, 2) 1 … e6, 3) 1 … h5, 4) 1 … Kd7, 5) 1 … C : g2, 6) 1 … dc and 7) 1 … e5.

The order in which we wrote down the candidate moves is arbitrary, it can be any, depending on the desire of the player. Now option after option follows all the possibilities:

1 … Rg8 2. L: e4! de 3. Qh5 Rg7 (3 … Rg6 4. F: h7) 4. Kf5 + -;
1 … e6 2. Qh5 (threatens 3. K: e6) 2 … Cg6 3. Q: d5 Q: d5 4. C: d5 La7 5. Cf4 Rd7 6. K: e6 fe 7. C: e6 Qc6 8. Las1 + -;
1 … h5 2. L: е4 de 3. Фb3 Ф: d4 4. Се3 + -;
1 … Kd7 2. Nc6 Fs7 3. C: d5 + -;
1 … C: g2 2. Kp: g2 dc 3. Qf3 Kd7 4. Kf5 Rg8 + 5. Kphl e5 (5 … e6 6. L: e6 + and 7. Qh5 #) 6. Ce3 + -, since the black king is stuck in the center ;
1 … dc 2. L: e4 Фd5 3. Фf3 + -;
1 … e5 2. Qa4 + Kd7 (2 … Qd7 3. Bb5!) 3. L: e4 de 4. Kf5 Cc5 5. Kg7 + Kre7 6. Kf5 + Ke8 7. Ce3 C: e3 8. fe Qb6 9. Rd1 La7 10. Rd6! Qd8 11. Qb3 Qc7 12.C: f7 + Kd8 13.Ce6. Black surrendered. This option happened in the party.

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