In my last post I described how I'm bored with grinding through tactical problems. So I have decided to try and change my approach. I'm not giving up tactical problems, but I'm going to try and incorporate some positional training as well. I will continue to solve tactical problems daily, but I will try to think differently about my goal. My old goal was to solve CT Art problems in seven circles, getting quicker and quicker until I could solve the lot in a day ... as MDLM suggests. But I found this was driving me to grind through problems just for the sake of it, which was no fun and boring. My new approach is to think that I will spend a certain amount of day solving them, but with no long term goal in mind.
Aagaard's new book is interesting, and in a lot of ways is a response to John Watson's Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy and rule independence
. Aagaard claims that there are
positional rules, but you have to know when to apply them and when not to. He has some interesting examples (a number of which from Kasparov's games) where he points to a key, single positional move as being the crucial turning point in the game.
I have also bought a couple of Kasparov's DVDs on opening theory ... the Najdorf and the Queens Gambit Declined. Again, it is interesting that Kasparov emphasises key position aspects of the positions. For example, freeing black's light squared bishop in the Najdorf. However, he also emphasises the importance of tactics in the new age of computer chess
. Tactics are vital, but so are positional and strategic play.
I'm coming round to thinking of tactics as essential, but not the whole answer. It is as if tactics are like grammar and spelling in a piece of writing. If they are poor then it is rubbish, they are an essential part, but they are not the whole answer.
So what to do?
Well, I will continue with my tactical training as I described. But also I am not going to forget positional play. Partly this will involve finishing reading Aagaard and other similar books, and of course all the Silman ones. But it may involve trying Chess Strategy by Convekta, which I have bought already but not experimented with much. I may even try a seven circles approach with Silman's Reassess Your Chess Workbook and Convekta's Chess Strategy program, but I'll see how it goes.
The other thing I want to try is winning won positions
. I want to get an example of a position where some chess books says, "and white has a decisive advantage" and try playing it out with Fritz. Hopefully this will give me a much more intuitive feel for why positional advantages work, and when they don't.
However, one thing I need to think about is what are the positional advantages I want to try and play? What are the key
positional advantages? Is there any book out there which lists them?