Reacting …

So, I’m still occasionally watching chess games while compiling and installing and the like. And another thing that I’ve noticed is how important it is to keep your opponent reacting to what you’re doing and not allow them to force you to react to what they’re doing. So putting their king in check is an obvious one, but even targeting pieces again forces them to make decisions and to make a move in response to what you’re doing. This stops them from targeting your pieces and implementing their own strategy. Of course, there will always be times when you need to stop and make a set-up move, but these are probably the most risky moves in the game, especially once you’re in the mid- or end-game, and even if you’re dominating the game at that point giving them a move where they don’t need to immediately react to you gives them a chance to grab the momentum by forcing you to react to them.

Or, even, a chance to win the game. In the last game of my undefeated tournament run (and, yes, I’m going to milk this for content in my chess posts because it’s the most meaningful chess event I’ve had in my life), my opponent was pressing me hard at the end of the game. I had a queen and maybe a couple of pawns, and he had a queen, something else, and then at least three more pawns because his king was buried behind them after an early castling attempt. I kept defending like crazy but never interspersing my queen, because my queen was in a position to pin his king behind that block and ultimately win the game. I was hanging on and hanging on and hoping that he’d give me just one move free to win the game. Eventually, he did … much to the chagrin of his teammate right beside us who was hoping that his teammate would beat me so that he would end up in a tie with me for top spot if he beat my teammate.

It may seem like there’s no room for momentum in chess, but there is. Or, at least, for the notion of momentum as a chain of forcing your opponent to react to your moves and having no real ability to implement a strategy that you need to react to.

One Response to “Reacting …”

  1. More Chess Observations | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] last week I talked about how it seemed important to keep your opponent reacting to you and not give … I then almost immediately came across the case where not only is that not important, it’s […]

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