Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rationality comments on Mok's ending

First GM had a post on my analysis of this ending.

I read Rationality's comments on this post and I am very impressed by his thoughts. He wrote with such clarity that I just have to re-publish it here for everyone's benefit, with my own notes which I put in bold

Rationality says:
The win is not easy to see. Someone who has been playing the whole game and not an individual position tends to miss wins that don't look forced, which was the case in this endgame.

Me: Also read the third paragraph

The winning move, 48.Nd6+ was counter-intuitive. It gives black the option to play Kf4-g3, although with calculation it will prove to be losing. The idea behind it is not obvious either. The first instinct would be to attack the b6 pawn; the follow-up, Ne3 is not an easy move to see and might not even come under consideration.

Me: In positions with knight versus bad bishop, the instinct is not to place the knight on the same color square as the bishop (because of the possibility of being exchanged). That is why Ne3 is not easy to see at all.

Given the position at hand and asked to find a win, anyone could do that. The problem is that Mok has been playing the entire game. To search for a forced win rather than make moves to improve you position is not easy. In other words, Mok was making strategic rather than calculative moves. You see, 48.Nd6 would not be a good move if it was not winning. Mok wanted to improve his worst placed piece, namely the king, and picked the most obvious choice.

To search for a win on every move is not feasible since it is time consuming, and obviously you tend to overspend your time when you try to find a non-existent win.

In short, the reason Mok missed the win was not because he didn't have the technical strength to calculate it through to the end. In fact, if you told him there was a forced win in the position, he would have found it within a short while. Rather, the reason for him to miss the win was because he did not sense that there was an opportunity to win that position. This is one of the many things that make the good and great different.

Me: Which leads to the question - when should we stop and tell ourselves - "There must be something here".

The player is at the board from move one. He is analysing many lines and ideas. This lines and ideas persist to the current position and does affect his current analysis and judgement. This is "baggage" in a sense. If you clear your mind of this baggage, you might see things you did not notice before. There are countless times when I get up from the board to go to the washroom. Half way there I start seeing lines and ideas which were hidden to me when I was sitting at the board.


Yeoh said...

Hi dear Jimmy
1. No wonder Kramnik likes to go toilet. Do you learn from him or he learned from you? :-)

2. anyway, very interesting and excellent articles by both you and Nationality. Hope to read more such articles.

3. nevertheless, IM Mok did play a good game as well.


Jimmy Liew said...

I had a discussion with Kramnik just before the match and we worked on various strategies. I did not realize he would use this one.

Russian trainers also caught on this when they saw me play many years ago. They discovered the real idea behind it and implement into their training programs.

Nowadays, you will find many former Russian players doing this but they tend to sit at the board and stare at the ceiling. This version does not work so well, because your opponent know you are still thinking about the game.

Yeoh said...

hi dear Jimmy

"by not looking at the board may sometimes offer more ideas and/or make the player visualize accurate variations."

you told me this before. after that, i came to read about ivanchuk is doing that. then i saw kasparov doing that too.

however, i am still have some doubts on this method.

perhaps the GMs do that for other reasons which beyond our understanding?


Jimmy Liew said...

Nothing is beyond my understanding....:)

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