I know I had promised to put up Part II of Ray’s question, but I have been hit by a wave of energy over the last few days and have spent it all on ENDGAME PLAY, which looks like it will be ready for publication around the 30th April or something like that. I might even have some early copies with me to the Danish Championship in Skorping, though I cannot guarantee this.

For today, I just wanted to underline the importance of studying imagination. Essentially, imagination covers all things non-standard. It is outside the usual pattern recognition or calculation, and thus does not fit into some of the more popular current models of the game. However, it is an important part of Dvoretsky’s teaching and I ahve always taken it very seriously. Solving is definitely a way to improve your imagination.

As an exercise,  take a look at this position and think of a good idea for White (it is deep and White is by no means winning).

Goganov – Andersen, Yerevan 2014

White to play – What is the trickiest move?

Let us add an exercise that looks a bit the same, but is both easier and more fun!

Vigorito – Kelleher, US 2011

 White to play and win

13 thoughts on “Imagination”

  1. 1.Nf3 – it’s a piece sacrifice (white got 2 pawns for it), but it speeds up development and keeps piece control over e5- also there is a nice little point to it because of:
    1.Nf3 fxe5 2. Nxe5 Nf6 3.Bg6 + and now Ke7 is forced because Kd8 runs into Nf7+. After Ke7 black trapped his own dark squared bishop- also the rook on the h-file is probably not very useful in the nearer future. I don’t know if this is ‘tricky’, but at least it’s interesting.

  2. I like the idea of Bc7 and a possible knight move. Does it work? That’s my imagination, I need to do the calculation to check 🙂

  3. I should maybe give a hint (because the exercise is REALLY REALLY hard). White would love to play 13.Bg3 with an extra pawn. But there is a problem?

  4. second problem:
    1.Nxg5 fxg5 2.Bg6+ hxg6 3.Qxg6 Ke7 4.Bxg5+ Kd6 5.Nb5#
    That’s the simple line- if black plays 2. …Ke7 it is more tricky:)

  5. Maybe the ideas can be combined? Since 1.Bg3 runs into 1…Rxh7 2.Qxh7 Nxg3 followed by Qxb2, therefore 1.Bg3 Rxh7 2.Bc7! deflecting the black queen from b2 (Qb4 runs into Bxa5) and after Qxh7 the Knight on h5 has no escape square and will be captured with check.

  6. Maybe It’s nonsense, but I like Nge2. The idea is Bg3 but at the same time the knight on e2 protects de knight on c3 (and the tower on a1 because I can castle) in case of …Rxh7 and …Dxb2. The pawn on d4 is protect too. Dg6+ recovers the piece in case of …fxe5 and the black king has to go to the queen flank where the two towers (after castle) will be very dangerous. Sorry for my english.

  7. @SugarLips
    Yes, this is the solution to the second position.

    And this is indeed the solution to the first position. After 1.Bg3 White would have been a pawn up. Black has some compensation, but not enough for equality in my opinion.

  8. Great, thanks for an intruiging problem. On a sidenote, this year I scored 1.5/2 against 2 GMs and I have no doubt that the purchase of your “Positional Play” was for a large part responsible for this performance. A must-read for players who have come to understand that it is in the middle game they often go astray and never knew how or where to look for improvement.

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