Saturday, March 02, 2013

Applying Squares Strategy

The Bangiev Method Decomposed

I do my best to operate within this strategic framework, with mixed results. So I've been trying to decompose this method into something a bit more concrete.

The B-Method begins by asking the same three questions at each move of the game:

1) The Strategy Question (SQ)
2) The Direction Question (DQ)
3) The Color Question (CQ)

After answering those three VITAL questions, we can continue with three more questions:
4) Put to Question which pieces, i.e., challenge. In turn, this will determine...
5) ...Candidate Moves, and one will be noted as ...
6) ...The Game Move.
Naturally, one has to understand the question before one asks, so lets try and decompose each question in simple(r) terms.
The Strategy Question (SQ)
 The Strategy Question is the starting point in Bangiev's B-Method. It seeks to give the player a consistent starting point from which to develop the correct plan from the central pawns based on the players' perspective, i.e., from his point of view. The position is only considered from the players persepctive. It takes into account only the true center of a chessboard: d4 and e4 (from the white perspective), and e5 and d5 (from the black perspective).
 Given that, White is restricted to two specific strategies: d4-Strategy and the e4-Strategy. Black, on the other hand, is restricted to two similar strategies: e5-Strategy and the d5-Strategy. Naturally, a different (but similar) strategy manifests itself depending on which square is taken into consideration. For example, after 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 it makes perfect sense for White to consider an e4-strategy as the e4-pawn controls the white squares d5 and f5. Naturally White will want to occupy d5/f5. A similar idea exists for Black in the same position: he would consider the e5-strategy and direct his efforts along the black squares d4 or f4, and attempt to occupy those squares. As you may see at this point, this leads to the Question of Direction. Which way do I go?
The Direction Question (DQ)
 After establishing the SQ and the starting strategic point (d4/e4 from White's perspective or e5/d5 from Black's perspective), you are faced with a decision of which direction you should seek play in. As is well known in chess, you cannot attack in two directions effectively at the same time. Answering the Question fo Direction properly gives you the most likely and effective direction based on piece and pawn placement in the current position for both your pieces and your opponents pieces. But, to answer this question, you must make some assessments in the position. Here your task is to determine which direction (in our example of the e4-strategy above) your pieces cooperate the best in, i.e., which direction from e4 do your pieces concentrate their infuence the most in. Given the correct strategy from SQ, there can be only one of two answers for our e4-strategy example: d5 or f5.
The Color Question (CQ)
 Once here, we know two things: The strategy (e4), and the Direction (d5). Contrary to the Direction Question in which you ask 'which direction are MY pieces cooperating in?', here we look at the opponent's pieces and ask 'what color squares do my opponents pieces defend?'. If, in our e4 example, Black is defending the dark squares heavily, then you may want to consider a Color strategy on the opposite color, which makes sense because there will be less resistance on that color. Your decision here should be primarily based on the defender's piece placement and your ability to eliminate or neutralize defenders on the color you choose to play on. Also note that Pawns, Bishops and Knights all attack a single color at any one time. Coordination of these pieces and the selection of the proper color to play on is vital to success when using the "B-Method", and is its strength with regard to Color Complexes.
Put to Question (PQ)
This is more or less an intermediate question, or step. Consider this: which opponent's pieces are defending the color squares which we have chosen to occupy/attack from CQ? Here we look for candidate moves that will eliminate or get those pieces entangled or caught up in the action. This is obviously the most difficult part of the B-Method, but given the focus from the previous three questions, this should limit to only a few moves for consideration as candidate moves, the next step.
Candidate Moves (CM)
Your candidate moves are those moves you came up with in the PQ step. Enumerate them and analyze to determine which move meets the needs of the position the best.
Game Move (GM)
The Game move is the move that meets the needs of the position the best from your list of Candidate Moves.
Strategic Templates
As White:
SQ: d4-Strategy/e4-Strategy
 d4: c5-direction: S(d4>c5), e5-direction: S(d4>e5)
 e4: d5-direction: S(e4>d5), f5-direction: S(e4>f5)
As Black:
SQ: e5-Strategy/d5-Strategy
 e5: f4-direction, d4-direction;
 d5: e4-direction, c4-direction
CQ: Play on the Light/Dark Squares.
The basics of how to determine which color:
 1) Ask "what color do my opponents pieces defend?"
 2) Ask "what color do my pieces coordinate on?" This can be assessed by noting which color squares your pieces and pawns attack/operate on.
 3) Consider a color strategy on the opposite color your opponents pieces defend on.
 4) Consider your ability to eliminate or neutralize defenders on the color you choose to play on.
 5) Reassess after EVERY move. This could change at any time, especially after captures and pawn moves.
 4) Note that Pawns, Bishops and Knights all attack a single color at any one time.
CM: Determine reasonable candidate moves that remove defenders of the color you are attacking/playing on.
GM: Select the move that meets the needs of the position as your Game Move.

I'll update this entry as I get more familiar with this method of strategic thinking.