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spurtus 72 ( +1 | -1 )
Simplification 'Simplification'

this is something I do a lot these days, the process of trying to win, even by the smallest of margins because I know what I need to secure the mate.

OK, so I basically do not allow my opponent any counter play and simplifying whittles the position down to terms that prove the win.

I can even somethings shun material when a more secure simplification is possible, I don't think a computer would play this, so this is a really human trait, but I wonder how correct this style of play is?

My question is though, does anybody got any tips on how to do this or how they do this this because at the moment its just a subconscious process for me I havent been able to self analyse.

Thanks,
Spurtus.
tim_b 65 ( +1 | -1 )
Quite correct. This style of play is perfectly good. Simplification is a one way of shutting down the game and bringing the win in. I once asked for endgame advice on the forums and ionadowman suggested that I could have given up some material to simplify things (I had a sizable material advantage in the game in question.) Such an idea had never occurred to me before then, I would always carefully guard the material advantage. That advice has given me a good handful of wins since.

I'd be interested to hear more tips on simplification too.
ionadowman 367 ( +1 | -1 )
More than likely ... ... my suggestion to tim_b was for a specific situation. But simplification, like checks, ought always to be considered and evaluated.

First of all, in case anyone is wondering, what is "simplification"? I tend usually to think of simplification as the reduction, qualitatively and quantitatively, of the overall material in the game. Queen exchanges will generally be more simplifying than pawn exchanges, say, hence the "qualitative" aspect. However one might argue that more generally it is the antonym of "complication", and as such need not always imply reduction in material.

Why simplify then? When material ahead, it is usually a good idea to simplify, reducing the overall material on either side whilst maintaining one's lead. Generally speaking it is good to exchange pieces when you are ahead; but when you are behind, exchanging pawns might well be in your interests.

When you are material to the bad, you might well want to complicate the game, which generally means you want to keep the pieces on.

When you are well ahead, you can even afford normally bad bargains in order to leave yourself with a straightforward continuation and the enemy no play at all.

This is from an OTB game a few years ago:
White: Ion; Black: Roland
w
In whis position, White had B for 2P, but Black's game looked pretty active. Rather than retreat the bishop, White opted to "simplify" in order to retain the initiative:
1.Bxh7+! Kxh7 - otherwise White just steals a pawn...
2.Qxf7+ Kh6 - The fact is, White had figured on earning quite a large dividend from his investment. Whatever Black plays, White will pick up at least the major exchange, Q for R.
3.Rd7 Rh8 - Only move to prevent mate.
4.Rd5 Qg7
5.Rd6+ Kh7
6.Qf5+ Kg8
7.Rg6 ... - Black must lose Q for R.
7...Rh7
8.Rxg7 ... - Maybe White was in too much of a hurry to simplify here. 8.Rxg5 keeps the pin and snaffles a pawn...
8...Rxg7
9.Qxc5 ... - but this one is also useful to have.
Now, Black could have resigned here. His game is lost. But he thought Black still had an outside chance.
9...Rf8(?) - Hoping to capitalize on his mobile pawns. It shouldn't work, but White has a quick simplifying process to eliminate all outside chances for Black:
10.Qxf8+! ... Not at all hard to find (in fact I was surprised that my opponent had overlooked this possibility).
10...Kxf8
11.Rc8 Kf7
12.Rc7+ Kf3
13.Rxg7 Kg7
14.a4 ... - The point of all these exchanges: the pawn ending is lost for Black, as the BK cannot reach the a-pawn.
w
A much simpler and clearer situation for White than the previous diagrammed position!

Occasionally it is the defender who will benefit from simplification. Possibly the following diagram isn't the best sort of example:
b
Here, Black could just get rid of the WP (1...Nxa5 2.Nxa5+...) and hope to survive the K+B+N vs K endgame. Though White would objectively be winning, this is a very difficult ending to master. Black has a better, more simplifying move: 1...Nc5+! 2.Nxc5 Kxc5 3.Be3+ Kb5 4.Bb6 Ka6 5.Kc4 Kb7 6.Kb5 Kb8 ... and so long as Black keeps in touch with his a8-square White can rant and rage at the city gates, but he ain't getting in. A book draw in fact, because White has the wrong bishop!

I hope this gives a taste of what is meant by "simplification". If this topic proves interesting, I might post an annotated game that features simplification as a motif (among other exciting matters)... I would like to hear other views on this topic.
Cheers,
Ion
More: Chess App
marinvukusic 94 ( +1 | -1 )
That is what I call an explanation :) Bravo Ion!

I have a few remarks from purely competitive point of view.

I have seen numerous times people making two related mistakes in complex but winning positions: trying to win with as big a "margin" or as spectacularly as possible. This means they are either trying to win by the greatest material difference or find a checkmate in a complicated position (sacrificing pieces along the way, hoping to find a mate somewhere). Both approaches are wrong - the best end result is 1 point in any case, so why complicate? Just win in the simplest way you know how. I will always take a 30-move surefire win (second Ion's diagram) if I can see it.

Strong players tend to win frequently, BECAUSE they do not complicate - when they grab a surely winning advantage they CONVERT it pretty much every time. You can convert it 6 out of 10 times "beautifully" or 9 out of 10 "plainly" - your choice :)

Sorry for caps, I cant underline on this board and the point is important :)
marinvukusic 106 ( +1 | -1 )
To answer this question "My question is though, does anybody got any tips on how to do this or how they do this this because at the moment its just a subconscious process for me I havent been able to self analyse."

It is easy to answer, and I did already - "Just win in the simplest way you know how."

So in order to know what simplifications are good (and to be able to actually perform this regularly) you need to know how to win a number of different endgames. This is one element of what is commonly known as "chess technique".

I suggest this link if you wnat to learn about endgames from strong players: www.jeremysilman.com

Here are the subtitles:
- "This series exposes the chess student to those endgames that every tournament player must become conversant in if he wishes to be successful."
- "The three time Champion of the Republic of Moldova explores many kinds of instructive endgames for players 1500 on up."
- "Tournament level endgame lessons by IM Silman"

Have fun!
ionadowman 146 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks .... ... for your kind remarks marinvukusic!

... and your observations on becoming conversant with and confident in endgames can not be emphasized too strongly. Without having a well developed endgame technique, one will find it hard to judge the value of any exchange, "even" or otherwise. Not only that, but your opponent will use simplification as a weapon against you.

And don't believe the endgame is boring. You will find in time that there is a lot of interest - tactical tricks and intriguing ideas - to be found even in the simplest ending. (I recall years ago playing through some Fischer-Smyslov games from, I think, the 1959 Candidates tournament, both sides having a pair of rooks a single minor piece, and a bunch of pawns - and they were thrillers).

Here is a position to give some idea of tactics that can punctuate even a simple ending. I composed it originally to illustrate the "pin" motif for primary school players:
b
1...Bc5
2.Rc1 Ra1
3.Rxa1 Bxd4+
4.Kf1 Bxa1
5.Ke1 Bd4
6.Kd2 a3
7.Kc2 a2
8.Kb3 a1=Q etc.
Or how about this? The motif cropped up in a recent annotated game. Here's the germ of the idea.
w
Suppose it were White to play. Does he win, draw or lose? Your call...
Cheers,
Ion



ganstaman 44 ( +1 | -1 )
I figure that Fischer's only loss to R. Byrne would be relevant to this thread (and on this day):

www.chessgames.com

After white's 33rd, black is up 3 pawns and the exchange. So black gives back the exchange and gets to remove queens from the board, reaching an easily won rook and pawn endgame.
mfeeney93 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Basic case of simplication NOTE: Active game (move 51) No comments until game is completed please!

game
ionadowman 288 ( +1 | -1 )
Good example ... in the game quoted above.
Here's another from a famous game Bogolyubov ve Alekhine, Hastings 1922 - a great game throughout its length, actually! But the diagram is taken from the 47th move, White having just played 47.Rh2-d2
b
White's busted, of course, but Alekhine ends a spectacular game by reducing his lead to its simplest terms - rather like the process of crystallization.
47...Qe2!
Leaving aside the obvious capture, what choices are available to White? The knight moves, rook is lost; rook moves along the rank, loses rook; rook moves off the rank, it's mate next. King moves; knight is lost with check, and if 48.f5 d5 forces White to think again. Black's 47th has certainly simplified White's decision!
48.Rxe2 fxe2
And now the pawn is attacking a piece that can't hit back! There's only one move to "prevent" promotion.
49.Kf2 exf1=Q+
50.Kxf1 ...
There it is: Black's advantage has crystallized out into a winning pawn ending.
50...Kg7
Note that Black doesn't touch his pawns, but gets his king into action real fast. The endgame is where the king lives.
51.Kf2 ...
White does the same. He could have played 51.f5 but it would hardly have slowed Black down: 51.f5 Kf7 52.Ke2 Ke7 53.Ke3 d5 54.Kd3 (being cunning - after 54.Kd4 Kd6 55.Kany Ke5 etc) 54...Kd6 57.Kd4 Kc6 58.Kd3 Kc5 59.Kc3 d4+ 60.Kd3 Kd5 and the f-pawn will fall like a ripe berry into Black's lap.
51...Kf7
52.Ke3 Ke6
53.Ke4 d5+ -
White resigned at this point. After 54.Kd4 Kf5 55.Kxd5 Kxf4 White hasn't a prayer of stopping the f-pawn.
But let's see what might have happened (The following diagram is taken from the position that might have arisen after 55...Kxf4):
w

56.Ke6 f5 57.Kf6 ...
Even in a simple ("simple" in the sense we are using it for this discussion. "Simple" don't mean "easy"!) a simple ending like this, White tries to complicate. White's move has this idea in mind: 57...Ke4? 58.Kg6 f4 59.Kxh6 f3. 60.Kg7 f2 61.h6 f1=Q 62.h7...
b
Now, most of us know that a K+P can draw against a K+Q if the pawn is on the 7th, as an a-, c-, f- or h-pawn, and the enemy king is far off. Is the WK sufficiently far off here? White might hope so, but it seems Black can still win from this position: 62...Qg1+ 63.Kf8 (tricky...) Qd4 64.Kg8 Qd8+ 65.Kg7 Qd7+ 66.Kg8 Kf5 67.h8=Q Kg6 and White has no useful checks with which at once to avert mate and preserve his new-born queen. So White could have won anyway, but 57...Ke4 complicated matters needlessly.
*
So, from the second diagram; recapping:
56.Ke6 f5 57.Kf6 Kg4! 58.Kg6 f4 59.Kxh6 f3 60.Kg6 (can't go to g7 as the BK is attacking the h-pawn) f2 61.h6 f1=Q and
- if 62.h7 Qf8 63.h8=Q (Forced! The WK has no moves!) 63...Qxh8 wins;
- or if 61.Kg7 Black has picked up a tempo in the ending: 61...Kg5 62.h7 Qf6+ 63.Kg8 Qe7! (...Kg6 also wins, but 64.h8=N+ would be a real drag...) 64.h8=Q ... (64.h8=N Kf6 mates in 2) 64...Kg6 and again White has to give up his Q to survive another couple of moves.

Well, >Whew!< I had fun with that. I just hope somebody reads it!
Cheers
Ion
spurtus 34 ( +1 | -1 )
I once promoted a pawn to give me two queens in total versus substantial opposition material and opponent was queenless.

Instead of cashing in on my queen and taking my opponents rook, I ended up losing a queen, and then the game.

Here I should have simplified because there was not enough room on the board for 2 queens.

Spurtus.
longbow57 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Simple Rule in Endgame play. Simple rule in a endgame play, If you are a pawn down exchange pieces not pawns. Because it could be rook pawn it could be a draw. Good to remember that in some postions you play. Thanks
marinvukusic 2 ( +1 | -1 )
Wrong It is the other way around.
marinvukusic 41 ( +1 | -1 )
For beginners www.chesscorner.com

"When you have more material than your opponent, exchange pieces not pawns."
"When you have less material than your opponent, exchange pawns not pieces."

Pretty basic stuff but very important to clearly understand.
chessnovice 18 ( +1 | -1 )
... It makes sense logically, too. An opponent's pieces can dilute the strength of a pawn advantage. The less pieces on the board, the less opportunities there are for the opponent to steal a pawn.
ionadowman 91 ( +1 | -1 )
It has been pointed out to me... ... by ccmcacollister that, in the second diagram dealing with the Bogoljubov - Alekhine game (London 1922), there was a much simpler line for Black than 56...f5.
Here's the position again:
w
After 56.Ke6 Kg5 is much the simpler (as in more straightforward) method. If White tries to get behind Black's pawns, the f-pawn just runs in to queen. If instead 57.Kd5 Black has a wide choice of winning moves (57...f5, 57...Kf4, 57...Kg4) but simplest is 57...Kxh5, after which White can whistle for counterplay (58.Ke4 Kg4 etc.).

How did I overlook this? Don't know. Though I don't recall, exactly, its possible - even likely - I wanted to illustrate the more complicated line before returning to the simpler one, but forgot my intention. Or it was just a simple oversight. We'll never know...

Cheers,
Ion