To define the word 'plan' does not necessarily mean that we know how to create one in an actual game. As Golombek said, this calls for the ability to recognize the existing characteristics of a position. To successfully penetrate into the mysteries of the chess board you have to be aware of the magic word of chess: IMBALANCE. An imbalance in chess denotes any difference in the two respective positions. To think that the purpose of chess is solely to checkmate the opposing King is much too simplistic. The real goal of a chess game is to create an imbalance and try to build a situation in which it is favorable for you. An understanding of this statement shows that an imbalance is not necessarily an advantage. It is simply a difference. It is the player's responsibility to turn that difference into an advantage.
Here is a breakdown of the different imbalances:
1) Superior Minor Piece (the interplay between Bishops and Knights).
2) Paum Structure (a broad subject that encompasses doubled pawns, isolated pawns, etc).
3) Space (the annexation of territory on a chess board).
4) Material (owning pieces of greater value than the opponent's).
5) Control of a key file or square (files and diagonals act as pathways for your pieces, while squares act as homes).
6) Lead in development (more force in a specific area of the board).
7) Initiative (dictating the tempo of a game).
Recognizing these imbalances (you will find definitions to all these terms in the Glossary at the end of this book) and understanding their relationship to planning will be the main focus of this book. If we are to use these things properly we must be able to break down our thinking in a way that allows us to dissect any particular position. Here are the stages of my thinking technique that enables us to accomplish this:
1) Figure out the positive and negative imbalances for both sides.
2) Figure out the side of the board you wish to play on. You can only play where a favorable imbalance or the possibility of creating a favorable imbalance exists.
3) Don't calculate! Instead, dream up various fantasy positions, i.e., the positions you would most like to achieve.
4) Once you find a fantasy position that makes you happy, you must figure out if you can reach it. If you find that your choice was not possible to implement, you must create another dream position that is easier to achieve.
5) Only now do you look at the moves you wish to calculate (called candidate moves). The candidate moves are all the moves that lead to our dream position. This will be discussed fully in Part Three of this book.
Let's now take a look at this thinking technique in action. If it seems difficult don't panic! It just takes practice. Nobody ever said that getting your thoughts to work in a structured way would be easy!
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