Reduce The Problem

Going from a problem to completely solving it often does not take one step.

Let’s look thru two examples from different experience levels

  1. Rook vs Pawn for new players
  2. Trading Pieces for the 1200+ players

Rook vs Pawn 

Many students already know how to checkmate with a king and rook versus a king, which is usually covered during the their early lessons. 

A few weeks later, I would ask if they feel confident in winning the game if they had a king and rook versus king and a pawn. 

This technique opens the door for students to think about reducing the problem. 

  1. Win the pawn first
  2. Then checkmate with the rook, which has become second nature. 

Trading pieces

When do we want to trade pieces and why?

Up in material is a popular answer.

As we trade down, we’ll be more confident that the extra material will lead us to an easier road.  

And trading is especially important in a position when we have more material but have to defend against a strong attack.

To reduce the problem

  1. Aim to trade attacking pieces
  2. Use our extra materials to consolidate.

When contemplating a complex problem, ask the following question: If I can get to a simplified situation, will I be happy?  

If so, then we only need to think about how to get to the reduced problem, and not worry about the details of the next steps afterward. Because we can take care of it. 

Reduce the problem and simplify the chaos.

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