Recipe for a Plan


‘What does the average player do when he can neither threaten anything useful nor has to parry some specific threat? He just has no guide, and probably ends up making a pawn move which he thinks will do least harm, but may actually ruin him because a pawn move is irrevocable; a pawn cannot afterwards return. The simplest recipe for a plan in such circumstances is to find which of your pieces is doing least good, and try to utilize it. This applies right through the game. for example, take the simplest case. In trying to mate with queen and king against king, never move the queen if the king is able to advance. Why? Because a king is absolutely null and void at a distance. The only exception to this rule is that you must avoid giving stalemate – a special trick rule in chess which supersedes the principle that gaining squares is always good.’

Cecil Purdy

The Search for Chess Perfection (Davenport: Thinkers’ Press, 1997), p.212

purdy cover

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