People always want me to explain the “Magic 10”! Before we get into our explanation, I need to point out several things. The Magic 10 and all the other tools we share with you here at SCBC are for tournament chess!? Your Lightning, Bullet, Blitz, and Quick Chess may improve but those time controls will never allow you to accurately and conscientiously follow the procedure! The Magic 10 work in conjunction with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices. To use the magic 10 effectively, it will usually require that you look at least 2.5 to 3.5 moves ahead. The point I’m trying to make is, if you want me to take the guess work out of chess, the 1st thing you have to do is stop guessing!! The reason you must see that far is that the “Magic 10” can be referring to a piece or a group of pieces! There is usually more than 1 feature of the magic 10 affecting the position! You may have to invest 1 or more moves for each feature for them to lead to a more advantageous position! Ideally, the magic 10 should be evaluated on your opponents turn. If your opponent is moving too fast, you will need to evaluate them on your turn. The magic 10 have many functions, but the major functions are; 1.) When there are no checks, captures, threats, or sacrifices, present in the position, the magic 10 will show you how to create some. 2.) The magic 10 will let you know how well your opponent is playing! You should be evaluating if your opponent is meeting the demands of the magic 10. 3.) The magic 10 will let you know which piece or pieces can improve their value and effectiveness and in what order to play the moves! I could go on all day but I’m going to give you the elevator version.
1.) Range: What is range when it comes to chess? Range is the distance a piece or group of pieces can travel to use power and/or force against an opponent. Range as far as individual pieces is pretty easy to grasp. The queen has the greatest range, then the rook, bishop, knight, pawn, and king. The ability to know when and how to increase the range of our pieces and limit the range of our opponent’s pieces is a practical and needed part of every chess player’s weapons group! Range can be increased and decreased by checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices.
2.) Speed: Speed is really a measure of convenience/method. If you need that piece, how fast can it get there. Speed is a team function in most cases. Checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices are the tools of great speed.
3.) Power: Power, to keep it simple is usually a threat. It’s not enough to determine the outcome of the game yet, but if allowed to get out of hand or it’s not watched it will have to be dealt with. Power does not always lead to powerful!?
4.) Force: The primary difference between power and force is that power can be ignored and force can not! Force either causes an advantage or puts a stop to your opponent getting one. Once force is in use, checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices will have to be met with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!
5.) Time: Time is all about tempos and obstructions. Checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices are the best friend of time or for your opponent must become their worst enemy. lol Time is another one of those team sports!
6.) Space: Fritz always kibitzed about how it loves space. The more space you have the more of everything else you usually have. Space also allows for bigger attacks.
7.) Mobility: Mobility is the culmination or combination of range, speed, power, time, and space. Mobility definitely changes powerful to forceful when you keep adding pieces. You can have 1 mobile piece, but mobility is about units, not just a unit most of the time!
8.) Initiative: The right, duty, or justification to attempt to impose your will on your opponent, (attack!/counterplay). The initiative is temporary! Quite often, you must use it or lose it. To stop an initiative will usually require checks, captures, threats, sacrifices, your ability to see 3.5 moves ahead and more than 1 feature of the magic 10. If you don’t start it, you better finish it or you may be finished!?
9.) King Safety: The board is smaller than most players think. Compromised king safety causes casualties. When king safety is not good, the magic 10 becomes unclear and requires a more critical evaluation. Again, compromised king safety can place the whole team in danger! Some types of compromised king safety are worse than others, but anytime it exist there are chances for the other side!
10.) Material: Material is the spending money of the war effort! Material is not an end onto itself. There are combinations based on material, but they are the least important! If you read books, you’ve seen… “with compensation for the material”. There is no symbol that means… “with compensation for anything else”!! You invest material to get everything, not invest everything to get material. Desensitization to material is one of the requirements of chess mastery!!
A few examples:
In this position white’s pieces have range, speed, force, mobility, and black’s compromised king safety as a great reason for a combination! 1. Qxc7!! Kxc7 2. Nb5 Kb8 3. Rd8!! Rxd8 4. Bf4 Ne5 5. Bxe5 Ka8 6. Nc7 Kb8 7. Nxa6 Ka8 8. Nc7 Kb8 9. Nd5 Rd6 10. Bxd6 Ka8 11. Nb6 axb6 12. Ra1#
1986… Here black sacrifices a pawn for a slight material plus and the initiative. We have range, speed, force, mobility, initiative, and white’s king safety to win material and the initiative! 1… c4!! 13. Nxc7 Qxc7 14. Be2 Qb6 15. Kh1 Nf2 16. Rxf2 Qxf2 17. Bxc4 Bg4 =/+
2014…This is one of those positions where if you refuse to sacrifice, you lose the initiative!? The magic 10 are a tremendous help when dealing with complications too! We have range, power, time, mobility, initiative, and king safety. 1. Bxh6!! Nxe4 2. Bxg7 Kxg7 3. Rxe4!! dxe4 4. Nhf5 Nxf5 5. Nxf5+ Kg8 6. Nxd6 Qc6 7. Nxc8 Rxc8+/-
2014…This is one of SCBC’s best training diagrams. 9 of the magic 10 can be used to produce over 20 checkmates. I say 9 because every continuation is mate!!! I played this e game almost a decade ago! If you don’t understand the magic 10 by the time you find 20+ checkmates, you need more help!
If you benefitted from this blog, please click on, “buy something you need to help chess“. If you’d like to talk about coaching or lessons, as always… If you’re not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for free!?!
Hope you enjoyed!
Coach Mike C