[Retros] Question on SPG conventions

Noam Elkies elkies at math.harvard.edu
Thu May 2 12:18:28 EDT 2002

>Suppose in a sound SPG, a composer might equally well choose to place a

>certain pawn on the 3rd or the 4th rank. In the latter case, a smidgeon

>of extra logic is required to deduce that the pawn must have made a

>double-hop, so this one is essentially identical to the former case.

>Is there any stylistic convention which would guide the composer

>in this tiny choice? [...]

Assuming that there is no geometric preference (a4-b4-c4-d4 looks
nicer than a4-b3-c4-d4) or thematic significance, one implicit
convention I've seen is to make the choice so that the sequence
cannot extend further. For instance, if you need two White
waiting moves on the Kingside, you might play h3,Rh2 so that
something "must" happen elsewhere (no further move would keep
the sequence unique); three moves, Nh3-f4-h5; four, Nh3-f4,h3,Rh2; etc.
But that's just one possible stylistic consideration.


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