I want to know whether I understood these concepts correctly.

Complication: I think, in a given position, usually the side that is slightly inferior tries to make moves that somehow put considerable strain on the better side about which action to choose. Thus it tests one's ability to clearly calculate the labyrinth of all possible variations. Generally the lesser mortal fails and hence passes on the edge to the side that created such complication.

Simplification: I presume simplification is the reverse of it. By simplification I mean reducing number of pieces while maintaining the winning edge. I suspect the general idea behind simplification is to prevent any counter-play by the opponent. I guess the side with winning advantage always tries to simplify matters while the other side indulges in complicating.

Is it correct?

  • Yes/No questions are not a good way to start the day! Aug 18, 2015 at 14:41

2 Answers 2


I don't think its easy to answer your question since both of these concepts can have multiple definitions depending on who you ask, but I'll give it a shot.

Generally, in the case where one side is winning, your conceptual understanding is correct.

When the position is equal, creating complications or simplifications are a matter of player preference. For example, if Player A is rated lower than Player B, then Player A may be more apt to trade down (simplification) in order to get a drawish position. In that case it is assumed that Player A would be content with a draw. Thus, reinforcing the statement that complications and simplifications are a matter of player preference.


Your simplification is mostly correct, in a sense... It is almost always better to exchange pieces if you have the advantage, the less pieces your opponent has the less likely he is to successfully plot a counter attack.

As for your complication, it is slightly more complicated than that ( :P ). For starters there are multiple types of players in the world, even though chess player might seem similar they vary greatly! For example, the 8th world champion Mikhail Tal was called the Magician of Riga, he wasn't the calculator-y type, in fact he was instinctive... Which begs the question... Are calculations all there is to a position in chess? Unfortunately on this specific topic opinions vary, one side says no, the other says yes. Personally I think there's more to it than just pure calculation.

When complications arise in a chess match, the players usually think about more than just the moves themselves! In fact they think about their opponent, and not just in terms of what they are planning to do, but what they thinking and feel! In many games players have failed and lost position they were superior in due to their psychological state (anxiety, stress, excitement, the list goes on).

So to answer you question... Your Simplification is mostly correct, but the complication part will make more sense as you play in real tournaments and things expand beyond the board you play your match on. Hope I helped :)

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