6

Is it possible that there are missing or unstudied tactics, waiting there to be found?

Maybe some of them have been played only by GMs and in so few times that they don't get to have a name on their own, maybe the rest of the world just see them as 'just another brilliant move'.

What I am saying is, if we were all geniuses and GMs, do you seriously think the number of known tactics would remain the same? Maybe they are so complex that they cannot be learned by books, but by experience.

Or, should I stop watching conspiracy movies?

6

The type of complex tactic you are thinking of is called a combination. A combination is a forcing series of moves to create some sort of advantage; some would also say that a combination must begin with a material sacrifice, but this is besides the main point. If you are interested in combinations, look at the games of Mikhail Tal, for one, who has been called "the wizard of combinations" for his daring, speculative sacrifices which often led to his opponent cracking under the pressure of searching out the one saving defensive resource; or Alekhine, "the genius of combinations", whose combinations, if not as daring as Tal's, were perhaps more sound.

Wikipedia gives the following example of a combination:

r1b2r2/p2p2kp/1pn1p3/8/1PP5/P2K1P2/2Q4P/R4B2 b - - 0 1

1... Rxf3+ 2. Ke4 (2. Ke2 Nd4+) (2. Kd2 Rf2+ 3. Be2 Rxe2+! Kxe2 Nd4+) d5+!! 3. cxd5 (3. Kxf3 Nd4+)  exd5+ 4. Kxd5 (4. Kxf3 Nd4+) Be6+ 5. Kd6 (5. Kxe6 Nd4+) (5. Kxc6 Rc8+) (5. Ke4 Bf5+) Rd8+ 6. Kc7 (6. Kxe6 Nd4+) (6. Kxc6 Rc8+) Rf7+ 7. Kxc6 Rc8+

In light of the impending disaster, White in fact resigned on move 3 (Move 22 in the actual game between G. Stepanov and Peter Romanovsky).

3

Feast your eyes on this position:

8/1r6/8/6n1/5k2/1b6/3K3N/7Q b - - 0 1

1...  Rd7+ 2.  Kc3! Bd1 3. Qf1+! Bf3 4.  Qc1+! Kf5 5. Kb2! Rb7+ 6. Ka3 Ra7+ 7. Kb4 Rb7+ 8. Ka5 Ra7+ 9. Kb6 Rb7+ 10. Ka6 Re7 11. Qf1 Re6+ 12. Ka7 Re7+ 13. Kb8 Re8+ 14. Kc7 Re3 15. Kc8 Rc3+ 16. Kb8! Kf4 17. Qg1! Ne4 18. Nf1! Rb3+ 19. Ka7! Rd3 20. Qh2+! Kf5 21. Kb8 Nf6 22. Nd2! Bd5 23. Qf2+! Ke5 24. Qe2+ Kd4 25. Ka7 Nd7 26. Qg4+! Kc5 27. Qg1+! Kb4 28. Qb1+! Kc3 29. Qc1+ Kd4 30. Qb2+ Kc5 31. Qc2+! Kd4 32. Qa4+ Kc5 33. Qa5+ Kd4 34. Qb4+ Ke5 35. Ka6 Kf5 36. Qb1 Ne5 37. Kb5! Bc6+ 38. Kb4! Bd5 39. Qf1+ Kg6 40. Qe2 Kf6 41. Qh5 Ke6 42. Qg5 Nc6+ 43. Kb5 Ne5 44. Qh6+ Kf5 45. Nf1 Bc6+ 46. Kb4 Rd4+ 47. Kb3 Rd3+ 48. Ka2 Bd5+ 49. Kb1! Nc4 50. Qh5+! Kf6 51. Qh4+ Ke6 52. Ng3! Rb3+ 53. Kc1! Rc3+ 54. Kd1 Re3 55. Nf1! Ra3 56. Qf4 Kd7 57. Ke1 Kc6 58. Qh6+ Kc5 59. Kf2 Rb3 60. Qh8 Ra3 61. Qb8 Kc6 62. Qb1 Rc3 63. Kg1 Ra3 64. Qc2 Kb6 65. Qf5 Kc5 66. Qf8+ Kb5 67. Qe8+ Kc5 68. Qe2 Rf3 69. Qe7+ Kd4 70. Qg7+ Kc5 71. Qg5 Kc6 72. Qh4 Kb5 73. Qe7 Kb6 74. Qb4+ Kc6 75. Qe1 Ra3 76. Qf2 Rf3 77. Qd4 Kd6 78. Qh4 Kc5 79. Nh2 Ra3 80. Ng4 Ra1+ 81. Kf2! Ra2+ 82. Kg3! Ra3+ 83. Kf4 Rf3+ 84. Kg5 Be6 85. Nf6! Ne5 86. Nh5 Rf5+ 87. Kh6 Ng4+ 88. Kg6! Ne5+ 89. Kh7 Rf7+ 90. Kh6! Ng4+ 91. Kg5 Ne5 92. Qa4 Rf5+ 93. Kh6! Bc4 94. Qa5+ Kd4 95. Qb6+ Kd5 96. Qd8+ Ke4 97. Qd1 Ke3 98. Qc1+ Kd4 99. Ng3 Rf6+ 100. Kh5 Kd5 101. Kh4 Rg6 102. Kh3 Bd3 103. Qf4 Rg8 104. Qb4 Bc4 105. Qd2+ Ke6 106. Qh6+ Kd5 107. Qh7 Kc5 108. Kh2 Rg6 109. Qe7+ Kd5 110. Qd8+ Ke6 111. Qf8 Kd5 112. Kh3 Bb5 113. Qa3 Bc6 114. Kg2 Rf6 115. Kh2 Nf3+ 116. Kh3 Rh6+ 117. Kg2! Nd4 118. Qe7 Kc4+ 119. Kg1! Rg6 120. Qf7+ Re6 121. Qf4 Kd3 122. Qf1+ Kc3 123. Qc1+ Kb4 124. Kh2 Rf6 125. Kh3 Bd7+ 126. Kg2! Bc6+ 127. Kh2 Rf3 128. Qd1 Kc5 129. Nh5 Kd5 130. Qh1 Ke6 131. Qg1 Ke5 132. Qg7+ Ke4 133. Qc7 Kd5 134. Nf4+ Kc4 135. Qb8 Rc3 136. Qa7 Be4 137. Qb6 Bc6 138. Qa6+ Kc5 139. Nd3+ Kd6 140. Nb2 Rb3 141. Nd1 Nf3+ 142. Kg3 Nd4+ 143. Kf2 Rf3+ 144. Ke1 Kd5 145. Qb6 Kc4 146. Qa7 Bb5 147. Nf2 Nc2+ 148. Kf1 Bc6 149. Qa6+ Kc5 150. Qa2 Nd4 151. Kg1! Rf5 152. Kh2 Rh5+ 153. Kg3! Rg5+ 154. Kf4! Rf5+ 155. Kg4 Bf3+ 156. Kh4 Rh5+ 157. Kg3 Rg5+ 158. Kf4 Rf5+ 159. Ke3! Re5+ 160. Kd3 Be2+ 161. Kd2! Kb4 162. Qg8 Bb5 163. Qg4 Re2+ 164. Kc1! Kc4 165. Nd1! Rc2+ 166. Kb1 Rd2 167. Qc8+ Bc6 168. Qg8+! Kb4 169. Nb2 Be4+ 170. Ka2! Nb5 171. Qb3+! Ka5 172. Ka1! Bd5 173. Qa4+! Kb6 174. Qb4! Rd4 175. Qe1 Be4 176. Nd1 Rc4 177. Qe3+ Kc6 178. Kb2 Rc2+ 179. Kb3 Nd6 180. Qh6 Rc5 181. Nc3 Bd5+ 182. Kc2 Kd7 183. Qg7+ Kc6 184. Kd1 Bf7 185. Kd2 Bc4 186. Ke1 Ra5 187. Qf6 Rf5 188. Qg6 Kc7 189. Qg7+ Rf7 190. Qg3 Kc6 191. Qg2+ Kc7 192. Qh2 Kc6 193. Qh1+ Kc5 194. Qh8 Re7+ 195. Kd1! Re8 196. Qh2 Re3 197. Kc2 Rd3 198. Qe5+ Kc6 199. Qh5 Rg3 200. Qa5 Rh3 201. Kd2 Rh2+ 202. Ke3 Rh3+ 203. Kf4 Rd3 204. Na4 Rd4+ 205. Kf3 Rd3+ 206. Kg4 Rd4+ 207. Kh3 Ne4 208. Qa7 Be6+ 209. Kg2! Rb4 210. Qa6+! Kd5 211. Kf3 Kd4 212. Qe2 Kd5 213. Ke3 Bd7 214. Nb2 Bb5 215. Qh5+ Ke6 216. Nd1 Nf6 217. Qh3+ Kf7 218. Kd2 Rd4+ 219. Kc1 Rc4+ 220. Kb2 Rb4+ 221. Ka3 Ra4+ 222. Kb3 Rd4 223. Nc3 Bc4+ 224. Kc2! Be6 225. Qe3 Rh4 226. Qa7+ Kg6 227. Ne2 Rb4 228. Kc1 Rc4+ 229. Kb2 Rb4+ 230. Ka3 Rb3+ 231. Ka4! Rf3 232. Qd4 Bd7+ 233. Kb4 Be6 234. Qc5 Bd7 235. Qd6 Bg4 236. Nd4 Rd3 237. Kc4 Re3 238. Nc6 Bc8 239. Qh2 Re4+ 240. Kc5 Bb7 241. Qg1+ Kh7 242. Na7 Rg4 243. Qh2+ Kg6 244. Nb5 Rg2 245. Qh3 Rg5+ 246. Kb4 Bg2 247. Qh2 Bd5 248. Nd6 Ne4 249. Nc8 Nf6 250. Qd6 Rh5 251. Qc7 Kg5 252. Qe5+ Kg6 253. Qe3 Kh7 254. Qd3+ Kg7 255. Nd6 Rg5 256. Ka4 Rh5 257. Qg3+ Kh7 258. Kb4 Kh6 259. Ka3 Rg5 260. Qc3 Kg6 261. Qc2+ Kh6 262. Nf5+ Kh5 263. Qd3 Kg6 264. Ng3+ Kf7 265. Qe3 Rg8 266. Nf5 Ra8+ 267. Kb2! Ra2+ 268. Kb1 Ra6 269. Qe7+ Kg6 270. Nd6 Rb6+ 271. Kc2 Rb3 272. Qe5 Rf3 273. Kd2 Bc6 274. Nc4 Bd5 275. Ne3 Be4 276. Ng4 Bb7 277. Qe6 Kg5 278. Ne5 Rf2+ 279. Kc3 Rf4 280. Nf7+ Kg6 281. Nd6 Be4 282. Kd2 Rf2+ 283. Ke1 Rf4 284. Qc4 Kg5 285. Qe2 Bg6 286. Qe5+ Kg4 287. Ke2 Bf5 288. Qa1 Nh5 289. Ke3 Bc2 290. Qa8 Bg6 291. Qd5 Ng3 292. Nc4 Nf5+ 293. Ke2! Ng3+ 294. Kd2 Kh3 295. Qc6 Re4 296. Qa6 Re2+ 297. Kc3 Be4 298. Qd6 Kg2 299. Kb4 Bf3 300. Ka5 Nf5 301. Qc5 Be4 302. Kb6 Rc2 303. Qb4 Kf2 304. Ne5 Ke3 305. Nd7 Nd4 306. Qa3+ Ke2 307. Ne5 Nf5 308. Qa6+ Kf2 309. Qa4 Ng3 310. Qb4 Ke3 311. Nc4+ Kd3 312. Nd6 Ke3 313. Ka7 Bd3 314. Qb6+ Kf3 315. Qd4 Be4 316. Kb8 Re2 317. Nf7 Bf5 318. Ng5+ Kg2 319. Qd5+ Be4 320. Qb3 Bf5 321. Qf3+ Kh2 322. Qb7 Re8+ 323. Ka7! Re2 324. Qd5 Rf2 325. Nf3+ Kg2 326. Nd2+ Kh3 327. Qc6 Kg4 328. Qc3 Rf4 329. Nc4 Re4 330. Ne3+ Kg5 331. Qc5 Re6 332. Kb8 Re8+ 333. Kb7 Re6 334. Kc7 Re4 335. Kc6 Re8 336. Kb6 Re4 337. Ka5 Re6 338. Kb5 Re4 339. Nd5 Nh5 340. Ne7 Ng3 341. Qc1+ Kh4 342. Qh6+ Kg4 343. Nd5 Kf3 344. Qf6 Kg4 345. Qg7+ Kf3 346. Qc3+ Kf2 347. Qc5+ Kf3 348. Ka5 Bg4 349. Nf6 Rf4 350. Qc6+ Kf2 351. Nd5 Re4 352. Qf6+ Bf3 353. Nf4 Ne2 354. Nd3+ Ke3 355. Ne5 Rf4 356. Qb6+ Nd4 357. Kb4 Ke4 358. Nc4 Kf5 359. Qh6 Be2 360. Ne3+ Ke5 361. Qh8+ Ke4 362. Qe8+! Kf3 363. Nd5! Re4 364. Qf7+ Kg3 365. Qg6+ Kf3 366. Nf6 Rf4 367. Qh5+ Kg3 368. Qg5+ Kf3 369. Kc3 Nb5+ 370. Kb3! Rc4 371. Nd5 Nd4+ 372. Kb2 Rc2+ 373. Kb1 Ke4 374. Nf6+ Kd3 375. Nd7 Bf3 376. Ne5+ Ke2 377. Qh4 Rd2 378. Nc4! Rd1+ 379. Kb2! Rd3 380. Qg5 Rb3+ 381. Ka2! Rd3 382. Qe5+ Kf2 383. Nb2 Rd2 384. Qf4 Ke2 385. Kb1 Bg2 386. Nc4 Rd3 387. Qh2 Kf1 388. Qh7 Rc3 389. Kb2 Rc2+ 390. Ka3 Rc3+ 391. Kb4 Ne2 392. Ne5 Rh3 393. Qf5+ Ke1 394. Nd3+ Kd2 395. Nc5 Rg3 396. Qh7 Ke3 397. Qd3+ Kf2 398. Qc4 Rc3 399. Qh4+ Rg3 400. Ka5 Kg1 401. Qe7 Kf2 402. Qf6+ Ke1 403. Qh4 Kf1 404. Qd8 Ke1 405. Nd3+ Kd2 406. Nb4+ Kc1 407. Qe7 Kd2 408. Qd6+ Ke3 409. Nc2+ Kf2 410. Qe7 Rf3 411. Qh4+ Rg3 412. Ka6 Bh3 413. Qf6+ Rf3 414. Qa1 Rd3 415. Qe1+ Kf3 416. Qb4 Kg3 417. Qe7 Kf2 418. Ka5 Rc3 419. Qf8+ Rf3 420. Qb4 Rc3 421. Qb6+ Kg3 422. Ne3 Nf4 423. Nc4 Rf3 424. Qc7 Rf2 425. Qg7+ Kh2 426. Qe5 Kg3 427. Qg5+ Kh2 428. Kb6 Bg2 429. Ne3 Bh3 430. Qe5 Kg3 431. Nd5 Kg4 432. Qd4 Kg3 433. Qe3+ Rf3 434. Qe5 Kg4 435. Nf6+ Kg3 436. Ne4+ Kg2 437. Qc5 Ne2 438. Qc4 Nf4 439. Qc2+ Kh1 440. Qc5 Bg2 441. Nf2+ Kh2 442. Ng4+ Kh3 443. Qg5 Rb3+ 444. Ka5 Ra3+ 445. Kb4 Rf3 446. Ne5 Nd5+ 447. Kb5 Rf4 448. Kc5 Be4 449. Nc6 Rh4 450. Qd2 Kg4 451. Qe1 Bg2 452. Qe6+ Kg3 453. Nd4 Nf4 454. Qb3+ Kh2 455. Qe3 Rh5+ 456. Kd6! Rd5+ 457. Ke7! Nh3 458. Qd2 Kg3 459. Qc3+ Kh2 460. Qe3 Rg5 461. Qe2 Nf4 462. Qf2 Rg4 463. Nf5 Nd5+ 464. Ke6 Rg6+ 465. Kd7 Rg4 466. Qe1 Nf6+ 467. Kc7 Ne4 468. Qc1 Rg5 469. Qf4+! Kg1 470. Ne3 Rg7+ 471. Kb6 Rg6+ 472. Ka5 Rg5+ 473. Kb4 Rg6 474. Qe5 Bf3 475. Qa1+ Kh2 476. Qb2+ Kh1 477. Qc1+ Rg1 478. Qc8 Rg3 479. Qh8+ Kg1 480. Qa1+ Kf2 481. Qd4 Rg5 482. Nf5+ Kg2 483. Qb2+ Kh3 484. Ne3 Rh5 485. Nf1 Kg4 486. Qg7+ Kh3 487. Qg1 Rh4 488. Ka3 Rf4 489. Qh2+ Kg4 490. Ne3+ Kg5 491. Nd5 Rf7 492. Qe5+ Kh4 493. Ne7 Ng5 494. Ng8 Ne4 495. Nh6 Rf6 496. Nf5+ Kg4 497. Ne3+ Kh4 498. Kb4 Rb6+ 499. Ka5 Rf6 500. Qh2+ Kg5 501. Qh7 Ng3 502. Qg7+ Rg6 503. Qe5+ Kh6 504. Qf4+ Rg5+ 505. Kb6 Be2 506. Qf8+ Kh7 507. Nd5 Bc4 508. Nf6+ Kg6 509. Nd7 Nh5 510. Qd6+ Kh7 511. Qe7+ Kh6 512. Qe3 Be6 513. Ne5 Bd5 514. Qd4 Bg8 515. Qd2 Nf6 516. Nf3 Nd5+ 517. Kb7 Kg7 518. Qxg5+

This is black to move, and white to mate(!) in 517 moves. This is the longest known forced mate discovered so far, part of the 7 man tablebase projects. That is to say that there exists a single combination here that makes the most complicated combinations seen on the board look trivial, that can't even be comprehended by the strongest humans, or the strongest computers without tablebases, and this with just 7 pieces left in play. I suspect that there are many such amazing combinations. Imagine what we could find with a 32 piece tablebase?

  • 3
    As has been remarked elsewhere on the site, it's not mate in 517 moves -- it's 517 moves to reduce it to an endgame with fewer moves. So the actual mate-count is much higher! – Cam McLeman Jul 8 '13 at 19:48
  • This is the thing about chess that urged the famous debate on the ai newsgroup as to the philosophical non elegance of chess, namely that we humans will never pay perfectly. – ldog Sep 23 '13 at 13:24
2

It depends on the criteria you use to say two tactics are the same thing. If I play a combination tomorrow, in some position that's not played before, and the details of where the pieces are is just slightly different, is it a new tactic?

Endgame studies have been described as crystallized versions of tactics; only the tactic, nothing else. I don't think the last original endgame study has been composed already.

1

If you mean by tactics things like forks, pins, overworked pieces etc. the answer to your question is yess. There is only so much you can do with these wooden pieces. Ofcourse when combining these tactics over more moves the sky is the limit.

-1

No, since Chess is not "solved", the resulting tactics are not solved. There are just too many permutations and combinations..pun!!

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