I hear this term in online commentaries.
I have a vague sense of what it means: you earn yourself some good moves by ignoring a portion of the board and focusing on more promising parts of your play. It's as if you are telling your opponent: Sure you are threatening, but I am going to ignore it for I can also threaten you. So the players now try to prove whose threat is stronger.
Consider Anand-Andreikin for example. Andreikin found a draw by evaluating that his queen side was stronger. He chose to ignore Anand's strong king side. Or Anand-Carlsen, where Anand found a draw by finding counterplay with 44. Qh1. I am looking for heuristics/ rules of thumbs in this theme of playing.
I feel my understanding of the term is still loose. So:
- Could you explain what is counter play with some instructive example?
- How to evaluate the potential of counter play, i.e. - how to decide under practical playing conditions whether to counter attack or respond to the threat?
- I feel the term is related to the idea of 'complicating a position'. Is it? (I have Nakamura-Carlsen on my mind, but it may not be the best example).
- I have also heard of players talking of prophylaxis to prevent potential counter play. Again can you give some heuristics to decide, whether to get prophylactic in a winning position or not? This is the same question as 2, except from the other player's point of view.