“… By definition, quiet moves are moves that are not a capture, check or immediate threat to the opposition. This includes subtle developmental moves or moves that improve a piece’s position (placing it on a more active square)…”
While doing some research for this theme, I found one of Hugh’s previous articles as one of the top references. After reading it I realized it provides a very nice foundation for adding more practical examples to help the club player. Identifying the quiet moves and playing them at the right time is a craft one needs to work on constantly to become a well rounded and dangerous player. At the beginning I remember finding this concept very intriguing and difficult to accomplish. Like Hugh says, players in general look for concrete moves with obvious/ visible results; when none such concrete moves are apparent, one could feel disoriented and lost. The trials and tribulations of getting better at it have taken me from the lowest of the low (absolutely inexplicable moves becoming instant blunders…), to some nice ones with a deadly effect. Here I am going to focus on a deadly example from one of my recent online games. The first 21 moves are below:
What should White do now? A quick assessment of the position reveals equal material and a positional plus for White as a result of active pieces and control of the center. Black’s position is a bit cramped: his rooks are not connected and neither of his knights are doing too much. The knight on g6 could be exchanged on e5, but that would give White a very powerful Ne5 to cause future trouble such as on the g6-square. All this being said, it is not clear how White should proceed to improve his position or how to launch the attack. All his pieces seem to be in good positions with no obvious better squares to aim for. Pushing d4-d5 is also not possible for the moment. I thought about it for a while and decided to postpone taking Qb3 away from the a2-g8 diagonal and use its position to play a quiet move on the queen side:
Hope you agree this is a nice example of a quiet move by a pawn. It was not about what I accomplished with it. It was all about the reaction it generated from my opponent. This could be a difficult aspect to consider on a regular basis and without a doubt the high rewards generated, warrant any effort put into mastering it.
Valer Eugen Demian