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Chess and Wrestling - Friday, July 9th, 2010

Consider the definition of “initiative” in chess terms.  Taking the inititiative to attack and keep your opponent of the defensive is the key to victory. 

It sounds exactly like wrestling.  The more I think about it, the more I believe taking initiative in our wrestling careers, each practice and each match might be the most important thing you can do.  

Here is Wikepidia’s description of “initiative” in chess.  It is exactly what it takes to reach our greatest potential in a wrestling match as well.  Enjoy!  


Initiative (chess)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Initiative in a chess position belongs to the player who can make threats that cannot be ignored. He thus puts his opponent in the position of having to use his turns responding to threats rather than making his own.[1] A player with the initiative will often seek to maneuver his pieces into more and more advantageous position as he launches successive attacks. The player who lacks the initiative may seek to regain it through counterattack. The importance of initiative is summed up in the syllogism that initiative is necessary to attack; and attacking is necessary to win (i.e. by capturing pieces and checkmating the opposing king); therefore initiative is needed to force a win.[citation needed]



Due to moving first, White starts the game with the initiative, but it can be squandered in the opening by accepting a gambit. Players can also lose initiative by making unnecessary moves that allow the opponent to gain tempo, such as superfluous “preventive” moves intended to guard against certain actions by the opponent, that nonetheless require no specific response by them. The concept of tempo is closely tied to initiative, as players can acquire the initiative or buttress it by gaining a tempo.

The initiative is important in all phases of the game, but more important in the endgame than in the middlegame and more important in the middlegame than in the opening (Euwe & Meiden 1966 :x vii,xxii). Having the initiative puts the opponent on the defensive.

Grandmaster Larry Evans considers four elements of chess: pawn structure, force (material), space (controlling the center and piece mobility), and time. Time is measured in tempos. Having a time advantage is having the initiative (Evans 1958:123). The initiative should be kept as long as possible and only given up for another advantage (Capablanca & de Firmian 2006:65–66).

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