Wednesday, December 03, 2008

and now something completely different - Chess

I'm pushing the limits of taking external ideas and applying them to Ultimate. As of recent, I was just reviewing some chess tactics. Why? You got me, but it got me thinking.

So, what made up connection have I made with Ultimate and Chess? Well, it all comes down to a major part of chess tactics - the double threat. In chess, the concept of the double threat ocurres when you've made a move such that your opponent must choose between one threat or the other.

The "double threat" very simply applies to Ultimate. One application that I taught this weekend was how the double threat can be used to attack the mids in a zone. The further extension from chess to Ultimate is one particular type of double threat, which is the fork (knight fork is shown in the picture above). A fork is when a knight, queen, or bishop is in a position to attack two of the opponents pieces. The same is true for many ultimate tactics where offensive players fork to attack a mid position deep and short (or left and right). Technically, this is more similar to the "discovered attack" in chess, but the basic concept seems to come accross better with the fork; you're attacked at two points at the same time.

The tactics of Ultimate and chess have some more similarities. I find the best use of these similarities can be used to define tactics in Ultimate so that we can all understand what's being talked about. For example, the Ultimate term, "dump and swing" used between two Ultimate players allows us to express a series of throws and handler positions in only 3 words.

Here's some terms that you might find useful from chess:

  • Double Threat - as discussed above, this is when an offensive player is attacked by two or more threats simultaneously.
  • Fork - a double threat attack where the attack happens in opposite directions.
  • Loose piece - a defensive player in a zone that has been stranded (in terms of distance) from defensive help.
  • Tactics - a means to attack by forcing the opponent into situations where you have the advantage.
  • Strategy - creating the best opportunities based on positions.


Frank Huguenard said...

Forget double threat. Have you not heard of the triple threat?