When Solving for Tactics

Steal Like a Grandmaster

1. Look at the whole board.

2. Look for immediate opponent threats.

3. Narrate tactical themes (Hanging bishop, skewerable or forkable pieces, etc.).

4. Look at more than one candidate (when you find a good move look for a better one).

5. Calculate at least 6 ply (3 moves) deep.

6. Look for in-between moves.

7. Examine forcing moves first in the order of checks, captures and threats.

8. When all seems lost, look for stalemate possibilities.

9. If you feel you are on the right track, but your are not finding the winning move, then try to reverse the move order.

10. Blundercheck.

Thought Process Checklist

Chess Blunder Checklist

Core Evaluation 1. How has the opponent’s last move changed the position? Has your opponent made a blunder? 2. What is he trying to achieve? 3. Has he weakened his position (positional concession, piece en prise, open to a tactic) ? 4. Are there any threats? Tactical Evaluation If 1 or more of the following…

The (Long) Road to Chess Mastery

According to experts it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any field. So the following is my attempt to gauge my chess progress based on the 10,000 hour rule. Assumptions 10,000 hours of practice = expert A chess expert is a player with a 2000 USCF rating. Your starting chess…

Finding the Master Within

There is no doubt that reviewing master games is one of the best methods to improve your chess. The question for me has always been which master’s games do I study first? There are schools of thought that answer this by stating that you should review master games starting in chronological order, since this maps…

Threats in Chess Pt. 2

I wasn’t planning on making this a series of posts on threats, but I feel I’m on to something. My chess has improved since I have restructured my thought process to incorporate threat analysis . Threat Based Evaluation Process 1. What are my opponent’s threats?     a. Is there a mate threat?     b. Is…