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 there a threat of material loss?
    c. Is there a tactical threat?
    d. Is there a positional threat?

2. Do I have any threats I can execute?
    a. Is there a mate threat?
    b. Is there a threat of material loss?
    c. Is there a tactical threat?
    d. Is there a positional threat?

3. Based on my threat analysis I need to compare both my threats versus my opponent’s and come up with a plan based on:
    a. ignoring opponent’s threat
    b. creating a counter threat
    c. stopping opponent’s threat

4. If neither I or my opponent have any threats, then I proceed to a positional evaluation of the position which can be based on either Silman’s imbalances or Karpov’s method.

[The evaluation method for sub 1800 players  might be simplified to focus on piece activity and harmony…but I need to look into this further.]

Threats in Chess Pt. 1

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2 thoughts on “Threats in Chess Pt. 2

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Dan says:

    I completely agree with the overall point that you must identify threats. You must train yourself to do that after every move your opponent makes. But I’d suggest tweaking your list slightly —

    first, I think you need to refine a bit more what you mean by “threat”. A mate threat or tactical/material-winning threat is very, very different than a positional threat because of the amount of time involved. Mate/tactical threats are usually a lot more forcing than positional threats, and quite frankly, at beginner levels positional threats are a complete unknown. There mere act of looking for threats is a very important step, and I’d recommend just ensuring you do that. If you look for threats but do not can’t find them (but they’re there), then you need to train those threats until you see them all the time.

    second, I think your point #2 is not necessary. If you’re doing tactical positions then yes you need to stop and find your own threats, but in a game if your opponent has just made a move when you already had a threat on the board, then your opponent is just playing bad chess (and doens’t know to look for threats!). Assuming the threat your opponent made is less of a threat than your threat (like you had a mate threat, and he attacked a knight) then of course you just go mate him.

    third, the list of possible options in #3 can be refined/expanded a bit. Once you identify the threat, you always have five basic options: capture, block, move, defend, counter-attack.

    I like where you’re going with this, and hope you continue your blog.

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