chess tactics

Chess Tactics

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ccmcacollister 30 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess REPAIRS/ Fixing What Ails You ... or you Chess play at least.
This thread is to address specific problems we may encounter in our play; Where anyone can pose their Question(s) for others to address, offer solutions to the problems cited here, or ask and answer your own. Which is where I will start, in my first post . . .
ccmcacollister 252 ( +1 | -1 )
Problem: Avoiding CHECKMATE ... Do you find that sometimes in the middle-game or opening you feel you are cruising along fine with your game, BUT then out of the blue you get hit with a Checkmate that you didnt see coming? Or mating combination ?
[Well for this problem there is a simple solution, if you would really like to solve it. But it does involve some work and dedication to follow the Cure faithfully. So if you ARE having this problem and are serious about solving it, I would almost Guarantee this will do it ... if it has happened enough, or bothered you enough to make the "Cure" worth your time & effort.]
The Cure:
{Upon each move by your opponent, put aside your own plans for a moment, and even thinking about what he may be threatening in general, and take this time to immediately do a King Safety Check ... which involves the following procedure:
1) Are you In Check? {presumably you wont be, or at least knew it was coming if you are with the program here !}
2) Look to determine ALL opponent pieces that Could place you in Check on his Next Move.
3) Look and determine ALL opponent pieces that could place themself within TWO squares distance from your King on his next move. {For instance if your King is on
g1 then the Squares following would all be within two spaces: h1,h2,h3,g2,g3,f1,f2,f3,e1,e2 and e3. The TWO Square rule is particularly applicable to seeing danger from Knight moves }
4) Look and determine ALL opponent pieces that could place themself within TWO
squares distance from your King if he could make two moves.
5) Mark those pieces in your mind ...
6) Repeat steps 1 - 4 as needed, for the position as it will be AFTER your intended move.
I can assure that you will become very aware of the potential troubles to your King if you do follow the procedure given. And upon use, steps will tend to blend together until you can perform steps 1-4 all at one time for each particular piece of your opponent's. Many experienced players will even be able to start that way.
But if you cannot combine the steps with little effort, I would recommend starting off going thru the entire procedure step by step, as this also helps to train your mind to being systematic and alert, and it is even harder to miss something since the steps make you take a second look ...
Regards, Craig A.C.
PS... How about some more Solutions, and some more Problems everyone !
mattdw 194 ( +1 | -1 )
I did something similar... the procedure for checking your king's safety except on a much broader scale. I compiled a big list of things to check in a very systematic manner - adjusting and adding items as I experienced new things. The problem for me was that it was so detailed that I found it hard to go properly through it each turn so it only lasted for a couple of games, I never really managed to use it properly. Since then I have read a couple of books on memory techniques and I have had an idea - I plan to resurrect 'the list' but in a new and hopefully less sterile way (when I have finished my exams in a couple of months). The idea I have is to commit the major steps of the process to memory using mnemonic techniques (probably using the Loci system - which is quite applicable to ordered lists) from which the minor steps could attatched to each loci with the Link system.

For those not familiar with mnemonics, they encompass a wide range of memory techniques, the 'systems' are methods in which information is stored so that it can be not only learnt quicker, but retrieved much more systematically and retained for longer. The loci system, for instance, attaches 'blocks' of information to an ordered set of locations that you can visualise. The advantage of this is that it not only greatly improves memory but it allows for retrieval of the information in the exact order you desire. The link system simply allows you to link together a list that also needs recalling in a specific order. These to methods combined should work quite well in creating a process that would greatly improve our effectiveness and attention to detail. It would involve going from loci to loci (each one being a major step in the process - e.g checking kings safety) where a list is linked to each loci that can then be recalled (e.g the steps for checking the kings safety).
stendhar 84 ( +1 | -1 )
Nice proposal I really can't think of anything else to add to that. But a psychological note, most of the people that get checkmated out-of-the-blue have no sense of danger. My best representation of sense of danger is what Spiderman sensed whenever something was about to go wrong. Granted we don't have superpowers, but most good chess players have a very alert sense of danger. If they see a Knight lurking near his Majesty or the Bishop pair lined up for the kill, they get extra cautios and start defense plans. But for the sense of danger to work you have to pay attention to what your opponent is doing, not just carry on with your own play. I strongly recommend Petrosian's games for those who feel a lacking in these departement. He never got checkmated on the board, and very few actually succeded an attack against him.
mattdw 12 ( +1 | -1 )
Arghh typos.. I can't stand my typo's! 'attatched' should be 'attached', 'to' should be 'two', 'e.g should be 'e.g.' and 'kings' should be 'king's'. I'm not a perfectionist...honest! ;)
mattdw 3 ( +1 | -1 )
Sigh.... ...'typo's' should be 'typos'. :)
ccmcacollister 263 ( +1 | -1 )
Interesting ... mattdw I better look into some of those memory techniques. I've seen others such as "illogical association" (which I don't really like or seem able to use as well as some), but these sound more like what I am looking for myself.
stendhar Very true about Danger Sense. I generally don't have to go thru steps and just have a pretty well functioning danger sense. But seems to have two loopholes. 1) Do not always see a sac coming, usually of the small tactical trick type tho, not mating net. Whereas I Always see an outbound sac, and seems to be the first thing I'll notice. Which is convenient when attacking, but not so much defending. And the fact that it is better Dishing It Out than seeing Inbound Flak alerts me to some defect in my danger processing. Sometimes that will simply boil down to preoccupation with strategy or what -I- am doing however, rather than what -(s)he- is doing. Still it exists.
2)I find that I have a certain suseptablity to taking it on the chin from diagonal moves, particularly diagonal checks, that especially in OTB may completely turn the game against me.
Because of my experience, the Cure is somewhat simpler for me to do. In the case of #2 it actually translates into asking myself an added Appropriate Question each turn, namely: "Are there any diagonals open to my King, or anything that could sac upon a diagonal."
Naturally trouble usually comes that One Time I dont ask! :))

Number 1 is a bit simpler, and harder at the same time... to pay more attention to what the opponent is doing, and be sure to seek DUAL PURPOSES to his moves. That is a major failing for many players. Perceiving one function of their opponents move they fail to see it may have a second purpose, which may be a threat and may be lethal. Particularly true in blitz play where time for such considerations is minimal to begin with.
And I believe that failure to note a dual purpose is part of what gets us all from time to time. Part of that collage of circumstances which produces won & lost games such as zwishenzugs do. By that very fact tho, it becomes something worthy of watching for and to treat it with disdain is ill advised. And basically that is what I have to tell myself, despite disdain for defense. To just Take It like that one part of every Job we do, that seems least desireable. Yet must be done.
bonsai 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Stendhar's comment about Petrosian is not correct ("He never got checkmated on the board") - e.g. Kortchnoi-Petrosian (Odessa 1974) and Petrosian-Kholmov (Moscow 1957).

To be honest the thing I'd really like to fix about my play are those cases where I know pretty much exactly what my opponent is doing and I still manage to fail to stop it. There are some types of positions where this happens to me relatively often even though my position is objectively equal.
spurtus 76 ( +1 | -1 )
Danger & Sacs On danger etc... My advice on sacs (and unusual moves) is as follows...

- Check em first, then conduct less crazy analysis of your game, if you don't check what you or your opponent can sacrifice you will get stuck into the more difficult choice of which line to play etc. i.e. Its very difficult (and sometimes pointless) to emerge from 9 moves deep and sac something OR realise you are about to be sacced upon.

This will keep your danger radar always on, and give you better tactical insight into weaknesses and opportunities.

Does anybody else do this? or something more refined?, I find its the main part of my game, that makes my play unique and sometimes seemingly crazy but dangerous.