Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mind reading

While helping at a local scholastic chess training day, I was asked a question about looking ahead.

One of the chapters of Soltis' excellent book Studying Chess Made Easy is "Two-and-a-half move chess". I started describing this concept, and was asked a second question, "how do you guess your opponents's move?" So the real question was not how to limit the search, but how to read your opponents mind.

I think the first thing is not to look for your opponent to make obviously bad moves.

During planning, you are assessing both positive and negative imbalances. The negative imbalances point to your weaknesses, that your opponent would want to exploit. Expect counter attacking moves that strike at your weaknesses.

If you have made a threat, then your opponent needs to defend against that threat, or make a larger threat of their own. Your threats should lead to improving imbalances in your favor, or be the start of some tactic. Assume your opponent is doing the same.

Tactics are primary in class and scholastic play. Doing tactical puzzles will improve your ability to see defensive moves.

Tactics puzzle sites:
Chess Tempo
Shredder problems

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