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I often hear people asking me things like “How many moves do you need to think ahead in a chess game?” or “What should I be thinking about every time it’s my move?” Because sometimes people are 1 track minded about what they need to be thinking about. If you want to be successful at chess here are some things you should always be thinking about
What’s your plan?
You need to have a specific plan. You should NEVER be moving pieces sporadically around the board without a vision. Are you trying to control an outpost to attack your opponent? Defending? Or perhaps simply developing your piece? Are you sacrificing a minor piece to penetrate on the king side. Do you have a nice little (foolproof) checkmate in mind?
What is your opponent’s plan?
One of the key mistakes that beginners always make are getting so wrapped up in their own plans that they miss what they’re opponents are up to. Chess is different than poker that unlike poker, you can always see your opponents pieces, and with some clever thinking, his plan. If you can figure out what your opponent is up to you can incorporate it into your own plan and minimize some of what they’re trying to do (a.k.a. profilaxis).
What are your opponent’s immediate threats?
Sometimes we get so caught up looking 5 or 6 moves ahead of all the various variations that we might miss the immediate fork or even worse, the immediate checkmate. Sometimes the most obvious moves are the ones even titled players miss sometimes
Look for various weaknesses on both ends
Sometimes I get asked by beginner’s “OK, I understand I need a plan for every move, but where do I come up with such a plan?” Well, look for weaknesses and make sure that your plan includes attacking their weaknesses and shoring your weaknesses up. Do you have hanging pawns? Do you have a pawn structure that is not safe? Does your opponent have a weak outpost, is his king not safe? What about your own king? Is there an outpost that you can take apart?
NEVER make a sporadic move (Is this a blunder?)
When you lose a chess game you usually lose for two reasons:
1. You played someone who is a lot better at their tactics, that can think a lot deeper than you can or perhaps their strategy was a little bit deeper.
2. You played someone but just made a huge blunder. Perhaps you gave up a piece or allowed yourself into an easy fork. The worst thing you can do is blunder a piece.
Hope this advice helps all you beginners!
Just taking these small pieces of advice every time you make a move can save your skin in so many situations where you may not know the exact theory or perfect move to make. Don’t just go for the immediate attack without considering your opponents strategy; look for weaknesses and think up of a solid tactical and positionally sound strategy.
Until next time,
Kevin Butler from TheChessWebsite.com
A word from William
Thank you to Kevin from TheChessWebsite.com for sending us this free exclusive preview video from his 10-disc DVD set All Things Chess Perhaps you got so wrapped up in Kevin’s voice and advice in the preview video that you didn’t even notice that the pieces on the board were never moved! Kevin has a truly unique teaching style that absorbs you into his commentary and has a way of explaining chess principles in a clear and concise matter. All Things Chess is now available in either digital or physical form in the iChess.NET shop for the lowest price on the internet, guaranteed. The physical version of All Things Chess is shipped directly from Kevin in a beautiful 10 disc collectors jewel set. Please use coupon code KEVIN20 for a 20% discount on All Things Chess, the coupon is available from now until November 13th, 2012 for the first 10 customers to redeem it.