# Finding tactics in OTB

I always knew that solving tactics trainer puzzles are quite different from finding tactics in actual games, and it is even more difficult in OTB than cc, but to experience it was really painful. I'm upset this whole day for missing this tactic but I'm glad that I decided to analyse the game with the chess engine Houdini.

Houdini found a mate in 3 here:

21. Rh8 + !! Kxh8

22. Qh5 + Kg8

23. Qh7 #

In the actual game, I played the horrible

21. Qh5 ?? Nxd3 +

22. Kd2 f6

23. Qh7 + Kf7 and resigned.

After the game, I, my opponent and one of my friend were analysing the game and we were in the opinion that 20. Ne5 was the mistake and 20. Ng5 would have been game over.

Later, a friend of mine, Sanjeev Nair, rated 1833, saw a quick glimpse and found a nice winning sequence

20. Bh7 + Kh8

21. Qc2! with idea of 22. Bg8!! and 23. Qh7 #. Black can delay the mate, but the c6 knight is hanging too.

Apparently, no human found 20. Rh8.

This problem would be a piece of cake for regular TT solvers, including me. Simple mate in 3 - Rook sac and mate. I would take less than 5 seconds to solve this in TT, that's because you are always finding for sacs and mate in TT. But that is not the case in actual game. A sac gone wrong is no big deal in TT, you solve another puzzle, but losing a round has severe psychological effects.

What is the solution? How are we able to find mate in a TT problem within seconds but unable to do so in an actual game? Suggestions are welcome.

This was a game from yesterday's local team championship. Ironically, our opponents of this round called their team - Fire on Board. Had I found the winning 21. Rh8 +, I would have created a literal fire on the board.

• 10 months ago

I found this very helpful, thank you!

• 11 months ago

Sharad Tilak Open team.

• 11 months ago

who won the tournament[vaze team championship]???

• 11 months ago

When we both were beginners. I was in 7th and he was in 3rd and we both went for coaching to Vivek Rane in school itself. I would defeat him occasionally but we both knew little chess then.

• 11 months ago

Have you played Sanjeev a lot of times before?

• 11 months ago

Joshi Academy No. 2 [We had 2 teams from our class]

• 11 months ago

And awesome name - Fire on Board.

What was your team's name?

• 11 months ago

Go and talk to him. Ask him if he is free, maybe during PT period or after school ends.

• 11 months ago

Rh8+ easily found. It was a forced mate and nice. But I guess we really don't feel like 'sac, sac, sac, sac and win' in an OTB game. We do it the nice 'equal exchange, equal material' way, and in the process, lose our ability to find mates rather than saving up material.

Good game anyways. Qh5 was really putting yourself in trouble without giving a check. When you make a big leap in a chess game, leaving your pieces hanging and he king threatened, make sure you're aiming for your mate with a series of forced moves.

Otherwise, the game being all yours is no guarantee.

P.S. You think Sanjeev will play me if I ask him to?

(Oh crap, how will I play him anyways?)

• 11 months ago

@lollolbuddha: black's pawn is on g7, so 22. Qh5 + gxh5 is illegal.

• 11 months ago

yes...it seems so simple if we smell a tactic... else just complex position!!

• 11 months ago

In practice, I have found it useful to follow-up a long tactics training session with a series of blitz games, with time controls from 5|2 and longer. The point is to put your brain in the "tactics mindset" and play some games while the ideas are still fresh, to practice applying the tactics knowledge.

• 11 months ago

but If 22. Qh5 + then  what about gxh5

• 11 months ago

PATTERN RECOGNITION - fathom the concept. Start doing as many puzzles as possible: tactics trainer puzzles, the daily puzzle, etc. Books such as Fred Reinfeld's !000 Checkmates and 1000 Combinations are excellent for this. Work on puzzles taken from actual games or "game like" puzzles and don't waste time on composed "mates-in-2" etc. with positions that look totally unrealistic or are otherwise a waste of time ie the winning side has an extra 5 Queens and the losing side is down to its King.

• 11 months ago

Thanks CM Mago, hope that with time and experience of playing in more OTB events, I can see such tactics in real life too and not just in TT.

• 11 months ago

Of course, tactics is just one part of playing a chess game.

So if you can smell that there might be a tactical chance in the position, you start looking for a tactics much more than when you "know" the position feels like a normal position in which no particular tactical tricks are to be expected.

For example, an experienced OTB attacking player will love to see that black king open in the corner and start looking for a concrete tactical way to finish him off, probably coming up with ideas such as found by you and your analysis partners after the game.