In his classic Novice Nook The Theory of Chess Improvement Dan Heisman points out the following common chess errors, which I keep running up against.
- Playing too fast or too slow.
- Having bad thought processes – such as playing “Hope Chess”
(making a move but not analyzing whether you can safely meet any
- seeing a good move and not looking for a better one.
- not looking for all your opponent’s threats from his previous move.
- Not following general principles, such as not developing all your
pieces in the opening or not activating your king quickly enough in the
- Misunderstanding the value of the pieces. For example, thinking that
trading a rook and pawn for a bishop and knight is usually an equal
- Psychological errors, such as not playing with confidence, or avoiding
higher rated players for fear of losing.
- Analysis errors, like “retained images” (where you analyze and think a
piece is still on a square from which it moved earlier in the imagined
sequence) or making “quiescence errors” (stopping your analysis to
evaluate a position when there are still tactics to be resolved).
- Evaluation errors – thinking a position is good when it is actually bad
and vice versa.