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What Do You Focus On When Moving?


  • 16 months ago · Quote · #1

    defenserulz

    I find chess a very difficult game.  There are many pieces with different moves and also many moving parts and possibilities throughout the game. 

    Beyond immediate threats, I'm curious what you focus on when deciding on a move?  I often find myself unable to pick out what to look at on the board or think about what is important and what to do. 

    I can see individual possibilities and calculate a few moves ahead, but the sheer number of pieces, spatial positions, and possibilities makes chess feel very open and daunting for me at times. 

    I'm getting better and beating the CHess.com computer on MED at a decent rate now (but lose to it on HARD usually), but still find this part of my game a struggle. 

    How do you narrow down or choose what to do?

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #2

    theGmaster

    First, focus on your opponent's threats, of course. Look for possible forks and skewers. If you notice you are pinned, try to find a way to get out of it. If you see no threats, you can make threats of your own. Look to see if your opponent has any undefended pieces. If there is only one piece defending it, is there a way you can trade pieces and remove the defender? Try to look for the strongest attack, one that gets you a better position perhaps; like a move would remove doubled pawns. Or maybe make moves that could give your opponent a worse position, like weakening his pawn structure, or exposing his king.

    Hope this helps.

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #3

    waffllemaster

    Well what most don't realize is many players cheat!  Ok probably not how you're thinking.  But after thousands of losses and many years of playing and study there is a database of positions and evaluation in long term memory that players reference during a game to help guide them through.  How can Grandmaster _______ play 50 amateurs at once and not lose a game?  They're not a genius (ok they may be) but mostly it's the info they have in long term memory gained through years of playing.  (After your games always review them to look for your mistakes, and you'll be building your own mental database!)

    This only keys people in on important aspects.  A pawn formation or a knight or the possibility of an attack etc.  If that's all it took to find best moves people would have gotten board of chess hundreds of years ago.  So don't despair if you don't have a photographic memory (none of us do ;) it just helps us know what to "focus on" or how to "narrow down" and there are always enough exceptions to keep people guessing.

    The first place to look to develop a general idea of the position though is the pawn structure.  Because pawns move so slowly, and pawn moves can never be taken back, that in essence they form the terrain of the battlefield while the other pieces are the soldiers (comparison stolen from Soltis).  There are relatively few basic pawn structure in chess (say, about 10) each bringing its own character to the position.  As for immediately helpful advice I'll say if you don't have a pawn on one of the 4 center squares and your opponent does, it's often a good idea to prepare to be able to advance one there.  If you do have a pawn on one of the 4 center squares it's often a good idea to keep it there (don't trade it off for no reason).

    Although also very important and basic is recognizing threats and tactics.  Undefended pieces or pawns (on either side) will really stick out to an experienced player.  Another precursor to tactics are things like having your king and queen lined up on the same file or diagonal.  There may be many pieces in the way now, but your opponent will be looking for any opportunity to draw them away.

    Another thing that will stick out to an experienced player is a piece not pulling its weight.  They say beginners play with the best pieces (their far advanced knight or queen) while masters play with their worst pieces (any piece left on the back row, any piece left out of the action).  This means they try to make use of their whole army at all times.  If a piece is left off in the corner (and there are no immediate threats to take care of) you can bet the master will try to find a way to move that piece over to where the action is (or is planned to be).  The center is almost universally useful (can swing to any area from a centralized position).  So if nothing else the piece will be well centralized.  As some old advice goes, when you're unsure what to do, find your worst placed piece and improve it.

    Hope that's a useful answer for you.

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #4

    theGmaster

    Wow. You made my post look like a mosquito.

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #5

    CarolynM

    I look at the opponent and decide what tactics to use and like to attack as much as possible, simples.

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #6

    AlCzervik

    The large or delicate things, mostly. If you're loading the truck yourself, better start with the bed, couch, etc. If you can afford it, you might want to consider hiring someone (it's a lot of work).

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #7

    Estragon

    AlCzervik wrote:

    The large or delicate things, mostly. If you're loading the truck yourself, better start with the bed, couch, etc. If you can afford it, you might want to consider hiring someone (it's a lot of work).

     

    Quite right.  And boxes, you need to have a lot of boxes on hand.

  • 16 months ago · Quote · #8

    harryden

    AlCzervik wrote:

    The large or delicate things, mostly. If you're loading the truck yourself, better start with the bed, couch, etc. If you can afford it, you might want to consider hiring someone (it's a lot of work).

    Absolutely right @AlCzervik.......


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