Target Fixation

Liam46
Mar 1, 2009, 12:00 AM |
5 | Tactics

Every chess player knows this moment.  You are on the edge of something big, capturing a major piece, making a move to force checkmate, or anchoring important space.  Then, seemingly, from out of nowhere your opponent strikes.  He/she takes a Queen, puts you into check or otherwise turns your world upside down.  It's as if you had been blind and now can see, and what you see is not so good.

     I call it "target fixation".  It's something that allows even an inexperienced player, a debutant, to upset another player whose ELO might be in the stratosphere.  And it's something that has happened to every player at one time or another.  And it will continue to happen.  It's the cause of many so called "blunders."

    How to combat "target fixation" : 1) Be Here Now.  The anti-fixation manta helps to keep all us blunderers in the present.  All your tactics and all your strategies are blown asunder if your concentration is so firmly fixed in the future that you don't see, for example, your opponent's Bishop on an open diagonal just waiting for your Pawn to move; frustrating a grand strategy that is torn to tatters because you were living in some future glory.  2) Be Here Now. Living in the future can be hazardous to your chess playing health and so can living in the past.  An opponent takes a major piece, some minnow tops you; you thought you were a whale -- unassailable.  How long does it take you to recover from the reverses that always happen?  Re-live your past blunders while you are playing and you are gauranteed to have another.

     Be Here Now.  And, by the way, don't ever lose your Queen.

 

Liam46

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