Why did he play that?

Why did he play that?

spassky
spassky
Jun 29, 2009, 12:00 AM |
5 | Strategy

Sometimes a move has more than one purpose.  And sometimes, the obvious purpose is so non-threatening, and relaxes your opponent so much, that he ignores your move and doesn't look for any other, more hidden, threats.  In the first game, White's 59th move fits the bill.

Black just assumed he knew what the purpose of 59. Be8 was (trying to queen a pawn), and was not thinking about mate.
In the next game, White is thinking about mate, but gets so focused on bishop moves, he forgets to look at moves by Black's other pieces.  The key move here is black's 29th.
The lesson here is that even strong players can be lulled into a sense of safety and neglect to perform a "blunder check" after each and every move.  At it's most basic level, a blunder check requires that you look at all checks and captures after each of your opponent's moves and before you make your next move.  In these two games, my opponents began to deal in ideas instead of specific moves.  Just as in war, generals can shift troops strategically across the battlefield, but guns must have bullets, tanks must have gas, and troops must have food or any strategy moves are useless.  You have to watch the details--every move, every game.  You have to answer the question "Why did he play that?"
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