Nov 16, 2017, 11:22 AM |


    We all want to make the best move every time in chess, but even the greatest players in the world are not immune to making inaccuracies or out-in-out blunders; so what's a common chess player like us to do? We study and study... then try to use our new found chess knowledge in application during our next over the board battles, and it's all great, until... "Damn, they found a refutation!" and we start studying again and again... until we feel confident of further continued success, but that's just one line of one opening, and there are so many, many more! When putting ourselves in the difficult to sometimes impossible position of determining the complexities of what the next best move is... understand that it depends on several to many factors, and so many things can shoot into our minds and confuse us, such as:

Is it the opening, middle, or end game?

What is the next "book" move? (and do we remember?)

Is the game open or closed?

Should the game stay or transition from open to closed, or vice-versa?

Is it Bishops of opposite or same color?

B vs N or N vs B?

Rook ending?

Am I up or down material?

Keep the Queens on or get 'em off the board?

Is my opponent an equal, stronger, or weaker player?

What is my style of play vs theirs?

Do I have and even, better or worse, winning or losing position?

Not to mention, there may be more than one "best move"! Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen both says it's this, while a computer says it's that!

Etc... etc... etc... and it goes on and on Ad nauseam!


    So let's look at it from a different perspective... if you are struggling to find the next "best move", then don't, just try to evaluate the current position for what it is, (some chess players refer to this as being "in the now", "in the moment", or the "truth of the position") formulate a plan, and attempt to take just what the position gives you each time, don't try to force the position into what it isn't. Guess what? If you look at it this way and not confuse yourself with all the listed distractions above, you will probably find the best move by osmosis, but if you don't, due to a mistake or miscalculation, don't despair, YOU WILL LEARN! and learn the lessons of chess so much easier.



    To confuse you further (sorry) memorization of lines is all and none of those, or varying degrees of each or some at different times. Memory ability in chess can help you, no doubt, and memorization of specific openings can be quite useful, but it can also lead you down a path of destruction! Why? Because what happens when your memorization of the line runs out?! (You are probably going to lose!) Furthermore, you have no understanding of what the objective of the opening was set out to achieve, or why the pieces are where they are and for what purpose! You were just aping moves. (You ARE going to lose!) If only you knew how to calculate and evaluate a current position without having to rely on memory?!



    If you want to be able to evaluate any given position understand that it takes time to be able to achieve this. Sometimes the positions are quite simple, but as you get better and better, so will your opponents, and the evaluations will get more difficult and complex to figure out, but this is a good thing... your chess play is improving! Some tips to get better at evaluating a chess position are:

  • Record all your games and do a postmortem (move by move analysis) and see what was better.
  • Slow down and look at the position.
  • Stay away from too much blitz-style chess. (Blitz is fun, but usually perpetuates bad habits.)
  • Study GM or high level chess games.
  • When studying high level chess games, try to guess the next move. (Make a game of it.)
  • Study tactics and positional play.
  • Play against better players and ask them to explain things after the game.
  • Study and restudy the fundamentals of chess principles, and get back to basics.
  • Play blindfolded games in your mind, or against an opponent, with someone else making the moves on an actual chessboard, start simple, like only 3 moves deep, and keep expanding.

These are only some of the ways one can improve their evaluation and calculation abilities, there are others, but these are probably the most effective for most people... sometimes just playing works, but if you are not a chess prodigy, like 98% of us, playing will take you only so far... and not very far at all.


    I hope this helps you in improving your chess play and if I didn't explain something in as much detail as you needed, please post a respectful question in the comments below.


Happy Chessing!!!