Check Your Blind Spot

Check Your Blind Spot

NM CoachJKane

Hi Chess Friends,

One of the most common topics I touch on when teaching chess classes and individual lessons is the importance of examining forcing moves (checks, captures and threats). These are the moves most likely to completely alter a line from winning to losing (or hopefully the reverse). In a recent online game, I was able to calculate one forcing move further than my opponent and gain a satisfying win. After the game, I looked for improvements (an important step for anyone interested in making progress) and found that I missed forcing moves, which improved on my in-game calculations in two crucual variaitons. Let's take a look.


My knight on f6 is in danger, so I had to find a playable response. My main candidate was Nd7, but I had to find responses to white's forcing lines, e6 and Rd1. Fortunately, I was able to calculate the twist ending of the e6 line and my opponent fell into a nice trap.

I felt pretty good about having played Nd7, despite the dangers of e6. I knew it was a critical line and didn't miss that I had the last key forcing move. However, in postgame analysis I realized the I had stopped my Rd1 analysis a little short. See if you can find white's path to a small advantage.
Despite the extra pawn, black is completely pinned down in the final posiiton. It's not clear to me if the position is defendable wtih best play, but it's certainly dangerous. 
It turns out that I probably should have looked for an alternative to Nd7. If you look at all of your forcing moves with an open mind, you can find a playable move for black that should also be taken seriously.
I hope this provided some helpful practice. Good luck in your own games.