"When You Really Want to Play a Move, But it Doesn't Work; Play it Anyways!"

"When You Really Want to Play a Move, But it Doesn't Work; Play it Anyways!"

NM CraiggoryC

The title of this blog is a Russian (chess) proverb that has always stuck with me. The stronger the player, the more likely they are getting THEIR ideas onto the chessboard

You've probably heard that the quickest way to chess improvement is through the study of tactics. To this a few of my students have said, "well I'm a positional player, so I don't think studying tactics wouldn't help my chess much". There are a few problems with this statement to come to mind: 

  1. Some positions are going to call for you to play aggressively. When your opponent plays too recklessly, you need to have the ability to attack their King and make them pay for their indiscretion! If you want to be a strong player, you need to have the ability to attack, defend, or play positionally; depending on what the position on the board is calling for you to do.
  2. There are going to be times when you want to play a move but it looks like it wont work. This is when tactics can justify your positional moves. When you are playing moves where tactics and strategy (positional chess) are intersecting, you know that you truly are becoming a serious chess player! 

Let's go over some situations where you'd like to play a strategic/positional move and you need tactics to justify the move. 

Justify The Move That You Really Want to Play

Example #1

How can White use tactics to justify the move he wants to play?

Example #2 (This game was just played yesterday at the very strong Sinquefield Cup!) 

How did White justify what he wanted to play with tactics?
Example #3
How did Black justify his moves with tactics?
Preparing the Move You'd Really Like to Play
So Black wasn't able to play the move he really wanted to play, but somehow 12...Re8 prepared the move 13...b5, why?!
Sometimes You Really Just Can't Play the Move You Want to Play
How Did White Refute Black's Idea?
So in conclusion, you may not always be able to play the move you really want to play. But even if you can't, you should take a long, hard look for tactics to justify the move; many times you'll find a way to make a seemingly impossible move! If you conclude you can't play the move, look for moves that might prepare the move you want to play.
If you any questions, comments, or examples where the move you wanted to play was possible only due to tactics please feel free to comment directly to this blog!