Visualization: A Major Catalyst for Improvement in Chess

Visualization: A Major Catalyst for Improvement in Chess

NM CraiggoryC
Feb 23, 2016, 8:49 PM |

Improvement in the field of visualization is a great boon for any student of chess. The reason is that once a player becomes more adept at visualization (which for me, is the ability to see the pieces and squares in your mind) then calculation becomes exponentially easier. When you can see the possible future positions, it is easier to evaluate whether you should go in for the move or not. This is basically what chess is afterall! Studying without a board, playing blindfold, or solving tactics without physically moving the pieces, are all great ways to improve at visualization and/or calculation (and at chess!).

I hope Elubas doesn't mind but, I found a great explanation of what visualization (and calculation) is:

"Every time you calculate a move, you are visualizing a position that is a certain amount of ply changed from the original. So if I'm calculating a capture and my opponent's response, I am also visualizing a position that is the same as the one I am currently in, except with that change.

By the way, after calculating a sequence of moves, it's always good to take a deliberate look (in your head) at the position that arises afterwards.  A lot of times there are subtle touches after the fireworks clear, such as getting that fork you want (many might stop their calculation there if they didn't see any more forcing moves from the opponent, but...), but finding out that by the time your opponent moves one of his pieces away, and you take the other, the piece that captured it can suddenly be trapped and have its escape squares cut off (this is the kind of position I'm saying you should visualize). Hopefully that piece won't be your queen!"-Elubas


A forum where the difference between visualization and calculation are discussed: click here

Below are some puzzles that, I think, are suited nicely to improving in visualization. Good luck, and good visualizing!

Visualization Puzzles