What's all this stuff about "pattern recognition" and recognizing positions and tactics automatically?? Well, last weekend it begin to make more sense to me because I got a chance to see it and put it into action. Apparently, with more experience we really do get better at recognizing situations on the board.
Let's consider the following position that I encountered in a game a few months ago. I have the white pieces and I'm playing a King's Indian Attack. Black to move, develops his bishop in a way that makes him vulnerable.
I will comment that I never made a move to try to create a trap. I was merely playing according the the KIA system. When I played e4, I looked at the board and told myself: "Oh! I'm going to win a piece."
Now, since that game I've had some others where the situation was somewhat similar, but last Saturday in an OTB tournament, I found myself in this situation:
The position is significantly different from the first position, but black opts to play Bd6 creating the possibility of a pawn fork by white. As soon as black made that move I remembered the position in the first game, and understood instantly that there was a potential tactical win here. It didn't take me minutes to analyze the board and search for options. I already knew that a threat existed. Even though the two cases are not identical, there is enough similarity to get the spider-sense tingling.
So, here's to experience!