We might as well play the best move
Might As Well t-shirt

We might as well play the best move


Once we reach a winning position, we might as well play the best move.

Today's position comes from a 3/2 blitz game I played this morning. I'm up in material by a knight and a pawn so I should have the game won but I still have some issues to deal with. My knight on e4 is hanging. While Black's remaining pieces are all in play, my queenside pieces are undeveloped. I'm wondering whether Black might attempt a Greek gift bishop sac at some point to expose my king.

I found and played the second best move, which was good enough to win the game. Now's your chance to find and play the best move.

Fair warning, there're spoilers below.

The reason I'm posting this particular position is that it illustrates a leak in my game. When I analyze my games, I'm consistently finding that I make a similar mistake in my blitz games. Once I play well enough to reach a winning position, I often identify the best move yet immediately dismiss it simply because it starts off with a seeming piece sacrifice.

That was the case with my last post, Why bother?, where I rejected a winning exchange of two rooks for my opponent's queen and a knight. In that case, I glanced at the right move but insta-decided against it because it started off with a seeming rook sac. 

In today's post I glanced at the right move but insta-decided against it because it began with a seeming knight sac.

In both of these games (and tons of other games too) I found the right move yet didn't play it, all because the right sequence starts off with losing a piece and I didn't put the effort into thinking whether it might be the best move. This is far from my biggest leak, which still belongs to hanging pieces, failing to capture pieces my opponent hangs and missing mates in 1, but it's easily the most irritating flaw in my game because I had the right move in my head yet talked myself out of playing it by being too mentally lazy to spend a few more seconds on the best solution to the problem confronting me.

I'm sharing this because I figure fellow players around my level are finding themselves facing the same challenge. It seems to me that one lesson learned to plug this leak is to pump up my aggression on the board. If you've got other ideas, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.