Secrets to Improve Your Chess Calculation (3)

Secrets to Improve Your Chess Calculation (3)

FM andresgv36
Jun 7, 2017, 1:55 AM |

Techniques to calculate better part 3


In my previous articles of this series I have shown how orderly and logical thinking is fundamental to improve the calculation in chess, good moves aren’t found by "magic" nor whispered mysteriously into the brains of the best players in the world, These moves are the result of a logical sequence of reasoning, surely the brain of the most talented players in the world accomplishes this innately or naturally, however for the rest of us mortals there are techniques to achieve this.


Chess is a sport with a lot of art and some science. From the scientific point of view, logical thinking is analytical (divides reasoning into parts) rational (follows rules) and sequential (linear, goes step by step). In this context, the comparison is one of the most powerful resources to reach conclusions, in science and in chess.


Comparison is such an important resource to understand chess that we use it consciously or unconsciously in the 3 phases of the game, especially it’s very important to understand the openings, in another article I will talk more about this, however the question I want to answer here is: How the comparison can help me to calculate better?There are intricate and complex positions in which two moves seem similar and only a correct process of comparison will allow us to reach the correct conclusion. Here is an example of this:

As we can see in this example, when we need to decide between two or more moves that looks similar and we find ourselves confused, in order to apply the comparison we need in principle not to decide which move to make, first advance in the calculation, and only after you reach the resulting position you should ask: Where do I prefer this piece?  Once you found the answer, you should return to the starting position and then apply the move. I believe that with this method you will be able to solve the following exercise that I will present you next which is more complex:

White to move and drawn

Readers who have followed this series of articles are likely to ask - again a pawn endgame?First, I would like to explain that they are all from my own creation, and it is not just mere casualty that many of the positions I choose as examples are pawn endgames. Actually the endgames have the wrong stigma of being boring but,  in true endgames are full of calculation, one example of this is the GM Shirov who said that he liked to play games to the ending because then he could show one of his strongest point, that is the calculation. Now returning to the position of the diagram we can see that black have something similar to a "too far past pawn" and after the elimination of the pawns of the kingside black arrive first into the queenside to take white pawns. For their part, white aspirate to achieve a drawn and for this only have two serious candidates: 1.a3 or 1.a4, since 1.f6 + loses valuable time and white is totally lost (again I encourage you to check this blindly) and 1. Kg4 is the same.Exercise: Using the comparison method find the move that achieves drawn.


In short, the comparison method to calculate is used, when we have to make a decision in the present, that will get us to the same final position with a small difference depending on which move we choose, then we directly put ourselves in the final position and we ask ourselves: What do I prefer in this position? And based on that we decided to play. So, it may seem like an insignificant detail when we’re analyzing, but chess is full of details, and as the great Sherlock Holmes would say, " It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important". It’s not this, my dear Watson?