I would say Chess players have the biggest egos. When we make a mistake, it's a reflection of our shortcomings. I'm trying to foster an attitude that recognising my short comings is a positve to improve myself. It's very hard to accept we have short comings. I admit there are some games I have lost, I haven't wanted to think about for over ten years.
One of my chess blind spots is failing to spot retreating moves. Somehow we're hard wired to go forward, particularly with long range pieces.
In my tactical training today I came across this position in Blokh's Combinational Motives.
See if you can solve the following
Blokh's Combinational Motives
Diagram 775: Difficulty 2 Black to Move
I had only considered 1. ... Nc3+ 2. bc Rb8 pinning the Queen. I had also seen 1. ... Nc3+ 2. Kc1 Qg1+ 3. Kd2 Qd1 mate.
However, there was a big hole in my calculation. I had missed 1. ... Nc3+ 2. Kc1 Qg1+ 3. Rf1. I had missed this retreating move by the Rook.
Why did I miss 3. Rf1?
I have to ask myself honestly why I missed this move
* Pscyhologically after 1. ... Nc3+ 2. Kc1 and the King is forced to move. I'm conditioned that the King has to move. So when I give another check, I believe my psyche was set to believe the King had to move again. I have to guard against this pattern of behavior (making assumptions).
* Had White's Rook been on f3 instead of f5, I believe I would have spotted the retreating defence of Rf1. It's just two squares, but it means so much. Psychologically for me, a piece beyond the 5th rank is associated with the attack. A piece that hasn't crossed that centre line is associated with defence. A Rook on f5, I believe psychologically I don't associate with retreating. But yet a Rook on f3 I would subconciously see as being able to retreat.
* Being drawn to an attractive line, psychologically some players must want it to work. They'll analyse to subconciously "make" the opponent cooperate with their analysis and not find the best defence for their opponent. I would like to hear from players how they foster to be critical of their candidate moves. How do they strive to find holes in their analysis.
* Once more it's proven to me how crucial it is to at least consider all candidate moves, of which would be 1. ... Nc3+, 1. ... Qh1+ and 1. ... Qg1+. A bigger danger is that you start with 1. ... Nc3+ make a calculation mistake and think it's correct and never bother looking at the other two moves as you are blinded by your first choice.
* An important feature of the position that I didn't acknowledge is the undefended state of White's Queen. Additionally, I didn't note the discovered attack I could set up on the White Queen along the h1-a8 diagonal. I really like the Fritz trainer tactical feature to click all undefended pieces, pieces that can be captured and pieces that can give check. I was blinded purely by the pin along the b-file.