Learning... "process"

Jun 2, 2010, 10:22 PM |

This is the fourth time I've analyzed this game in the last two nights—and it is still embarrassing.  Everyone misses moves, but this game shows two "misses" that should never happen. Ever! I can not expect to improve unless I can learn a "process" to follow every single move.

Chess teacher NM Dan Heisman in "A Generic Thought Process" (part of his Novice Nook column on chesscafe.com)  gives a set of five simple steps a player should go through for every move.

  1. I write down my opponent’s move on my scoresheet. Staring at it before doing so is not going to be productive. I might also record how much time my opponent has on his clock.
  2. I ask myself, “Is that move legal?” If not, then there is a certain algorithm I must use which is beyond the scope of this article. If legal, then I continue...
  3. I ask myself “Am I in check?” If so, that really limits my thought process, but it will be more interesting if I assume not, so if not...
  4. I ask myself, “Can I mate him with any forced sequence of checks?” If so, then I really don’t care much what he now threatens, but in this roughly equal middlegame with a slight advantage the answer is going to be no, so... 
  5. I look at my opponent’s move and ask, “What does that move do?”, “How does it change the position?”, “What can he do now that he could not do before?”, “What can he no longer do that he could have done before?”, and “How did his move meet the threats I made last move?” In a sense these are all part of the single question as to how my opponent’s move has changed the situation.

If I followed these, I would not have missed what I did in this game.