Steps to Improvement: Mind reading your opponent's ideas

Steps to Improvement: Mind reading your opponent's ideas

NM linlaoda
Sep 9, 2016, 7:17 PM |

When calculating, it is very natural to want to just look at the obvious move and be done with it. I find among my students that they tend to do this especially when training tactics. However, this makes you susceptible to being surprised by your opponent's response. How often have you lost games because your opponent plays a move which you totally did not see coming? This is something we all must work on as it is a strong barrier to improvement.

Consider the following position. The first move is very obvious - but can you spot White's best defense? Spend ~20-30 minutes to completely understand the position. White has a very real counterattack idea which may or may not work, but you must figure it out.









Let's now compare your solution with a potential result:

I hope the message is clear: Work hard to figure out your opponent's potential ideas - you never know if there's anything sneaky under the surface unless you force yourself to look!