Forcing Chess Moves

Oct 30, 2010, 7:21 AM |

I've been slowly making my way through Charles Hertan's highly acclaimed book "Forcing Chess Moves: A key to better calculation" and must say that his idea of "Computer eyes" has done wonders to my tactics puzzle solving skills and has occasionally made its way into my games.

A forcing move is a move that reduces the opponents' number of possible replies. FM Hertan says you need to find all the forcing moves and calculate them first, without prejudice (like rejecting a move because "it loses material"). Most forcing moves lose outright, but they are far easier to calculate and if they turn out to win, it's usually the simplest and most efficient way to do so.

Another big problem is that most experienced players are able to find forcing moves in the current board position, but not much so when calculating two or three moves ahead. An example:


Analyzing forcing moves first is a tremendous help to accurate tactical (and even strategical) play, especially in correspondence and classical chess. But it has made its way into my blitz play as well:


Can Black take the pawn? (Solution below: you might wanna attempt to solve before scrolling down)


Hope you keep this in mind when calculating. By the way, the book is highly reccomended!