a mental check list to prevent tunnel vision


hello to all. I am just getting into chess and it is alot of fun. I lose alot but that is ok because i have fun playing the game. But i think that I am just a little bit better than I show. I suffer from "tunnel vision"! you know, when whatever move your opponet makes has no effect whatsoever on what I was going to do. I just go on my way, when BAM! now I am losing. How? It is all because I didn't look at what my opponet did. so I need to make a mental checklist of things to do before I make my next move. I was thinking of something like this...

1.) what dose the moved piece attack?

2.) what can the moved piece attack in the near future?

3.) dose the movement "discover" an attack? In the future?

4.) Is the piece "hanging"? if so should i take it?

5.) can I "fork","pin", or "skewer" anything? Can he?

do you suffer from "tunnel vision"? would you add anything to this list? Stress importantce on one or the other?

In general, Am I missing something?


Often times I end up focusing on the piece that has moved instead of the rest of the board. I like to check things off as follows.


Can I pin anything to a stronger piece?

Can I open the center somehow?

Can I set up a discovered attack on the king?


The I look at specific pieces.

Diagonals for bishops

Files for Rooks.

And tricky forks with my knight.

Also I like to find ways to connect my knights.


Pretty beginner stuff, but then I am a beginner :)




i just look for all checks and captures. then i look for unprotected pieces that i can take advantage of. then i form a plan


I've learned from this topic.


What I usually do is to try to see how the position has deviated from a familiar position, and to adjust accordingly.


I 2 from time to time find myself making a move only later to find myself in a bad position. I don;t suffer from tunnel vision although when it comes to chess i find myself engaged in tunnel vision, meaning i tend to only look at my moves without also considering my opponents move. Its a bad habit that i work hard on trying to break.


Sometimes I fall in love with a plan even after it has been countered. If my plan doesn't work my pieces are all in the wrong positions so I stick to my plan.
Sometimes it works out because my opponent is expecting a change in strategy. He gets caught off-guard because I've only modified the original plan. Other times sticking to my plan just makes me lose faster. Then there are times I forget to go through the check list. That gets me in trouble too. I guess that's why my rating hasn't gone up much. I'm still making beginner mistakes.Frown


I often see an amazing line and even when my opponent doesn't follow his part I will still play the line and end up in a bad position. But most of my games I am able to turn around anyway and win as my online rating is still pretty low

kyten44 wrote:

1.) what dose the moved piece attack?

2.) what can the moved piece attack in the near future?

3.) dose the movement "discover" an attack? In the future?

4.) Is the piece "hanging"? if so should i take it?

5.) can I "fork","pin", or "skewer" anything? Can he?

 would you add anything to this list?

6) Did the moved piece used to be protecting something, before it moved, but left it exposed when it moved away?

From one 1200-1400 player to another, yes. It affects us all (at all rating levels).

And the difference in playing with and without tunnel-vision is worth at least 100 pts of the 200 pt range most of us struggle with.

Think about it. If you played against yourself how often would your rational twin beat your tunnel-visioned twin? 2:1? 3:1? 4:1? You might lose on time to outsmart yourself 5:1 but the difference in using the clock to “think outside the tunnel” is imho worth a good 150 pts. That’s the lion’s share of difference between our best and worst play, I think: just paying attention.

The questions you ask yourself are a good start, and typical for our level. We know how to play good chess. We understand most of the things masters teach, even if we struggle to execute under time pressure against a real opponent.

The answers we read in this thread are all gold. I’m not going to add any more to the requested “checklist” because they have already been said. The important thing, after all the books we’ve read, games we’ve lost, lists we’ve made is this: PAY ATTENTION!

If we use the allotted time to think about both sides of the board, we will improve by 100-200 points. If we continue to pay attention to the entire board, our new stronger opponents will be our new teachers. And again, we will need to pay attention if we have any hope of recalling these new lessons under time pressure for the next round of improvement.
Jesus Christ, who bumped an 11 year old thread? It’s a good question, but wow. Somebody was digging deep.