# First thing to look at...

What's the very first thing, or first couple of things to notice in a chess puzzle?? this includes tactics trainers and such also.

any pro's got some insights? perhaps this might help a few people like myself in terms of changing the thought process.

take care.

Poetboy wrote:

Look for moves with forced responses.  If its a puzzle you know its not going to be a quite positional move that has a number of equally acceptable responses.   Can you check? Can you capture?  Are there possible sacrifices?  Just becuase you loose material on move one don't stop calculating. It may be that on move two or three the who situation changes. I saw a great quote the oher day attributed to Tal where he said when he evaluated a position he began with all the sacrifices that were available to him.

Checks.

Look for moves with forced responses.  If its a puzzle you know its not going to be a quite positional move that has a number of equally acceptable responses.   Can you check? Can you capture?  Are there possible sacrifices?  Just becuase you loose material on move one don't stop calculating. It may be that on move two or three the who situation changes. I saw a great quote the oher day attributed to Tal where he said when he evaluated a position he began with all the sacrifices that were available to him.

Thanks!

those are reasonable ideas. I like the Tal quote.. I think looking for sacrifices is a clever idea. anyone else got interesting quotes like this??

tonydal wrote:
Poetboy wrote:

What in the world does this mean? (it's like writing "stop thinking about sex!").

1.  Check who is to move.

2.  Check the material on the board.  If you are a rook down, that line that wins a piece is not correct.

BQ's was good, check material count and if your side is about to be mated or something.  Usually if you're about to be mated you know every move must be a check.  If you're down a lot of material you need to win that much more (like BQ says, winning one piece is worthless) or you have to find a mate.

So after you get an idea of what you're going to have to do, (win material/mate) I like to find all the opponent's loose pieces (pieces with few defenders or no defenders... also a loose king position).  After that I like to quickly look over the full range of motion of each of my pieces.  This way you're sure to notice that bishop on a2 is hitting h7 or that rook on a3 can help attack on the kingside by sliding across the 3rd rank.

So at that point I usually start to see the general themes or ideas of what's going to need to happen.  (You know which pieces are attackable and which of your pieces can get at them basically).  So all that's left is to calculate, and yes it's good to calculate forcing moves.  Each time you consider a move for yourself think "what's the threat?" and if it has a threat find the opponent's most annoying or frustrating way to deal with it.  As a simple example, if you're looking at a sacrifice, first check if they must accept it... if they can just shift their king over and avoid mate by not accepting your sac, you can cut that line off right away and look for a new move (don't being calculating a line with moves you want to see, make sure your opponent's moves are forced and fighting against what you want to happen).

Like a previous poster said, be careful not to cut off your calculation too soon, give up a line only when you're sure it doesn't work.  This saves time having to re-check and re-check variations until you finally see those extra few moves that make it work.

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trysts wrote:

So, what other plants are banned?

AnthonyCG wrote:
trysts wrote:

So, what other plants are banned?

Some plants are too expensive to look at

I usually look for threats against the kings, then for pins, forks, skewers, etc. Many good puzzles have several of these. That's when I look for forced moves.