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# How Can I Calculate Better?

• #1

I've been wanting to calculate better, because I have lost a couple games from miscalculation and it was only 4-5 moves ahead. How can I improve my ability to visualize the board and calculate?

• #2

No offense, but...Im going to use this game as an example.

https://www.chess.com/livechess/game?id=2272452538

Trying to calculate 4-5 moves ahead cant be done, when your getting mated in 5-6 moves, youre hanging pieces, missing simple tactics, arent following opening principles.

Work on the basics, before trying to calculate deeper than youre capable, or need to.

• #3
IMBacon wrote:

No offense, but...Im going to use this game as an example.

Trying to calculate 4-5 moves ahead cant be done, when your getting mated in 5-6 moves, youre hanging pieces, missing simple tactics, arent following opening principles.

Work on the basics, before trying to calculate deeper than youre capable, or need to.

Are you not aware that the game was a bullet game, and I was over using the premoves.  Only an idiot analyzes bullet games.

• #4

It's not rocket science really, do daily tactics training.

• #5
Ashton_Yeager wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

No offense, but...Im going to use this game as an example.

Trying to calculate 4-5 moves ahead cant be done, when your getting mated in 5-6 moves, youre hanging pieces, missing simple tactics, arent following opening principles.

Work on the basics, before trying to calculate deeper than youre capable, or need to.

Are you not aware that the game was a bullet game, and I was over using the premoves.  Only an idiot analyzes bullet games.

How about this one then...It was a 3 day per move game, and you lost in 11 moves.

https://www.chess.com/echess/game?id=172362630

Again...

You had 3 days per move.  That is plenty of time to see 4-5 moves ahead, and you missed so much that you shouldnt have.  Youre trying to put the cart before the horse.  Stop with this "I need to calculate 4-5 moves ahead" stuff.  That is beyond your ability at this point, and isnt even always applicable.  Work on the basics: tactics...tactics...tactics...Opening principles.  Double check your moves.  Ask yourself after your opponent moves: "what is my opponent trying to do?"

• #6
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Also look for Forcing Moves: Checks, Captures, Threats first!

• #7

Winning Chess by Irving Chernev and Fred Reinfeld (1949)
https://web.archive.org/web/20140708093415/http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review919.pdf

• #8

Aagaards books are to advanced for the ops level. Listen to the plate of bacon.

• #9
DontMateMeBrah wrote:

Aagaards books are to advanced for the ops level. Listen to the plate of bacon.

I understand its wishful thinking, but i do wish people would take a look at OP's games before just throwing out generic advice.

• #10

here's one of your rapid games (thirty minutes)

• #11
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• #12
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Sorry but I think whilst the Aagard books are great I would certainly not recommend someone with a 1400 rating read them.

• #13
GeorgeUjiembo wrote:
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Sorry but I think whilst the Aagard books are great I would certainly not recommend someone with a 1400 rating read them.

I have 1700 OTB. Do you think Aagaard GM series is appropriate for me?

• #14
• #15
uri65 wrote:
GeorgeUjiembo wrote:
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Sorry but I think whilst the Aagard books are great I would certainly not recommend someone with a 1400 rating read them.

I have 1700 OTB. Do you think Aagaard GM series is appropriate for me?

It might still be a bit above your ability, but if you want to give it a try go ahead.  Seirawans books would be more rating appropriate.

• #16
[COMMENT DELETED]
• #17
Ashton_Yeager wrote:
IMBacon wrote:

No offense, but...Im going to use this game as an example.

Trying to calculate 4-5 moves ahead cant be done, when your getting mated in 5-6 moves, youre hanging pieces, missing simple tactics, arent following opening principles.

Work on the basics, before trying to calculate deeper than youre capable, or need to.

Are you not aware that the game was a bullet game, and I was over using the premoves.  Only an idiot analyzes bullet games.

I wouldn't say that analyzing bullet games is useless, you shouldn't take them too seriously but if the player is fairly lower rated than you, you can spot tactical/strategical mistake that he did without even knowing, I analyze quite often (with the site analysis) 3 minutes games to look where did I got wrong or where I got stucked without good ideas.

E.G.: if you don't know that is bad excahing a knight for a bad bishop you may do it regardless of the fact that's a bullet game.

if you know you're overusing premoves why are you doing it?

try to be a little more humble won't hurt, does it?

my 2 cents: I agree with IMbacon, try to start from basics and look how to develop your pieces and manage the center, combination and tactical chances will arise once your pieces are coordinated and active, if your pieces are misplaced you may simply have not tactical chances.

• #18
IMBacon wrote:
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Also look for Forcing Moves: Checks, Captures, Threats first!

While I completely agree with your sentiment here, the phrase "checks, captures, and threats" is like nails on a chalkboard.

Checks and captures are threats.

When evaluating tactics, moves have 6 threat "levels"

1. Checks
2. Checkmate threats
3. Captures
4. Capture Threats
5. Positional
6. Developing

Level 5 and 6 are strategic threats (and only used when there is nothing winning in levels 1-4).  You find candidate moves by looking at the most forcing lines first (start at level 1 and move down).  Note that you do not just play a CM you find at level 1!  You still check level 2, 3, and 4, as there may be a way to win more material.  For example, if you have a check that allows you to win a pawn, but a checkmate threat that allows you to win an exchange, and a capture that lets you win a piece, you would play the level 3 move.

• #19
BobbyTalparov wrote:
IMBacon wrote:
dimis283 wrote:

Reading tactics is the way to be better calculating.
Also you can read the series of Aagard books (GM preparation)

Also look for Forcing Moves: Checks, Captures, Threats first!

While I completely agree with your sentiment here, the phrase "checks, captures, and threats" is like nails on a chalkboard.

Checks and captures are threats.

When evaluating tactics, moves have 6 threat "levels"

Checks Checkmate threats Captures Capture Threats Positional Developing

Level 5 and 6 are strategic threats (and only used when there is nothing winning in levels 1-4).  You find candidate moves by looking at the most forcing lines first (start at level 1 and move down).  Note that you do not just play a CM you find at level 1!  You still check level 2, 3, and 4, as there may be a way to win more material.  For example, if you have a check that allows you to win a pawn, but a checkmate threat that allows you to win an exchange, and a capture that lets you win a piece, you would play the level 3 move.

Checks are the most forcing of forcing moves.

Captures the nest most forcing.

And then Threats.

I have honestly never heard of your 6 steps.  And a couple seem redundant.  I say this because some forcing lines lead to check mate, some lead to a positional/strategic advantage, and some lead to a lead in development (Dynamic advantage)

• #20
IMBacon wrote:

Checks are the most forcing of forcing moves.

Captures the nest most forcing.

And then Threats.

I have honestly never heard of your 6 steps.  And a couple seem redundant.  I say this because some forcing lines lead to check mate, some lead to a positional/strategic advantage, and some lead to a lead in development (Dynamic advantage)

That is why checks are level 1

But no, captures are not the second most forcing.  The second most forcing is a checkmate threat (as, like a check, it forces the opponent to handle it).

The problem with "checks, captures, and threats" is that it is like "You win a football game by scoring, preventing your opponent from scoring, and winning".

It is not 6-steps, but 6 levels or categories (in order of forcing magnitude).  It is basically a summary of "Forcing Chess Moves:  The Key to Better Calculation" by Charles Hertan (though, it is apparently fairly well known to strong IMs and GMs as it was taught to me by an IM coach and a GM coach well before that book was released).

You use it like a checklist:  What are my checks?  Do any of them lead to any advantage for me?  What are my checkmate threats?  Do any of those lead to an advantage for me?  What are my captures?  Do any of those lead to an advantage for me?  What are my capture threats?  Do any of those lead to an advantage for me?  (levels 5 and 6 can be ignored from a tactical perspective - that is when you get into strategic concerns:  what is my worst piece and how can I improve it?  what pieces do I have yet to develop?  etc)  When you have your Candidate moves, you then decide which gives you the best advantage and is the most forcing (as in the example from #19)

An example from a game I played at the US Open:

Here, the checklist works like this:

1. Nd4+, Ng5+, Rxd6+ are the most forcing moves (checks).  Nd4 and Ng5 lose because pawns can take the piece.  Rxd6 loses because because black can win an exchange with either Rxd6 or cxd6.
2. If white's queen were teleported to d5, it would be mate.  So, white can threaten Qd5# by playing Qc5.  This forces black to respond (anything that does not guard d5 or get the king off the diagonal will result in mate), but also wins a piece for white.
3. The only capture (other than Rxd6 which has already been evaluated) is Nxe5, which simply loses a piece.
4. There are a couple other capture threats (other than Qc5):  c4, a4.  c4 just hands a pawn.  a4 brings the a1-rook into the game.
5. Since there are tactically winning moves, there is no reason to continue with levels 5 and 6.

Having considered no more than 7 moves (and dismissing 5 of them almost instantly), you easily see that Qc5 is winning (and is the best move).

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