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# How many moves ahead do you guys usually think? What does it mean exactly?

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I have read interesting facts that say skilled chess players think multiple moves ahead, with some grandmasters even thinking over 10-20 moves ahead, which sounds insane.

I am a bit confused as to what thinking moves ahead mean? Like, do you think you own future moves ahead, or your opponents or both?

I would guess that in order to think what future moves ahead you will make, it would depend on the opponents moves? In that case, how is that even possible, since theres literally hundreds, even thousands of moves/combinations that can be made over the next few rounds.

Or does the person make an assumption on what move the opponent will make, and then think of a move in response and so on

An example is calculating a pawn push that leads to an exchange that allows you to reroute a piece. Pawn push is 1 move the exchange may be 3 moves and the reroute could be another 2, so as long as you account for the variations of the exchange that would be "thinking" 6 moves ahead grandmasters just do something similar to this but at a way higher level and much further depth

GM's don't think 10-20 moves ahead lol, where did you read that?

neatgreatfire wrote:

GM's don't think 10-20 moves ahead lol, where did you read that?

Not really sure if accurate sources but

"And it’s common knowledge and grandmasters can see many moves ahead, as many as 15 to 20 moves ahead if given enough time and entirely accurate as well."

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/how-many-moves-a-gm-can-think

"If we talk in general, they can think around 10–15 moves ahead in normal positions."

Is it really possible to think 15-20 moves ahead with 100 percent accuracy? I mean I can't even guess the next move my opponent is gonna make. Let alone calculate my next one

russellrana wrote:

Is it really possible to think 15-20 moves ahead with 100 percent accuracy? I mean I can't even guess the next move my opponent is gonna make. Let alone calculate my next one

Thats what i was thinking. Thousands of possible combinations within next few moves. They must be able to read minds

davidkimchi wrote:

I have read interesting facts that say skilled chess players think multiple moves ahead, with some grandmasters even thinking over 10-20 moves ahead, which sounds insane.

I am a bit confused as to what thinking moves ahead mean? Like, do you think you own future moves ahead, or your opponents or both?

I would guess that in order to think what future moves ahead you will make, it would depend on the opponents moves? In that case, how is that even possible, since theres literally hundreds, even thousands of moves/combinations that can be made over the next few rounds.

Or does the person make an assumption on what move the opponent will make, and then think of a move in response and so on

we think of the moves our opponents are most likely to play, and how we reply to it. normally you should see at least 3-4 moves ahead in a 300 rated game

I usually think 2-3 moves ahead when I play against stronger players.

I think as far ahead as my next blunder it seems 😬

"How many moves ahead do you guys usually think?"

Once again you're asking the wrong questions

4-5  If I was playing a GM he would not anticipate some of my moves.  This is of course to my shame. lol

I'm not that good as a chess player (I'm only 1000 points rated), so my opinion is really only usefull in my enviroment. I ususlly think 2 or 3 mooves ahed, but in particular situation (when something is hanging or when a checkmate is near) I think 4 or 5 mooves ahed

A player should identify threats and opportunities in the position and calculate relevant moves ahead to see how they will transform the position. Theres always a certain amount of candidate moves for yourself and your opponent that you need to be aware of. You'll always miss a certain amount of stuff, thats why we dont play perfect chess. Not everything can be calculated, its a balance between intuition and pure calculation to "see in the future".

Sometimes there are forcing lines where a player has to calculate 15 moves ahead to be sure which option to go for.

Bobby Fischer was asked the same question on a late night talk show.  His response "paraphrased" was, "If the position is forcing, I can see all the way to the end of the game, 20 moves or more.  If the position is very complicated, I might only be able to calculate 1 or 2 moves. It just depends on the position."

I'm a lowly 1600 Daily player and I've seen and played out forced checkmates 7 moves deep (14 plys).  I don't think that's uncommon, and even if people don't necessarily "calculate" the lines, I'd bet lots of folks have played out lines they knew ended in mate and were deeper than they thought.

It does however take practice.

davidkimchi wrote:

I have read interesting facts that say skilled chess players think multiple moves ahead, with some grandmasters even thinking over 10-20 moves ahead, which sounds insane.

I am a bit confused as to what thinking moves ahead mean? Like, do you think you own future moves ahead, or your opponents or both?

I would guess that in order to think what future moves ahead you will make, it would depend on the opponents moves? In that case, how is that even possible, since theres literally hundreds, even thousands of moves/combinations that can be made over the next few rounds.

Or does the person make an assumption on what move the opponent will make, and then think of a move in response and so on

I rarely (but not never) think more than 5 moves for both sides in a variation. If I am playing a blitz game, I am calculating only forcing stuff and what my knowledge and intuition say are good plans for both sides. Obviously I calculate a lot less in 3+2 games than in 60+0 games. Obviously you are not calculating all the possible variations. That's why people say look at the forcing moves (checks, captures and attacks). You can't calculate 3 moves ahead if you are going to consider every legal move for both sides on each turn.

It really depends. Usually only a couple ply ahead, but when I need to, I calculate maybe 10-15 ply. But I try not to need to, because I'm not the best at looking 10-15 ahead.

davidkimchi wrote:
russellrana wrote:

Is it really possible to think 15-20 moves ahead with 100 percent accuracy? I mean I can't even guess the next move my opponent is gonna make. Let alone calculate my next one

Thats what i was thinking. Thousands of possible combinations within next few moves. They must be able to read minds

That's why you only see forcing moves and other moves that you would consider playing if you were in your opponent's shoes. You also think about what plans you would implement and what you would want to do if you were in your opponent's shoes. If you did a good job and your opponent plays something totally unexpected, that means your opponent hasn't played a good move. You are thinking about what you will do against forcing moves, what you consider to be good moves and good plans.

CrypticPassage wrote:

"How many moves ahead do you guys usually think?"

Once again you're asking the wrong questions

exactly. Sometimes the only thing I calculate is whether I am blundering something.

That is really situational. From 1 to 3 moves usually, up to 5 or 6 if it's forcing. But....I'm not sure that counts, considering how many moves I miss.

In most positions it is either impossible or pointless to try and calculate more than one or two moves ahead. Only in forcing positions, where the opponent has only one or two possible replies that don't lead to an immediate loss, is it both possible and profitable to calculate deeply.

When it comes to calculation, the biggest difference between a Grandmaster and a Pooch is not depth of calculation or accuracy of calculation... it's the intuitive choice of WHEN to calculate and WHICH moves to analyze. Only experience teaches that.