How well do you predict your opponent's moves?


Here's a question for the better players: can you generally predict what your opponent will do in a game, at least within a small set of 2-3 moves? Or do you quite often find yourself completely surprised?  I'm not talking about obvious queen swap takebacks here, or the first 4 moves of the Ruy Lopez. I'm thinking that, when I play a correspondence game, in the middle or endgames, I *should* be able to predict the 2-3 best candidate moves of my opponent and plan responses. But I very frequently find myself either with absolutely no clue what he will probably do next, or else I find myself totally blindedsided by him taking the game in a totally unexpected direction. I'm curious if this is because I'mstill  relatively new at this, or if this is really a characterstic of the game in general.


Don't take my rating as an indicator - I haven't played here a lot, it always is laggy to me (slow computer)


How did you select the candidate moves? Usually, you should look for both your plans and your opponent plans - do you know what he is planning? Can you see any weaknesses in your position (e.g. backward pawns that can be attacked) or does he have an advantage there (e.g. you have your pieces on the other side of the board and will take too long to reach the threatened side)? Is he trying to undermine something?

Either that, or they think up of some complex strategy that involves some fancy piece pushing. Or they are not playing the right moves. Chess, however, is an unpredictable game - if it was predictable, it'd be solved by now. Since you're playing correspondence, there is a LOT of time for players to find and formulate a plan, or moves. Always keep yours in mind, and try to guess their plans. Don't just ask their next move, ask their game plan.


I'm not a strong player, but I have read statements from strong players who says:

If you are surprised by a opponents move, and if the move is good, you have a bad thought process!

But I suppose if you are playing a much stronger player you will be surprised all the time! Wink

But in general, being surprised by a move is NOT a good sign. I you are lucky (!) you will able to answer the opponents move. if not, you maybe loose the game.


When I play someone the closer our ratings and style the more I'll guess the move correctly, especially within a 2-3 range of moves.

One of the great things about chess is, no matter who you are you're going to get surprised by some moves now and then (at least!).


being on the initiative or tempo on governed and ungoverned squares is a priority for every analysis of move with top priority always for a sheltered king. indicators of a  good position must be seen upon making a good move and all moves must  beseen so as to  to avoid blunder. the intimate relation  essence must be taken to its proper objective of pieces all over the board whether horizontally and vertically, for a nice opening, middlegamegame and proper ending.


I try to pick the best moves that my opponent might make against my moves.

It's not until you have played someone a few times and gone over their games that you can start to get a feel for the style of player they are in my opinion. So yes sometimes i do.


Remember Kotov's anecdote in Think Like a GM: The bunch of GMs who were making book on the next move of a GM game, and it took quite a while before anyone collected?


In 1 min game, you cant think too deep.


you can predict your opponent moves by seeing it all.never fail to see his options and development as they happen. a quiet move is an indicator of sound positioning in the progression of moves. a pawn cannot return when it is move not unlike officers who can return at will when not obstructed horizontals and diagonal are there for you to see well and analyzed to your benefit of strenghtening or softening. governed squares and ungoverned squares are interesting points to  analyed for their participation as strong points.


These are all interesting observations. I suppose I have a mental picture in my mind of how GM's play: they see everything, and each move their opponent makes will have been one of the moves they've already considered. The winning or losing of a game will, for the most part, be a result of realizing that one of the lines you thought was good for you was, in fact, not so good after a dozen moves or so. Occasionally, GM #1 will surprise GM #2 with a killer sacrifice or a new tangent, but not that often.

I find myself playing mostly in the surprise zone, and much less often in the predicted zone, than I would like to. So I'm wondering if there is a slow but steady progression to this style of play as you improve, or whether this is even a realistic picture of how stronger players play.


I've asked myself the same question.  It's interesting to read the responses on this blog.  I find myself playing mostly in the how-did-I-not-see-that??!! zone.  I don't seem to be able to string two games together without a major blunder.  Anyone know of a cure?  


I can predict them very well, it's my own moves that I am totally in the dark about.