Get better at spotting and correctly solving tactics is key to chess mastery!
Tactics are dynamic opportunities which occur during the game, and they can lead to a better or even winning position!
Chess consists of strategy and tactics. Here is a video on creating strategic plans in the middlegame:
Tactics or combinations almost always require calculation to complete successfully. I didn’t go into too much detail in this video, but here is a video specifically on how to improve your chess calculation:
The best way to improve your tactical skills is to practice. There is no way around this part. Solve as many tactical problems as possible. This will make you sharper, better at calculation and better at spotting tactical opportunities during a real game.
Since there is a huge difference between looking at a chess book which says: “White to play and win.”, and sitting over the board where you have no idea there is a possibility for a tactic, I have written down several elements which might signify a presence of a combination:
– an unsafe or exposed king
– a harmonious constellation of your pieces around the opponent’s king
– your opponent’s undeveloped pieces or pieces on the opposite side of the board, away from the king
– a weak back rank and a king with no escape square
– open diagonals towards the opponent’s king
– pinned pieces
– a strong minor piece in your opponent’s position – most often a knight which can provide tremendous attacking support
– passed pawns on the 6th or 7th rank
– pieces fulfilling multiple roles – overworked pieces
– when you have a double check available
– when you have a move which makes two threats
To play a tactic successfully you have to spot it, but you also have to evaluate the end position of a tactic – what is it that you are getting in return for your sacrifice or attack? You have to evaluate the final position correctly. This can be achieved by practicing. Always do it without moving the pieces, like in a real game.
Common problems people have are forgetting that the piece they are counting on in their head was sacrificed already, or wasting too much time, or forgetting about one of the answers your opponent has. All of these problems could lead to losing positions, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go for it if you see a tactical move! Practice will reduce the number of your mistakes. Play confidently and ferociously! If you think a sacrifice exists, play it! It’s good to be certain, of course, but more often than not it will be worth the risk. Good luck sacrificing those queens!
If you would like to support the channel and my quest to chess improvement, you can donate here:
Any support is greatly appreciated! Thank you!