04 October, 2017

Tactics : White to Play

Although I wonder about the direct link between training tactics, and actual improvement over the board, not having the time ( or direct experience)  to perform a controlled self-experiment to check this, I can go only by impression and feeling.

Using these, I feel the biggest improvement is in my behaviour at the board. 

Generally, I take more time to look around it board before I move, and try to check more often if tactics are present.  

This doesn't mean that I always "see" the tactics on the board, but I feel sure it helps my game overall.

Sometimes, though, my mind deceives me

It sees a solution, and something clicks that overrides the trigger to check again, resulting in a poor move.

For example, in this Chess Tempo problem below, I saw what had to be the solution, as I was looking for checkmate. 

37.a4   Black to play

I played and was wrong, the solution was about winning material ( so if you already thought 37...Nc5, intending Nd3 to cover the King's escape square, just re-think that ! )

Maybe my chess mind is still in its 'romantic 19th Century style' for a lot of the time and wants flamboyant and crowd-pleasing checkmates, rather than steady modern moves gaining material or positional advantage ? Who knows.

I can take some small comfort in the fact that 4500 others ( a third of the attempts ) made the same mistake on the above problem, but it doesn't help that much, and that comforting 'all-failures-together' feeling lasts even less.

Below is a rapid game played recently. 

My play had been to focus along the d-file ( in fact aiming at the d8 square) and also re-position pieces that were preventing this.

When Black played the natural 19...Rd8, my tactic-sense spotted what proved to be a resign-provoking move ! 

Not too hard to see, but good to spot it, and even better to play it !

White to play