Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Find ideas, not moves

Too often we see how people discuss positions in terms of moves. But what is left out are the actual ideas behind the moves. A knight can move to f5 for several different reasons. It can plan Qd1-g4xg7 checkmate or it can plan Qd1-g4 and Nf5-h6+. Of course such a classical idea as getting the knight to f5 does not need a lot of explanation. But in the ideal case, the ideas should guide the moves, and even if the idea is discovered after you find the move, it is the idea that makes the move strong.

Try to find ideas, not just individual moves. And try to analyze both found and missed ideas after the game. Try to say more than "Bg5 looks good" try to expand it "Bg5 looks good because the idea is to go to f6 and weaken the kingside". Then you shall also notice that sometimes you are wrong. "No, Bg5 is good because it can go to d6 via e7 and keep the black king from entering the center". You shall clearly see if your ideas are good or bad because you will open them for others to praise and criticize. And building the habit of finding ideas will definitely make you a more broad and complete chess player.