Two and Three Moves Ahead

How far ahead does a chess player think?

This is a very hard question to answer. Many people do lots of study of mate-in-5, or mate-in-6 puzzles. But it is rare for a game to be decided by a forced checkmate.

In the majority of cases, all that is necessary is to see tactics which are only two or three moves deep. If you can see all the tactics in a game that are on that scale, you will rarely be caught out by a combination. However, this does mean concentrating on every move to see if you have overlooked a simple two or three move tactic. With experience, you can sense danger in a position, and get a feeling for when a short tactic might happen.

In this week’s problem, White overlooked a tactic and so I was able to win the game with a short combination which won two pieces for a rook? What did I, playing Black, play?

Steven Carr


Author: Steven Carr

I am 57 years old, and I am trying to improve my standard of play. From 1998 to 2012, I had a break from chess, playing very few games in that period. I now play more competitive chess and I currently have a English grading of 184. I hope to get a grading of over 200 one day. I normally play in the Merseyside League and play Board 1 for Wallasey.