Finding Good Moves

There are many books written on finding right move or best move that also have a huge amount of analysis As these just bounce off the amateur’s head how, as a chess coach, can you guide them in finding good moves? Here I use the word ‘good’ as often on the chess board it is not possible to find the best moves. There are limitations imposed by thinking time constraint and a limitation of one’s knowledge. So I will try to recapitulate a few points which might help you in finding reasonably good moves.

1.Tactical awareness: One can not dream about achieving some kind of positional advantage if it’s going to be checkmate in a few moves. And whilst it is also not possible to calculate everything on the board one can become aware of tactical possibilities by just glancing at hanging pieces, checks, possibilities of giving checks, captures and the pawn structure around the king. For example in the following position 1. Rxf6 is not important but spotting the vulnerability of the rook on b8 is. So I always ask my students to take look at hanging pieces, checks and captures.

2.Pawn levers: This is perhaps the most vital thing to consider while looking for a good move as without considering levers you won’t be able to place your pieces on right squares or lines. For example while playing the Queen’s Gambit Declined you must prepare the …c5 break to free your position. Many times pawn levers are very helpful in activating your pieces.
Here is an example taken from Hans Kmoch’s Pawn Power in Chess.

3.Forcing moves are not always good: Of amateurs look for a forcing move on every move without the position justifying it! Often the right thing to do is to improve the position of your pieces, shield weaknesses and regroup pieces.

4.Sometimes you have to create a weakness in your own position: Chess often features an exchange of advantages where you have to offer something in order to get something. The most important thing is that you get more than you give, for example accepting an isolated pawn will often give you more than enough in compensating advantages.

I write those points after some brain storming. It would be great if you can add something more by commenting at the The Chess Improver page on Facebook.

Ashvin Chauhan