Deferred pawn captures, pressuring open files, moving the king to a safe square are some of the topics we in this edition of Solve chess tactics Vol. 3. The problems were played on Lichess.org. I maintain that solving ten tactical problems a day will keep your chess mind sharp . So watch the video. Try and solve the problems with me. If you get stuck, pause the video and try to solve the problem.
Tactics training leads to better chess. The ability to see the board many moves ahead is what separates weak amateurs from strong amateurs. Always remember to look at what your opponent is planning to do first. Sit on your hands. Make your move but only after you’ve assured yourself that it makes sense. Try not to guess. Ask yourself, “What does my move do to the position?” Click the video below and solve the problems with me. How did you do? Post comments below!
Lessons learned from this video
Pressuring open files
Sometimes building up pressure on the g-file is enough. Qg5 was the right move because it built up an attack on the g-file which quickly led to a shift in piece play to the h-file. Nimzowitsch said, “The threat is greater than the execution.” That’s because the build up of a threat is often more concerning than the ability to execute it.
Deferred pawn capture
One problem I faced in this video was a simple knight move to win a pawn. I got the problem wrong. Not because it was the wrong idea but because I went to the wrong square. A deferred pawn capture can be the difference between winning and drawing.
Watch for hanging pieces
Players below 2200 ELO have a tendency to hang pieces, particularly in blitz chess. And not always when they are in time trouble. Often times, I will be playing a 1900 player on Lichess who is putting up a very tough fight. Suddenly, he doesn’t see a queen check that loses his rook piece. Be on the lookout for that!
When you’re in check — move your king
Many chess players (myself included) have a blindspot when it comes to playing forced moves. They seem so simple. We spend a lot of time over-calculating move orders. When our king is in check, we just move it to the nearest safe square. We don’t often take note of what is in store for us. In one my problems, I had the chance to move my king to three squares. I chose the right one because I worked through all the possible checks and realized Kg1 was winning. When you’re in check, avoid random king moves. Calculate what your opponent will do to you after you move your king.
Tactical shots can sometimes appear out of the blue. You make one dubious move and suddenly your opponent sacrifices a piece and threatens to mate your king. Good players don’t just stumble upon tactics, they create them. By playing strong, creative moves a position becomes fertile ground for tactical play. In my first example above, playing Qg5 wasn’t in itself obvious to me but I knew it was a strong move. After I played it, I saw the continuation a few moves later.
The biggest takeaway for me during this video was the deferred pawn capture. Threatening to take a pawn can sometimes only work if you are threatening it from the right square!
The YouTube video was not edited to show my thought process in real time. For future videos, I might consider speeding things up to cover more problems and get through the problems faster.
What is your experience with tactics training on LiChess? Are you for or against it? There are other online chess playing sites that offers tactics training: chess.com, chesstempo and many others.
Please add your comments below.