I am a hobby player but I would like to improve my game.

I like to watch annotated games. For instance, I have watched all games of Josh Waitzkin in Chessmaster GM Edition.

Also, I watch games in YouTube as well.

In some variations, I find so said "hard to find" or "advanced" combinations at a glance. The correct move almost shines on the board. In some other variations, on the other hand, I really struggle to find a simple mate-in-one move or a beginner's fork.

What would be the reason behind this behavior of my brain? How can I improve my vision?

2 Answers 2


I think you should do more Tactics training (https://www.chess.com/tactics/) (http://chesstempo.com/chess-tactics.html). Also You should read this

Here's an important segment

There are a few common targets that will help you in finding tactical targets in chess:

1- Hanging (undefended) pieces can be used to gain tempo moves or to win them in tactical combinations.

2- An exposed (unsafe) king is a permanent target that can easily be combined with other threats.

3- The geometrical relation between pieces, in example – pieces on the same diagonal, file or rank.

4- A piece with a very important defensive task can become a target for an attack.

5- A piece with more than once defensive task can become overloaded and exploited.

6- Pieces in attacking positions versus pieces in defending positions have more flexibility and thus more opportunity for tactical maneuvers.

7- A majority of forces in a certain part of the board can outnumber the defenders and create opportunities for a tactics.

8- A piece with severely limited mobility can sometimes be trapped or kept out of the game.


I developed a "single-move tactics" checklist for myself that, when followed, helps with what you are describing. (Of course, it is easy to "forget" to follow it in the heat of battle or during fast-time-control games, but that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile anyway.) I based it on Dan Heisman's mantra of what to analyze: "checks, captures, threats; in that order", with simplification down to a single move (two ply). The gory details are on my blog (post here), but the simplified list is:

0.5 Search for all the below, in order, for both you and your opponent.
1. Mate in one.
2. Give check from a non-attacked square (checking piece cannot be taken).
2.5 Identify loose pieces (pieces not protected by any fellow pieces).
3. Captures of any of opponent's loose pieces.
4. Capture of any piece by a piece of lesser value (consider knights and bishops equal in this step).
5. Attack any of opponent's loose pieces from a non-attacked square (attacking piece cannot be captured).
6. Attack a greater-value piece with a lesser-value piece (knights and bishops equal) from a non-attacked square (attacking piece cannot be captured).
7. Create a passed pawn on a non-attacked square (cannot be captured).
8. A move that threatens mate-in-one on the following move.

Good luck!

As noted in "gory details", but worth mentioning here, is that the "power moves" really come from single moves that combine more than one of the above, such as a move that attacks both a loose piece and a greater-value piece (fork), or a move that captures a loose pawn and also gives check, or a move that threatens mate-in-one and also attacks a loose piece, etc.

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