# Would you look for mate, if tactics to win materials are easier to spot?

I'm black, I defeated a 1830 very easily in a 11 + 10 game and I had plenty of time, but I played fast and didn't see mate, he was low on time. Analyzing with lichess engine

``````[fen "2k2r2/ppp5/7p/3Pp1p1/3n4/2PPK1B1/Pq4PP/R3R3 b - - 0 1"]

1... Nc2 (1...Rf4!)
``````

The engine suggested Rf4 and mate in 3, I played Nc2. And here

``````[fen "2k2r2/ppp5/7p/3Pp1p1/4K3/2PP2B1/Pqn3PP/R3R3 b - - 0 1"]

1... Nxa1 (1...Qb6!)
``````

I missed Qb6, mate in 4 and played Nxa1. Again I had plenty of time on the clock, around 10 minutes, the opponent was so easy to beat, but that's not the point, the point is I missed mate twice, I just wasn't looking for it.

Now that I look at it, I think I would never play Rf4, Yes the king is trapped but there's so much material on the board to take, I don't think I would have analyzed the Rf4 line, not in this life, nor the next one.

When faced with such winning positions, in a blitz match, do you go for materials or do you stop and analyze possible mating lines? I just want to know if I'm being a humain or am I not seeing those lines because I'm weak or careless.

if I'm in losing position or equal position, I analyze many lines trying to win, but games like these I try to simplify and reach a simple endgame.

• In blitz, always go for the material. Leave complex calculations for slow games. So in my opinion I think you did well as I would do the same. Just my 2 cents... Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 17:37
• For us humans simplicity is the key. Computers will chose the best line, humans a sure win. Even in a standard (90+30) game if I can transition to a won pawn endgame I do not bother myself with complex calculations. On the other hand an engine will find hidden tactics in lots of your games, don't worry about that. Commented Apr 5, 2016 at 23:19

It makes no difference whether you deliver mate in 3, mate in 33 or your opponent resigns. On the score sheet and the tournament results you get the same score: 1-0. If you see a clear win then play it. Don't waste time looking for a "better" win. There is no such thing unless you are in a hurry to catch the last bus home.

Fixating about what the computer says in such positions is just silly. This is not just my opinion it is also shared by top players. I am currently reading Boris Gelfand's "Positional Decision Making in Chess" and he expresses this view in the book in positions where he is pursuing a positional winning plan and the computer analysis points out a quicker tactical win.

In a fast time control I look to win. Mate is one way to win, but if it uses up time then I would take the easier faster way to win.

OTB I would spend some time looking for a mate but would not obsess about it if there were an obvious sure winning line.

Better to spend time training tactics and mates and combinations off the clock so next time mate will be easier to spot.

“When you see a good move, look for a better one”.