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I'm a bit of a perfectionist and strive to make the best move every game. As a result I think I expend too much brain power throughout the game and get burned out or overwhelmed by the possibilites, for example in the opening I would try consider all my opponents responses of which there are many in the opening, sometimes I feel habits such as these are unnecessary and are just a waste of energy. What is the most correct way to expend your mental energy in a chess game?

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    My short answer is: don't worry too much about what you're missing. That is not an effective use of brain power. You can't defend against what you don't know. Accept that there will be a learning experience. Also, you may find that some responses might be wrong even if you can't refute them right away e.g. 1. e4 a5 and now 2. d4 makes sense even if you can't see the win. – aschultz Apr 26 '17 at 16:59
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When you learn an opening you learn sequences of moves and the ideas behind those moves. If your opponent follows "book" then you don't have too much to think about. Probably just "Which variation am I going to play today? Am I feeling like a quiet strategic game or a wild tactical game?"

If your opponent plays a move you are not familiar with then there are two questions and two situations to cover.

1) You are playing a sharp, tactical opening where there are lots of threats and he didn't counter your threat and isn't counter threatening anything. In that case carry out your threat!

2) You are playing a quieter opening in which you are both just developing your pieces. In that case, after checking for threats, ask yourself if his move stops you developing the way you wanted. If it doesn't then carry on. If it does then work out how you now need to develop the rest of your pieces.

In the middlegame it is a bit different. When it is your turn you do need to calculate what you evaluate are your opponent's best replies.

When it is your opponent's turn it depends how many good looking possibilities he has. If it looks like just one or two forced or "best" replies then stay in your seat and calculate those. If it is a complicated position with lots of equally likely looking possibilities then either take a step back and look at the position from a long term strategical point of view or save your energy, go get a cup of coffee or glass of water or relax looking at other games whilst keeping half an eye on whether your opponent has moved yet.

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So, it sounds to me you want a reliable thinking method for chess.

Karpov's 7 Timeless Reference Points:

  1. Material relationship between the forces;
  2. Presence of opponent's direct threats;
  3. Position of the kings, their safety;
  4. Possession of open lines;
  5. Pawn Structure, weak and strong squares;
  6. The centre and space;
  7. Development and the position of pieces.

Most of these "assessments" can be done quickly, and point you to the moves (candidates) you should consider. Only then do you begin to look at concrete variations to come up with your "best" move.

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The more efficient thinking process is definitely not to take too much time on the chess board during a Tournament Game .

Openings you need to choose by yourself and there are lines till 20th moves where you need to remember and that is absolutely up to you .

  • In the middle game you need to find out always Opponent's which piece is crossing half of the board .
  • You might need to find out the Opponent's most aggressive reply .
  • When you are getting attacked "Always thing that Counterattack is the best defence.
  • When you do not have a plan in the middle game always try capturing the centre squares . This will always help you to attack on any part of the board .
  • Plus you sometimes need to sac material to gain activity on any part of the board .

Above are some of the examples that you need to follow to have the best of the thinking .

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