I would really like to have that ability.So how to achieve that?

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    I'm posting this answer as a comment because I suppose you really want to know how to achieve this ability. According to the acclaimed chess writer and teacher Jeremy Silman, '[searching for tactics] is usually done subconsciously by players 1800 and up' (How to Reassess your Chess, 4th edition). So it is less about how long you have been playing chess, and more about the rate at which you are improving.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 17:28
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    Also, there is no harm in actively searching for tactics; indeed, this is often done even by very strong players when a position is particularly sharp. Over time, this conscious process becomes a subconscious one. You don't need to force anything. Just focus on improvement, and this ability will come naturally.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 17:29

1 Answer 1


It is a bit like for example learning to play the piano. At first as a beginner you look at the keys and where your fingers are going. With increasing practice, and remember even a great piano virtuoso() will still practice every day, your thought patterns become better organised and you later play with your fingers seemingly doing the thinking for you. () The great Artur Rubinstein practised several hours each day: he said that if he did not do this he would detect a decline in his performances.

For each player the speed that this happens will vary.

I find playing through lots of master games is most helpful. I try to read any annotations and play through some of the variations given in the analysis.

At first I was slow and cumbersome but after a while this improved.

The secret is consistent practice.

Every day without fail set yourself the task of playing through 1 to 20 games. Little by little patterns of play will be absorbed and you will find yourself subconsciously playing better moves. By the end of a month you will have played through 30 to 600 master games. By the end of a year you will have played through 350 to 7000!

Create for yourself a concrete set of steps for each game. I used to have them typed on a card and reviewed the steps before each tournament game. After a while they become second nature.

Two phases: 1. It is your opponents move. 2. It is your move.

I can elaborate these steps if it is of interest.

  • Nice answer. I'd like to add that almost every chess player has moved some processes from their conscious to their unconscious. For instance, do you still think of a knight's movement as an L-shape, or you can instantly see where a knight can move in a given position? As you progress, more and more of these processes become second nature—I like your piano analogy.
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 17:31
  • @Joe Excellent point re the Kt move, beginners struggle with this at first but with practice the move becomes second nature. When playing blitz in front of non-chessers they ask how can you think out those moves in a few seconds, I reply that it's all in the fingers, I don't think much at all it's just how my fingers move. Commented Jul 5, 2020 at 18:00
  • Okay,so i have some questions:@cousin_pete .How do you go through master games?And by master,do you mean grandmaster games?At what point do start guessing the moves of both the sides?
    – bretlee
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 2:26
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    Hi bretlee! There are several options to choose. 1. With real pieces and a board with printed games. Follow the annotations and some of the main variations. No need to bother in the early stages with following every long complicated variation just get the gist of what is happening in the position. Grandmaster games are excellent but depends on one's chess level of understanding. The games of untitled players are fine too. Sometimes it helps to cover the printed moves and try to guess the next move. I just play through the game and assess what is going on. Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 3:21
  • By that I mean things like was the game decided by a bad blunder (overlooked back rank mate) or by a series of small weaknesses (isolated doubled pawn), loss of control of a file etc etc. 2. There are many youTube videos of games with analysis and explanation of moves. 3. There are game collections online which you can freely view and play through the games. 4. There are sites which provide positions for tactical training 5. Other sites and books allow you to learn to play basic endings. You need to know all the basic checkmates, basic K+P endings, basic R+P endings. Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 3:29

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