Tomorrow I'm playing in my third OTB tournament. I have tried coming up with really long chess "acronyms" to try and remember all the different things I need to consider before my move but they become so elongated and tedious I end up mentally ditching them and just more so start "playing from the hip."
That said my thought process is really simple:
(1)During my opponents move: Scan the board for all undefended pieces and pawns, giving a slight emphasis to MY pieces and pawns. Afterwards consider any moves that could potentially protect them and possibly add protection to another piece/ key square simultaneously. Then I scan the board for my opponents undefended pieces and pawns.
(2) During my move: Ask why my opponent played his last move. What is the thought behind is move and is there a threat he can make with it soon (by using another piece in combination etc.) Weigh several candidate moves and critique them. Does my move leave a key square or other piece undefended? If I make this move won't my opponent refute it?
And that's about it. When it comes to strategical conepts like weak pawns/squares and imbalances (bishop pair/ queenside pawn majority) I haven't really fit such things into my thought process. It doesn't mean I'm not aware of such things somewhere in my mind, it just means it's not presently apart of my deliberate thought process. Which is part of the reason I'm here... to ask if it should be!
If anyone can help me out even if it is after my tournament tomorrow that would be great!