# What is a logical move?

I'm not sure as to what constitutes as a logical move. Sometimes I hear that chess is a discussion using statements, arguments, questions and answers.

Can someone explain to me what a logical move would be given this context? A nice, practical example would also be of great help to me.

• It's a move serves a clear and useful purpose though it does not have to be a good move. I have seen this on the context of "White avoid the logical Qe5 since it allows the diabolical Rd5..." Nov 14, 2013 at 12:49
• I don't fully understand how a move's purpose is clear and useful. When is a move's purpose clear and useful? The example you give is exactly what leaves me with the question what a logical move is. Nov 14, 2013 at 19:46
• Ok, let's say my opponent is making no direct threats, and I can castle. It would be logical to castle. Or, 1. e4. It opens lines for the Q and B while grabbing a piece of the center. Nov 15, 2013 at 0:16
• Playing from principles and good opening "guidelines" (as opposed to memorized opening theory) can be considered logical. As a new player progresses from playing senseless moves to moves with a purpose that are in harmony with what he "ought" to be doing, they would deserve the "logical" label. Though there's evidently always something more advanced/nuanced that "logical" moves sometimes overlook and many an author loves pointing this out in their texts. Nov 15, 2013 at 2:41
• Shivsky, i'm leaning towards your comment as an answer. A move that follows principles/guidelines/"rule of thumb" given the current position, that sounds like a pretty precise description of a "logical move". I would accept your comment as an answer, but that is not possible. Nov 15, 2013 at 7:40

A move which is obviously not bad to play. It's a fuzzy word to describe and evaluate a move, so it's hard to explain (it's strongly opinion based). Maybe we can put a logical move in the middle of this list:

``````!!  an excellent move
!   a particularly good—and usually surprising—move
!?  an interesting move that may not be best
>>> Logical move is here and contains above <<<
?!  a dubious move – one which may turn out to be bad
??  a blunder
``````

Although, ideally speaking, the logical move is the best move, but It may not the case in your question.

Consider this position between Anand.V vs. Carlsen.M - the World Championship match. For an average rated player there're many logical moves such as `1.R4c3`, `1.Rd1` and even `1.Kg2`. By playing those moves his coach will not criticize him and he will say OK you made a logical move. But..

``````r3b3/1kp5/1pn1P1p1/pN6/2R3Pr/1P6/5N2/2R3K1 w - - 1 35
``````

In the world championship between two giants, the only logical move is `1.Ne4!` which is played also. (Even my chess engine find it hard)

A hint from Karpov, exact calculation in a game is much preferred rather than general guidelines. Guidelines do not find the best or logical move, they will be used to find logical candidate moves and then a exact move calculation will find the best move from the list. See the example again, a general guideline says try to protect your pieces but a comprehensive calculation says another thing. Ne4!. Which one is logical for GMs ?!

• I like the way you are using this list to define a logical move. However, i'm not convinced that a logical move can be fully explained this way. Nov 15, 2013 at 7:34
• @Rafiek: So, at least this answer shows these describing words have different meanings in different people -- I've added an example to show my opinion. Nov 15, 2013 at 11:10
• @M M. your point is the same as shivsky is saying: "As a new player progresses from playing senseless moves to moves with a purpose that are in harmony with what he "ought" to be doing, they would deserve the "logical" label." Thank you for the example, it's a nice one! But it reiterates on the same point that shivsky also makes. Nov 15, 2013 at 13:53
• However, introducing the statement from Karpov is a very nice one! Logical moves are at first logical candidate moves, then comes the calculation to find the best move! Nov 15, 2013 at 14:01

I actually disagree with the accepted answer.

To say that a move is logical says nothing at all about whether it is good or bad. If a move is logical, it only means that it makes a lot of sense from a chess perspective. A logical move is the "obvious" move to make in the position.

To elaborate - the move might be logical because it fulfills a strategic purpose or is the pawn break that makes the most sense. Determining whether or not a move is logical involves no calculation.

As an incredibly contrived example:
In this position, the logical move is `1. f4` because it's the only pawn break for white that makes sense. However, this move happens to lose the queen because the pawn is pinned.

``````[FEN "r4rk1/2n2ppp/3p4/q1pPp2b/1pP1P3/pP1N1PP1/P5BP/3QRRK1 w - - 0 0"]
``````

That's a vastly oversimplified example, but hopefully it illustrates the general idea: the logical move requires no calculation and depends only on general principles.

• @MM., just to reinforce the point Andrew is trying to make, he was explicit in his answer that he is describing a use of "logical" that doesn't imply a move is objectively good. He is explaining (correctly) that the adjective "logical" is often used as a synonym for "natural" or "reasonable" or "sensible." Just as, say, a scientific theory can be both reasonable and yet ultimately proven false, a chess move can be both "logical" in the sense Andrew describes, yet ultimately tactically unjustified, just like `f4` in the example. It's bad and shouldn't be played, but there's a logic to it.