35

When a GM, or even lesser strong players reach a position that is totally unfamiliar, they have to break it down into components. They evaluate the following for BOTH sides. In general, a lot of this is done subconsciously by strong players. Material, and what pieces are better. Sometimes a well-placed knight can be better than a rook, for example. Can any ...


25

The task you are considered is usually called a proof game, named such because the task is to prove that the position is legal. As a genre of puzzles, there are various aesthetic constraints, most commonly that the resulting game be unique. However, this is not necessary in general, and there is even a genre of counting the number of solutions. There are ...


22

From a YouTube comment section dedicated to the game (I did not find the primary source, so it may be untrue): Anand was asked about this in the interview after. Smirin did not play the opening Anand was expecting. In a finale like this, White must win and so will play something dangerous to avoid Black forcing a simple draw. When Anand saw that Smirin was ...


22

I will try to answer this in a different manner, the way I understand this topic. Do we think on every signal, turn, fork when we drive? Do we think every time we eat food or walk on the street? The answer is yes, we do, but that thought process has moved to our reflexes to the extent that our brain does not let us know that it is doing a task (Thankfully!) ...


20

No, there are positions in which a lot of moves have the same effect or are the same but you can play them in a different order.


18

If it were possible to analyse every possible outcome of a position, would there ever be a single move that could be considered "best"? No. Just to give an example: [FEN "k7/6Q1/1K7/8/8/8/8/8 w - - 0 1"] There are five moves that are equally "good". I know that this is how computers evaluate positions, but they can only calculate the decision tree down ...


17

There are plenty of situations where there is more than one move which leads to a forced mate. So in those situations any of those moves is objectively best, and there's no one best move.


16

You say: "Do the same puzzles over and over? I'm worried that once I've memorised a puzzle, then I'm not doing so much calculation as memory retrieval." Memory retrieval is exactly what you should be doing! The brain improves recall not by repeated input, but by repeated output. This is why reviewing notes is a terrible way to study for a test, and why ...


15

Yes, those 15 depths very much matter. Consider this position that occurred in Kasparov's Immortal Game vs Topalov. [White "Kasparov"] [Black "Topalov"] [FEN "b2r3r/k4p1p/p2q1np1/NppP4/3R1Q2/P4PPB/1PP4P/1K2R3 b - - 0 24"] I tested this position with several engines. Some engines, at depth 15, failed to detect that 24...cxd4 is a losing move and ...


15

The answer is that you only consider the most sensible and most critical options. This prunes the tree down to manageable proportions. One easy example would be the fact that retreats are usually not threatening and therefore less likely to be critical. (Of course the downside is that actually dangerous retreats are often overlooked.) To learn how to ...


14

It is a common problem to calculate all the variations and then suddenly realize that the first move was simply terrible. Actually, there is a rule that should be applied after finishing a complicated calculation, the Blumenfeld rule! The Blumenfeld rule is formulated roughly as follows. After finishing a complicated calculation, take a fresh look at the ...


13

first of all see here. here is a quote Asked how many moves ahead he can think, Kasparov replied that it depended on the positions of the pieces. "Normally, I would calculate three to five moves," he said. "You don't need more.... But I can go much deeper if it is required." For example, in a position involving forced moves, it's possible to look ...


11

I'm an FM, and my calculation process would be as follows: 1) See that after 2.Rxg4 Qxh6 2.Rg8 Bf8, I'm clearly winning and White has no follow up. 2) Look at White's king moves to get out of check. Immediately Kd1, Kd2, Kd3 can be discarded since they just let me play ...Rd8+ for free. Also, Kf1/Kf2 lead to the same thing after I play 2...Qf3+. So I'd ...


9

for example this one below,don't even know where to begin.Earlier the way I solved problems was finding all the checks,captures and threats and the solution used to come within few seconds but now things are not that easy "Finding all the checks,captures and threats" looks like a great way to solve the puzzle you've posted. There are no immediate ...


9

White's actually quite close to busted in that position after 16...Qd5. Of the two points you bring up, note that White doesn't actually control the e-file because Black is ready to play a rook to e8 and drive White's major pieces away. The knight on g5 looks good, but it's also vulnerable to being kicked by ...h6 and it's not threatening anything yet. ...


8

As somebody, who's tactical ability is hopefully still above 2000, let me contrast your description with my own thought process: I only considered 1...Nh4. 2.Qg4 Rf2 I saw basically instantly. 2.Qh2 Qxh2 3.Kxf2 Rf2 and I thought white is in trouble. Mostly because of the clumsy bishops that don't allow him to untangle quickly and challenge the second rank ...


8

Expanding on the great comments of @David and @Timothy Chow, GM Nikolai Krogius talks about the role of the residual image in his book Psychology in Chess. This is an image that stays and blurs the calculations. The residual image is the transfer of judgment from a past position to a new situation. The past then acts on the present. To combat this ...


8

A friend of mine (and a stronger player) suggested one exercise which has helped me in developing my visualization skills. Take a game, any game and read the first two moves of both sides (ie total four plies), visualize the position now on board, then make these moves on board, see if your visualized position was right. Read the next two moves and ...


7

It is just impossible for computers to look deep enough (25 ply and more) and check every possible move. What makes is possible is the technique called Alpha-beta pruning which means that computers, similar to humans (but way better) follow only the promising continuations. They evaluate the positions constantly (based on some precoded rules, valuing ...


7

Depends a lot from player to player and also position to position I think. The fundamental is that their intuition (built up from studying and playing and solving a lot) will suggest a few moves (or occasionally only one) and they will calculate those moves (candidate moves) and pick whichever they think is best based on calculation and evaluation. They ...


7

Would the person who calculates better normally win? If everything else is equal then the answer is obviously "Yes". However, everything else is rarely equal. Fixating on calculation is very common in chess players. Here is another question about calculation which clearly demonstrates this fixation. The fixation is so clear that the best answer ...


6

The answer is simple and cruel -> evaluation of the position. Unfortunately, being inactive for 10+ years, I suffer from the same problem so I know what I am talking about. You will not find a winning move, nor winning lines, unless you evaluate that they are there in the position. That is why you miss those moves -> you didn't even consider that such ...


6

The relationship between performance gains and search depth has actually been an active area of research for quite a long time in the computer chess programming communities. There was a theory that increases in search depth resulted in diminishing returns in strength... this seemed to be verified in experimental results. From my perspective, there is an ...


6

My performance rating was four to five hundred points above my actual rating in tournaments where I prepared primarily with calculation/visualization exercises; while tournaments without tactical training showed a performance rating closer to actual. So, I would say these exercises definitely make you sharper. There are permanent gains over time but I think ...


6

It seems that, for tactical reasons, White is going to have to give up material to stop Black's attack with best play from both sides. That seems to be why the evaluation is so in favor of Black. After move 16, White owns the e-file and maybe even the 7-rank. Not really. After 16...Qd5, White must defend the mate threat somehow, and Black can then play a ...


6

If you are familiar with mathematical induction then it should be clear to you that the answer is trivially "Yes". Just as for any position (legal or otherwise) it is possible to use the laws of chess to calculate all the legal moves in that position (this is what computer engines do) so given any position (legal or otherwise), P(n), other than the ...


6

At shorter time controls, there is little time for conscious double-checking - perhaps there is a kind of parallel awareness of tactical risks and opportunities? But at longer time controls: there is still a question of what economists call “opportunity cost” - what must I forego if I spend time instead double-checking certain lines? I am not a serious chess ...


6

I think the term 'intersect' is not really intuitive here. From c2, the white king can go to d2 and c3 in one move. That means the black king must find a square from which it can reach f3 and e3 in one move. That square is f4; this would be true for e2 and f2 as well, but then the black king is outside the pawn's square and it can run to promotion. It doesn'...


5

My guess would be that every position has a single objectively best move or two moves that are equally strong. Three equally strong moves is already less likely, unless of course the best move is for instance a discovered check with a bishop and it does not matter which square it chooses to open up the check. The best move in the position is the move that ...


5

No, you cannot say that there can be a single best move in every position. In most positions there are a number of equally good moves with different effects. Chess is a finite game, alright, but the branches are so many that even computers (still) need a substantial amount of time to calculate a full branch starting from a single move. This is why there is ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible