Thinking Like A Grandmaster

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My goal is to make chess the most widely played game in this planet. Although this may be overly ambitious, this is the right estimate looking at the amount of effort and dedication put in this website. This blog is just a by-product from the youthful exuberance of a 16 year old. I hope you will support me in this journey which I have undertaken.

May 11, 2020

In today’s article, we will uncover the basic thought process of a Grandmaster when finding the best moves. We will understand their thought process and use several strategy to improve the way we think about this game.

Before delving in, I would like to ask you to guess how many candidate moves does a grandmaster analyse. 5 moves? 15 moves? The answer is most likely 2 or 3 candidate moves. It is impossible to calculate variations for 4 or 5 candidate moves due to the time control.

But how do we reduce the number of candidate moves. Ideas keep flowing into beginner’s brains and they generally want to calculate long possible variations of many moves to feel secure. But now we will now look at a particular strategy which will restrict the number of candidates moves we analyse.

First and foremost, grandmasters look for forcing moves which requires the opponent to react in a particular way and limits the ways in which the opponents can respond. These can be checks, captures, or threats. These comprise of one or two move tactics. So when you look at a position, we should immediately start looking for these tactics. It is scientifically proven that our brain tends to find tactics earlier when we are analysing than later.

Secondly, grandmasters find best moves by utilising the general principles ( pawn should capture towards center, rook should be in 7th rank). These can be played without thought as it’s value has been proven repeatedly.

Thirdly, grandmaster look at problem pieces. We can define problem pieces as opponents strong pieces and your own weak pieces. Grandmasters look for moves to exchange when they cannot find good candidate moves.

Fourthly, Grandmasters have lots of experience which develops intuition in them. The fastest way for the average joe to develop intuition is to study master games. This will help recognize critical patterns and will improve your long-term performance.

Lastly, Grandmasters are consistent. Even when there are no obvious cues to justify a move, one might think a candidate move is right because it ‘fits’ with the previous moves. All your moves must have a purpose. Your last move should help your next move and so on. Plans and strategies are good ideas to follow and will make sure you make a right candidate move if the plan is solid and takes into account what the opponent plays.

I wanted to keep this blog article relatively short compared to my other articles because I feel this will overwhelm all of you and confuse you from reading about this topic. At the same time, I wanted beginners and intermediate players to have some sort of an overview. All my future articles are based on this fundamental concept and we have a lot to learn, but this is it for now. Your thought process will only have a significant increase if you read my following articles which expound on this concept. On the bottom right of your screen, you will see a small bell icon. Click on that and while you’re watching youtube or browsing the internet, you will be updated once I publish a new post. Nothing more or nothing less.

Happy Learning,

Yash Mehta

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