CHESS TACTICS FOR AMATEURS
Your opponent is not Karpov
To win at chess you must be alert!
You must notice things. Look across the table at your opponent. The first thing
to notice is that your opponent is neither Kasparov nor Karpov. This means
you can be absolutely sure your opponent will make mistakes during the game. Your
job is to stay alert, recognize when he makes a mistake and punish him for it. There
are two kinds of mistakes he can make: tactical mistakes and strategic mistakes. Tactical
mistakes are errors that you can punish in a few moves. Strategic mistakes are
ones that might take you many moves to punish. In this book we will concentrate
on tactical mistakes. After all, some authorities claim that chess is 90%
The first few moves your opponent
makes are most likely ones that he got from an opening book, so they are probably not mistakes. However, eventually he will deviate from the book and then he will likely make a mistake. He may make 10 or 20 or even 30 moves before he makes a tactical mistake. But you must stay alert, recognize when the mistake occurs and jump on it.
But how are you to know when a mistake
occurs? There are certain arrangements of your opponent's pieces that are
mistakes - certain patterns. These arrangements or patterns are called
motifs. This book will help you to recognize them.
After you recognize the motif, you
must try to punish your opponent for his mistake. If your opponent blunders
badly enough, he may place a piece unprotected where you can take it. He has
"hung" a piece. You punish him in one move.
Most of the time his mistakes are more subtle. It may take several moves
to punish him. These several moves are called a combination. To make a combination, you must know various tricks or techniques such as pin, skewer, double attack etc. These techniques are called the theme of the combination in many books. Most books on tactics are organized by combinational theme. This book is organized by motif. I think this is more
You cannot defeat your opponent until
he makes a mistake. Don't worry.
He isn't Karpov. He will make a mistake.
But first you must recognize that he made a mistake before you go looking wildly around for pins and skewers.
The first step in recognizing when
your opponent has made a mistake is to take what my former teacher. Jonathan Yedidia, calls a "tactical inventory". Before you decide on what move to make, look at each of your opponents pieces and pawns. Are any of them undefended? If they are they are
a potential target. We will call such a piece a loose piece. If you attack a loose piece, your opponent must defend it or move it or do something else to prevent
you from capturing it.
If there are 2 loose pieces (or pawns),
can you attack both with one move? If you can, then your opponent may have
a hard time defending both pieces at once. Consider Figure 1-1