In this article, you’ll learn how to stop blundering in Chess with a Blundering Checklist that you can go through to reduce the number them you make in general.
A Chess game can turn on a single move: one overlooked threat can put a player at an unrecoverable disadvantage. Players refer to these “big mistakes” as blunders.
Not all blunders are equal. They cover a wide range of moves that ultimately hurt your chances of winning, usually just giving your opponent a significant advantage in positioning. When we think of Blunders in Chess, we automatically think of hanging your Queen on move 7. However, these aren’t the blunders that happen regularly in games. Many blunders aren’t that obvious.
While it is not reasonable to think you can completely eliminate blunders from your game, here are seven tips to help you minimize your frequency of big mistakes.
If you are a speed chess junkie, you should consider playing games with more forgiving time controls. Having more time to consider your next move should help you to avoid many simple blunders. Don’t worry – you can eventually step back into the fast games.
Psychological studies have shown that beginner and expert chess players differ in that the experts can leverage familiar board patterns to make better and faster decisions. By playing the slower forms of chess, a player can build up their familiarity of board patterns. This familiarity can later assist in quickly finding better move candidates when playing fast forms of chess.
2) Focus on Your Opponents Moves
Too often, chess players make blunders because they are caught up in their own plans. Not paying attention to what your opponent is planning is a sure way to get into trouble.
Make sure you understand how your opponent’s last move changes the dynamics of the board. What positions is the piece that was moved now directly attacking? Did moving the piece open up a line of attack for other of your opponent’s pieces? Are any of your positions now being double attacked? Is the opponent now in a position to fork on his next turn?
3) Scan the Entire Board
It is easy to overlook a dangerous opposing piece or undefended friendly piece when it is away from the action. Before you consider your next move, scan the entire board for both opportunities and dangers. Search all areas of the board for weaknesses and strengths on both sides.
Try to identify any opportunities a player has to fork his opponent. Look for advantageous sacrifice opportunities for both players. Don’t overlook pawns – players often miss the threat of a pawn move, whether it is a direct or indirect attack. Picking up or losing a loose pawn can sometimes be the difference in a game.
4) Analysis or Visualization
Once you think you have found the best move to make, use analysis or visualization to make sure you are not stepping into a blunder. Most online chess platforms allow you to step through moves without committing to them. For live play, you will have to visualize the action.
Ask yourself if the piece you have moved is now immediately threatened. Look to see if the move has put another of your pieces in jeopardy because it is no longer defended. Check to see if your opponent now has possible fork or discovery attacks.
5) Post Game Analysis
After the game is over, spend time running it through a game analyzer. Most online platforms have built-in analyzers, but there are also free online services where you can unload moves from live games.
While you can dive deeply into analyzing every move, focus on the moves the tool marked as blunders first. The tool will probably find many blunders of which you were not aware. If you find that your blunders are numerous and diverse, start by concentrating on the low-hanging fruit. Consider which of the tips in this article would best help you to avoid that kind of blunder.
6) Continuous Improvement
With the tools and information now readily available on the internet, it is now easier than ever to find help to improve your chess game. Take advantage of free resources. You can also find coaches and pay services if you want to filter out some questionable advice or get more personalized advice.
The big online chess sites all have forums and communities where constructive contributors reply to questions and post suggestions. There are both free and for-pay lessons online. A good coach can offer you the most specific advice on how to reduce the chances of blundering.
7) Set Reasonable Goals
Blunders are the bane of even the best chess players. Many people consider chess a game of mistakes. Even master chess blunder, though their definition of a blunder is very different from a beginner.
To advance in chess, do not think your goal is to eliminate all blunders. Simply identify your most common blunders and then put it checks during your game to avoid that particular blunder most of the time. Once that blunder is under control, start trying to address the next one on your list.
The surest way to improve your chess game is to reduce the number of blunders you commit. Take your time during the game to avoid the simplest and most costly types of blunders. Take your time after the game to learn how to minimize your blunders in the future.