It is fundamental in Chess to be able to detect the opposing threats before thinking of your own attacking possibilities. Since you know the value of the pieces, you are probably looking at opportunities to capture opponent’s pieces.
Let’s imagine you capture the opposing Bishop, thus taking a 3-points advantage, and your opponent captures your Queen on the next move. He will get a huge 6-points advantage on the material balance (because your Queen is worth 9 points), and we have already seen that a 6-points advantage is usually enough to win the game. So in this case, spotting an incoming threat was more important than finding the opportunity.
In general, before looking at your opportunities, you should always take care about what the other player is threatening, and that is the topic of this article.
Protecting pieces in Chess is another topic. Follow the link if you are interested !
Most of the blunders in Chess come from overlooking a threat. But don’t worry ! The path of success is full of blunders and mistakes and you will make a lot on your games. The key to progress is to analyze your mistakes and make sure you never make the same mistake twice !
Even at top level, a few shocking blunders can appear once in a while. In this position, the world champion Kramnik is playing agains the Chess engine Fritz. The game was quietly leading to a draw…
This should make you at ease with the idea that you will probably make some bad moves here and there. Once again, this is OK as long as you learn from your mistakes.
As a conclusion to this article, before looking at your attacking opportunities, always wonder what is your opponent threatening. If you find a strong threat in the position, then ask yourself “Can I play a move that is stronger than this threat ?”
- If yes, play it
- If no, you should look for a move that is removing the opponent’s threat.
Most of the blunders come from overlooking a threat. Be ready to take the most out of your opponent’s mistakes, but try at the same time to offer as few opportunities as possible. So when the other player makes his move, try first to find out what is the idea behind this move, and only then consider your own attacking opportunities.
Once you are familiar with threats, you are ready to go to the next step: Protecting pieces in Chess.