Since we Knights are are all tactical monsters, we can have a problem if there are no tactics.
If there are no tactics, we have to find a positional move. If I use the 80/20% rule, I can find the right positional move in 80% of the cases by asking myself only two questions. This is true for both PCT and Bent Larsen's Good move guide.
These two questions are:
1. Is there an outpost I can conquer?
2. Is there an open line which I can conquer or can I open such line by a pawn push?
You have to know the main idea behind these questions, which is piece activity.
MDLM had a 3rd step to implement his new acquired tactical skills into his OTB play.
If I leave the things out I do anyway and the things that look nonsense, then only two topics remain. I made them bold:
1. Make a physical movement. Initially I shuffled my legs but found that they got tired in long games. Now I shift around in my chair, move my arms up and down, or wiggle my toes (5 seconds; total time: 5 seconds).
2. Look at the board with Chess Vision, the ability developed by going through the micro-level drills described above (10 seconds; total time: 15 seconds).
3. Understand what the opponent is threatening (20 seconds; total time: 35 seconds).
4. Write down the opponent's move on my score sheet (5 seconds; total time: 40 seconds).
5. If the opponent has a serious threat, then respond. If not, calculate a tactical sequence. If no tactical sequence exists, implement a plan (70 seconds; total time: 110 seconds).
6. Write down my move (5 seconds; total time: 115 seconds).
7. Imagine the position after I make my intended move and use Chess Vision to check the position. If Chess Vision does not locate any problems, make the move and press the clock. If Chess Vision does locate a problem, go back to step 1. (10 seconds; total time: 125 seconds).
8. Make sure that I have pressed the clock.
Step 5's "implement a plan" is the only step that is not self-explanatory. I implement very simple plans (as opposed to Silman, Kotov, and Pachman-like plans) that improve the probability that there will be a tactical shot. These plans include:
1. Improve the mobility of the pieces.
2. Prevent the opponent from castling.
3. Trade off pawns.
4. Keep the queen on the board.
The idea behind MDLM's two bold points and my two questions is the same: increase your piece activity (and hinder the opponents piece activity).
I apply these two questions in my cc-play. I can't proof that it improves my play, because I win most of the games anyway, but it makes my play a lot easier. I have a clue in almost all queiet positions. A clue which I didn't use to have before.
Building a Strong Foundation
12 hours ago