We suffer from an undisciplined mind. If we have decided to soar above the board, we are drawn into any interesting looking feature of the position before we know it. If you haven't looked at a specific area of the board, you simply don't know what there is. Our addiction to interesting looking variations is of biblical proportions. And every variation is a potential tunnel.
|White to move|
Here I was busy with interesting looking variations with queen sacrifices, rook lifts and pawn pushes for 4:37 minutes (!) before I remembered to soar a little higher in order to be able to see where my bishop could go. I simply had not looked at that part of the board at all! This happens time and again, time and again, time and again. WE MUST NOT ENGAGE IN VARIATIONS UNTIL WE HAVE SEEN THE BIG PICTURE!
The patterns of the common tactical themes are thoroughly known. There is a whole bunch of patterns though, with which we are only vaguely familiar. We cannot expect to become better at tactics, unless we have assimilated this whole bunch of patterns. So far, I have found the following areas where new patterns can be detected:
- focal points
- overworked defenders
- standard reactions
I gave an example of focal points here.
I gave an example of the initiative here.
I gave an example of an overworked defender here.
There are standard reactions to all duple attacks we throw at our opponent. If he is lucky, such standard answer exists, and it will save his day.
|White to move|
8/1p4kp/p1b3p1/4R2n/P6Q/2P3pP/5r2/4K3 w - - 1 1
The clearance-with-tempo-move 1.Rxh5 jumps into the eye, followed by the duple attack Qd4.
But black can save the day by 1.Rxh5 gxh5 2.Qd4+ Rf6.
We always have to be alert for duple attacks where one target can save the other, while rescuing himself at the same time. Yet there is another common pattern here. When a queen executes a duple attack at two targets, there are often to squares available to do so. In this case, the squares d4 and g3.
We can save a whole lot of time by a disciplined mind which will not engage in any variation prematurely. You will be surprised to discover how often that happens.
Further we must detect new patterns, and assimilate them. Not by doing as much exercises as we can, but by getting the most of the positions we study. That means that the post mortem of any solution of a puzzle must be as effective as possible.
None of the given positions needs a rocket scientist to solve. We don't need to become fast, we don't need to visualize like a blindfold player, we don't need to be masters of calculation. There is no need to guide the mind by a checklist. It is about seeing trivial things fast. Seeing, btw, with the mental eye. In most positions, the solution is immediately clear, once we have seen the main idea.