This post is more self-congratulatory than educational, perhaps, but what’s the use of having your own blog if you can’t indulge in patting yourself on the back every now and then? ;)
Dan Heisman’s advice for the novice is to look in each position for “checks, capture, threats”. In my experience so far, this is the single most useful and important motto to guide your thought-process in chess, and I’m still trying to burn it into my flesh by saying “checks, captures, threats” in my head every time me or my opponent make a move.
Yesterday I played a game as Black against an opponent rated at 2000. I live in a small country, so the rating may not say as much, but it’s still 2000, right? I managed to get into a favourable position and figured out a way to sacrifice my knight for the exchange after 1. … Qf7+ 2. Kxa4. So I half-heartedly forced myself to do the “checks, captures, threats” routine, my eyes greedily devouring the rook on f1, saliva drooling from my mouth — you get the picture — when on “checks” I behold Qa2+! Qa2+ is a difficult move to find because the queen moves on a long diagonal, and moves on long diagonals are tricky beasts because your chess vision has to stretch over the entire board. Owing to Heisman’s magic formula, I was able to spot it in time; I don’t think I would have, otherwise.
Of course, now that I had stumbled upon Qa2+ I was supposed to calculate. However, I was running short on time (15 minutes versus 40 minutes), and I am a lazy bastard, so I reckoned, what the hell, I’m playing with Fischer time control, so perhaps I owe it to Fischer to go for the mate. Later I found out that the position’s not mate, but yields Black a huge advantage (White has to sacrifice his queen if he wants to avoid mate). So today I am one happy pawn, and I would like to dedicate this victory to Mr Heisman.
Thanks to Tuirgin, the game in its entirety is now available here.