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doctor_knight 145 ( +1 | -1 )
tactical help I have a sound understanding of the game of chess. I personally think that I could coach someone to a certain extent to understand how to win. The problem is that I think my tactical vision is lousy. I usualy don't have trouble puzzling out a complex combination if it involves whatever plan I am following, but I always tend to make other tactical blunders that destroy my chances. Maybe my problem is that I haven't developed the ability to see my opponent's plan, but I think it is mainly just that I am tactically lazy. I fall into traps (especially against the computer) alot and blunder away material. I always can evaluate how the opponent will beat me, but it's always too late.

It may have something to do with the fact that I think I'm mentally worn out from college English on top of my High School English and other classes, but I believe there is still a problem with my tactical vision. Maybe I need to start making sure that I know what each and every piece on the board is capable of each move or something.

Any tips from experienced players? Anyone else having the same problems? I think my rating would significantly improve by fixing this.

(Right now I would probably be rated over 1300, but I lost my last few games due to time outs. It's still my fault that I lost, but it wasn't because of my chess playing ability)
alberlie 36 ( +1 | -1 )
no offence... ... but I would think that probably noone below FM-Level can say of himself that he has a sound understanding of the _game_ of chess. Buy a tactics-book or sign up at -> chess.emrald.net and start improving your tactical vision. That might help for starters :o)
mattdw 162 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree.. I agree with aberlie, buy a tactics book (I recommend either Chernev & Reinfeld's Winning chess or Yasser Sierawan's Winning Chess Tactics) they will tell you why things are a good idea which will help give you the confidence you are doing things for the right reasons. And again, you cannot go wrong with -> chess.emrald.net I have found it has done wonders for my tactical ability and my playing strength especially since that is all my game is really based on currently (since I have yet to study much else, I have the strategic vision of a deceased turkey). But this is no bad thing! Every player I have beaten who is rated higher than me I have done so through one or more tactical moves which would suggest to me that tactics can take you quite far before the the finer details of the game really need to be considered. (feel free to disagree with me on this! :p)

Secondly I would advise challenging some higher rated opponents, you are doing yourself no favours by almost always challenging people rated equal or lower than yourself at your level. All that you will gain from doing this is a short term ratings boost. In the long run you will gain a lot more by playing higher rated people who will punish you for your mistakes. The sooner you are happier to lose and learn something valuable than win and learn nothing, the quicker you will become a better player.
misato 160 ( +1 | -1 )
Doc, I totally agree with your self-analysis concerning the tactical point - though I haven't had a single look at any of your games, just in general:
For the great majority of chess players (up to 2000 GK-rating? - my personal estimation) the tactics versus strategy relation is between 70-30 and 100-0, the lower the rating the higher the tactical importance. Unfortunately most books are written by experts with a 50-50 percentage or lower; it is okay what they write, but it is hard to come down to our level.

I made good experience with playing a lot of free OTB games (blitz or 30 minutes maximum) and transferring this experience to a few important games, OTB as well as CC. Intensive OTB-games (including post-mortem analysis with the opponent and/or a coach) and slow CC-games with tons of time for each move provide a better view of the whole board than 50+ games at GK where I can't remember position and pattern of game#17 after my moves in games #18-43. I am no GM who is able to play such a lot of games in an good way, therefore I prefer 4-8 games with deliberated and re-deliberated moves and a feeling for the development of those games (= history of the current position).

Alberlie's and Matt's advices are fine, though. I don't know the recommended book and site, but they are worth a try. And playing better opponents is a good idea as well, but you should invest time to play those games well. It is too easy to beat lower rated opponents just by waiting for blunders, but you should be aware that this is exactly the higher rated opponents' view, too ...

Good luck!
doctor_knight 144 ( +1 | -1 )
thanks just to aviod any misunderstanding, I didn't mean a deep thorough knowledge of chess by a sound understanding. I guess my word choice was wrong, but I just mean that I understand the dynamics of the game. I quite soundly understand how things work and such. My knowledge isn't that deep though. My general opening play skills are pretty good, but my knowledge of opening theory is quite bad and so on. I understand how to do stuff and such, I just don't have the intimate knowledge of the game that a master has.

Anyway. I have read books about tactics and have solved tons of combinations. My ability to analyse and execute tactics is pretty good I think (at least for my general rating), but alot of times I'm just lazy and don't care about what my opponent is doing tactically, or I don't see various little traps and stuff. I think that maybe I make moves too fast. Maybe if I catch myself before I make a move and visualize the entire board after the move instead of just my plan or whatever I wouldn't make mistakes like that.

What exactly is chess.emerald.net?

Would any of you care to play (as a start at playing better people) me and maybe see if you see anything about my problem?
(I play like OTB because I don't really have much time to check chess recources and I like doing stuff by myself rather then with help)
ionadowman 22 ( +1 | -1 )
doctor_knight... ...have you been looking at the 'novice nook' threads? They're up to #9 now. What is discussed on these may be of some assistance to you in developing the tactical awareness you are looking for. The parent articles are worthwhile reads anyhow.
Cheers,
Ion
doctor_knight 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Also, here is a game I played were I did some stupid things (I'm black here):

1. e4 e6
2. d4 d5
3. exd5 exd5
4. a3 Nf6
5. Nc3 Nc6
6. h3 Be6
7. Nf3 Be7
8. Bb5 O-O
9. Bxc6 bxc6
10. Ne5 Qd6
11. Bf4 c5
12. dxc5 Qxc5
13. O-O Rad8
14. Na4 Qb5
15. Nc3 Qxb2
16. Na4 Qb5
17. Nc3 Qa5
18. Ne2 Bxa3
19. Nc6 Qc5
20. Ned4 (here I accidentaly timed out)

I was pressing for an advantage when I shouldn't have on move 18. It was a stupid way to lose a piece. Also it seamed like I was in a position prone to tactical errors.
misato 57 ( +1 | -1 )
A typical example As you already wrote in your initial post: "tactical laziness" which leads to a fatal carelessness concerning the opponent's possibilities.

Your 11th move already meets those conditions. Always ask yourself "what may my opponent have in mind, especially with his/her latest move?".
11. Bf4 has an obvious threat: it attacks your Queen indirectly, just by moving the Ne5 elsewhere. Of course, the discovering move has to take care that the Bf4 currently is unprotected, but 12. Ng6 is fine - you lose a rook for a knight, a very bad deal!

Try to become more suspicious!
johnrowell 103 ( +1 | -1 )
18... Bxa3 Yes, misato is right. Any piece that's on a direct line with your King or Queen should be checked carefully on each move, especially if there is only one knight in the way that can happily jump to a threatening square as in 12. Ng6. Also, 18.... Bxa3 is very dubious. Consider that by playing that move, you are immediately pinning your bishop to your queen. It's going to take you two moves to extricate yourself from that situation, one to move the queen whilst still protecting the bishop, and another to then move the hanging bishop. All that for a miserly pawn, in a very open position that is full of tactical possibilities where your opponent probably has possibilities while you waste those two moves. In fact, after he plays 19. Nc6 I can't understand why he doesn't just take your rook on move 20.

I'm rubbish at tactics too, so you have my sympathy. I put my poor tactics down to only playing for a limited number of years, starting late in life, and lazyness.
thebrand 60 ( +1 | -1 )
Suspicion Yes, Misato's words - "Try to become more suspicious!" - is a fine maxim. As Elvis once sang, "suspicion...torments my mind". No move is made without repercussions (however subtle) somewhere on the board. It takes as much (perhaps more) tactical imagination to prevent an opponents' manoervres as to initiate your own. If before each move you make a quick survey of some common tactical themes - pins, forks, skewers, underprotected or hanging pieces, dicovered checks, back rank fallibility - then you should at least give yourself a puncher's chance...