What is the right approach to solve chess combinations?

There are fundamental methods in practice to solve chess problems. Before going through our tips 4 solving chess combinations step by step we have to understand how calculation mechanism works on the chessboard in a random position on the chessboard.

The first and the basic rule for calculation is to use the elimination method which basically is to eliminate all possible legal moves on the chessboard so that you will be able to focus on the most logical candidate moves before going in depth calculation of variations.

Considering the nature of chess combinations, it is important to mention that it usually covers tactical themes such as “piece sacrifices and involves pure mathematical calculations” and such understanding requires deeper understanding of the dynamics of a chess position. If a players underestimates the significance of a material sacrifice in a particular position, the best move in the position could be eliminated by mistake and this type behaviour is usually observed in practice by many chess players at amateur and club level as the power of the move was not understood and therefore the winning move is very often excluded already from the list of candidate moves.

One other important tip for solving chess combinations is to play more chess online with your friends or in tournaments and practice more and more in order to improve your understanding of different chess positions so that you will be able to see as many tactical ideas as possible. Practice is extremely important regardless of the results of the chess games you play as all chess players learn from games both from they win, lose or draw. The fundamental approach here is to understand different structures and how you will be able to maximise the power of your pieces to achieve result. On the other hand, practice will help you learn different patterns by playing game after game you will recognise that certain ideas, tactics and plans are applicable to different positions.

It is an important tip for chess amateurs to realise that pattern recognition is a key ability to be able to solve highly complex chess positions in seconds. As all Grandmasters in chess do have a great knowledge in thousands of chess positions and they do have a great talent to recall certain patterns and apply the same knowledge into different chess positions.

Finally and most importantly, many amateurs and club players usually fail to solve chess combinations as they usually do forget that solving a combination does not only require finding the best move for the winning player but it also requires to find the most resisting reply against the winning plan so that the winning move really proves to be the best and the most necessary part of the winning combination.

The best example could be that many people sacrifice a piece without considering the best defensive resource for the other side and this is because weaker players usually are not able to think for both sides and they usually kind of trick themselves by underestimating their opponents chances and resources. The best tip for our chess followers is that you should try to act as objective as possible while you are looking after each and every candidate move and also while evaluating its value.




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King Salman World Rapid Chess Championship Day 1 @Saint Petersburg

Chess fans have witnessed a lot of chess games full of action and also surprising results where underdogs managed to beat some of the top seats including the World Chess Champion!

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen has lost two games in a row in the first two rounds against GM Adam Tukhaev and IM Shamsiddin Vokhidov. Carlsens game against Vokhidov can be criticized as his opening choice and the quality of his middlegame was probably.

Below is the position where Magnus Carlsen has blundered in his second game as the critical position arises after Carlsens careless move 22.Bc3?? and black managed to find the nice winning idea on the spot! 22…Bf8! and Magnus made another strange choice by playng 23.Nb5 and sacrificing the queen only for a bishop and black won the game without any serious difficulties.

One of the most interesting game in the rapid section was played between GM Matlakov vs GM Karjakin at round 4. Karjakin once again proved that he is absolutely “The ministry of defence” in the chess world by finding a brilliant stalemate setup in a position where many thought GM Matlakov could easily win.

In this position Karjakin played 85…Kh7 and after 86.exf7 Qe5+ a very nice queen sacrifice by black which is leading to a stalemate!

However instead of exf7 white could have converted this endgame into a technical winning position after the principle move 86.Qe4.

One could claim that Magnus Carlsen underestimated his lower rated opponents however, considering Magnus already won both rapid and blitz chess categories before, his first day performance is completely below the expectations.

At the end of the first day in World Rapid, 3 players are leading Open Section with 4.5 points out of 4, GM Ian Nepomniachtchi, GM Dmitry Andreikin and GM Alireza Firouzja. It is extremely exciting and interesting to watch young prodigy Alireza showing great performance in World Rapid.

In the Women Category, Chinese GM Ju Wenjun is leading the rapid category with 4 out of 4. Tomorrow GM Ju Wenjun will be challenged by the top seat of the rapid category GM Anna Muzychuk who has 3,5 out of 4 at the end of the first day.

In the second day, 5 more rounds is going to be played in the open section and 4 rounds  in the women section.

Click here for Tournaments Official Website

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What is the Relationship between Chess and Mental Health?

Your mental health is crucial if you are a chess player. In the previous Tips4Chess article “Importance of Personal Traits in Chess and Must Have Qualities to Become a Good Chess Player”, it is mentioned about Former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer`s famous quote “I do not believe in psychology, I believe in good moves”, however, as a Psychologist and as a person having an understanding of the rules of chess and observed the lifestyle of professional chess players, I have to contradict the statement of former World Chess Champion, and I admit that psychology does play a significant role in chess!

We all know that Bobby Fischer quit playing professional chess when his mental illness got worse. His childhood was not an easy one, his father left the family, Bobby couldn’t feel safe at home and he made up his reasons to leave home. He indicated that he could not study chess because there was noise. His paranoid attacks increased in the adulthood, after he became the world champion of chess, he quit playing chess and moved to another country. Maybe as his stress level increased related to the championship, he couldn’t handle with all.

Mental Health and Chess

We must realize the fact that mental health is important for every human. Considering the type of life chess players have, it may even become more crucial on certain occasions. Chess tournaments take long days, you travel frequently, move from one tournament to another and stay away from your home for a long time. Staying away from your comfort zone increases your stress. Each day and each chess game during the tournament is another struggle, you wonder whether you will win or lose. Especially when you are a professional chess player and playing competitive chess regularly, your life plans, expectations of yourself, your friends’, family’s and other’s expectations from you may put serious pressure on you. If you identify yourself with your success, then that makes it worse each time you lose a game or competition.

You may be a perfectionist. You may be the one, who blame him/herself harshly when the plan isn’t worked out. You may have hard times accepting yourself with both of your strengths and weaknesses. You may come to a point that you deny your weaknesses and not to accept yourself as a real person with both strengths and weaknesses, good and bad matches, good and bad moves. You may obsessively think about that how you did that move, how you couldn’t find the correct position, how you have become that wrong etc. However, it makes things worse as that approach increases your stress level, and only you can find how to improve yourself when you are open to accept your weaknesses, what may be better, what is not well enough.

You need to be mentally strong if you want to be a strong chess player. You need support. You need your acquaintances supporting you. You need supportive friends and supportive family.

Support you need is sometimes a professional one. You may need counselling or psychotherapy. Professional support increases your abilities and strengths. It gives a chance to work on your weaknesses. It gives a chance to reach your potential at a higher level. Professional support balances your stress level, and therefore you become more able to handle with your issues.

Deniz Cosan

Counselling & Clinical Psychologist


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Tips4Chess “King Safety and Importance of Castling” Tips for Beginners

The ultimate goal in the game of chess is to checkmate your opponents King and the goal is also valid for your opponent. Many beginners start learning chess by attacking strategies.

There are popular mating techniques such as Scholars mate in addition, it is vital for a beginner to learn how to mate with queen, how to mate with rook etc., however, it is almost equally important to ensure your own King Safety to achieve victory.

When we learn the rules of game of chess, there are two special moves we teach the beginners after showing the movement of all chess pieces. These two special moves are “en passant” (capturing a pawn which advances two steps forward) and the other special move is called “castling” which is an extremely important and multi-functional move achieved by moving the king and one of the rooks on the corner to ensure your kings safety.

For our readers who would like to get more information about legal rules of chess, we would recommend to google the key words and you will be able to access tons of useful information about fundamental rules of chess.

The importance of castling is usually not very well understood by beginner level players because of the fact that beginners usually tend to enjoy the attacking strategies and capturing pieces which usually gives a good feeling of an achievement however,  underestimating your own king safety will lead to a defeat.. Many beginners tend to lose more and more games and this will create more suffering for players and also may decrease the level of joy they get from the game as losing always is not fun ! 🙂

If you have King in the middle of the board, there will most likely occur major practical failures which will sooner or later prove that the risk of having a king in the centre is putting a serious limitation to your freedom of challenging the struggle in the central squares (e4,d4,e5,d5) and also will put limitation to your attacking options  and opportunities in most of the cases.

In a scenario where you would try to organise attack to your opponent without castling your own king, you will most probably face serious issues to coordinate your attacking pieces, especially considering the coordination of your pieces. Do not forget that castling is not only ensuring your King Safety in most of the cases but also contributes to your pieces development by bringing one of the rooks in the corner quickly into the game and also creating connection between rooks on the first rank.

As Tips4Chess team we recommend all beginners and chess enthusiasts to play their games by castling right after developing all pieces in order to ensure their King Safety ! 😉

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