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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Chess and Sigmund Freud’s Psychoanalysis

What about Sigmund Freud when we are talking about chess? I do not know whether you are interested in psychoanalysis as a chess player; however Sigmund Freud – founder of the psychoanalysis- seems to be interested in the game of chess as he refers it “the noble game of chess”.

Sigmund Freud wrote several articles on psychoanalytic technique between 1904 and 1919 in order to describe the application rules of psychoanalysis. On 1913, he started mentioning about chess to his article “On the Beginning of Treatment (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psychoanalysis”. It is interesting that he sees a similarity between chess and psychoanalysis in a way.

Sigmund Freud points out that in chess one may reach compherensive information about chess openings and end-games just by reading chess books, nevertheless for how to resist during the chess game one needs to be mentored by chess masters. Sigmund Freud explained psychoanalysis using analogy of “the noble chess game”. Just like “the noble chess game”, Freud indicated that he can only offer rules for the beginning of the psychoanalytic treatment, but the rest of the game/ process of psychoanalysis are unique for each pair/ players / psychoanalyst and analysand. The beginning and ending of psychoanalysis is far more certain than the process, and the process is defined by the exclusive approach of pair. The chess players learn opening and checkmate tactics, however they need to determine the chess moves specifically during that the process of a chess game. Each game is different from each other, as each psychoanalytic treatment differs from others. The psychoanalyst and patient is relatively alone and uncanny in the process. As well as the chess player is alone during a chess game, with all the information in mind, has to decide by him/herself for his/her specific moves according to the game. Maybe we may say that each chess game is a little uncanny just like each psychoanalytic application.

Below the words of Sigmund Freud (1913):

“Anyone who hopes to learn the noble game of chess from books will soon discover that only the openings and end-games admit of an exhaustive systematic presentation and that the infinite variety of moves which develop after the opening defy any such description. This gap instruction can only be filled by a diligent study of games fought out by masters. The rules which can be laid down for the practice of psycho-analytic treatment are subject to similar limitations.”


Freud, S. (1913). On Beginning the Treatment (Further Recommendations on the Technique of Psycho-Analysis I). The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Volume XII (1911-1913): The Case of Schreber, Papers on Technique and Other Works, 121-144.

Deniz Coşan

Counselling & Clinical Psychologist


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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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Importance of Personal Traits in Chess and Must Have Personal Qualities to become a Good Chess Player

As many of you know that chess hıstory has witnessed many great players and stories of these great players. Every world champion has a great and interesting personality which we all admire from many different aspects. For instance; when Bobby Fischer said: ‘’I do not believe in psychology, I believe in good moves’ he most likely wanted to emphasize the importance of being a hard-worker in chess simply by knowing the positions better than his opponents but also calculating deeper to demonstrate his strengths over his opponents.

On the other hand, if you have a look at Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov World Chess Championship Match, there you would see that the pressure over players have significantly shown its effect on the score sheet. There are many factors in a chess game that effects the result however personal traits are always an important aspect of the chess game as the type of personality you have will most likely show its signs on the type of chess you are playing.

A player like Mikhail Tal was one of the great attacking players in the history and his straightforward approach is definitely a reflection of his thoughts, his way of understanding the game, and his approach as a person. You would most likely prefer to play an endgame against Tal rather than having queens on the board as you would not like the legendary ‘Riga Magician’ to make sacrificial experiences over the chessboard, if you are a type of person who likes to stay away from complications and if you would like to play solid and positional chess then you are not the best friend of Tal`s chess.

A person who likes stability will avoid taking risks and this naturally will make you a calm and positional chess player where you would more or less search for minor opportunities instead of searching for major and drastic changes in the positions.

The character and personal traits will always give important tips and hints about your opponent if you have enough information about your opponent. Even in the modern era of chess, it is still possible to see how much personal traits play role in the world championships, even though the strength of the players objectively getting better and better over time, personal traits and character of people still needs to be analysed well to take over the game not only in the technical aspect but also from psychological aspect.

‘Be self critical & always search for ways of improvement!’

When you are trying to dig in deeper, you have to search for reasons for the consequences of your actıons. In order to ıdentıfy your mistakes, to analyse yourself and your decision making mechanism carefully in details and be self critical. Like in many different fields of life, the chessboard is a place where we as players and as a person have to take tons of different decisions while we are playing the game and this requires strong nerves and taking responsibility of the consequences of decisions we are taking. To be a good chess player in reality, a chess player has to face with the truth of the fact that not every decision we have taking is perfect and therefore it is highly crucial to be self critical at any point in the chess career to identify the critical points in decision making and also to identify which factors play significance in our own mechanism when we are playing chess.

Finally in relation to being self critical, another important personal trait for a chess players is to research on a continuous basis in order to find a better way to perform. A chess players is a real sportsman if considered to play series of chess tournaments and to degree of success and the level of achievements are directly related to our personal traits and approach to the process of playing series of serious classical chess games. Not only mentally but also physically a chess player will have ups and downs and the ultimate goal for a successful chess player is to be able to optimize all contributing factors to play better chess and this requires being aware of your own personal qualities.

Being goal oriented and also being open for improvements there will always be an opportunity to comeback in the game of chess!

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