When you see a Tactic…

When you see a TacticMost of you may have experienced this phenomenon whilst playing chess – you may have spotted a beautiful combination like say a smothered mate and you did a quick cross check. You realized that this was your moment of glory and that you could after all play like Tal. Chances are – it may not be the best playable move. Who knows it may even be an outright blunder! When you see a Tactic… and rush headlong in it only to realize that it was a mirage, what do you do?

And worse is when your opponent has seen the tactic that you have just noticed, and also knows the refutation, that may either destroy your position or the game.

When you see a Tactic – Here is one tip that I believe all Chess players must remember to improve their tactical strokes.

Pause: When you spot a tactic, pause and visualize your combination. The time spent calculating is worth the wait as you will be playing in a winning position if your move was actually a winning one and if the move is not good then atleast your position will not deteriorate.

It seems to me that for most of the time that we see a tactic and quickly rush to play it, that we may have overseen something really basic in the calculations such as –

  1. The opponent has a subtle intermezzo or in-between move that causes us to fail in our tactical expectations.
  2. The combination can easily be refuted either by a counter sacrifice or a non-acceptance of the sacrificed piece causing a big change in the expected outcome.
  3. The move is easily and simply refuted, and results in a inferior position, one that is very easy for the opponent to convert to a win.


So when you see a tactic, remember this adage – “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread”. So my suggestion is to not rush to play it. Pause for a moment, and calculate the ramifications of the combination- it is after all a critical moment .

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