Q: What is the first thing you should do when it is your turn to move?
A: Determine the needs of the position – it is the logical thing to do!
Why would you waste time thinking about things that aren’t relevant to the current needs of the position? It makes no sense to do so. That is why in this lesson I reveal the 2 most important factors that will help you determine the needs of the position. They are:
- Existing tactics in the position
- The stage of the game
1. Existing tactics in the position
Are there any tactics that already exist the position? Tactics could present a threat (tactics my opponent can use) or an opportunity (tactics I can use).
When your opponent makes their move you should immediately search for the tactical threats and opportunities that became possible as a consequence of their move. It is not logical to spend time thinking about strategic ideas if there is an immediate danger in the position.
(Your calculation skill and knowledge of tactical ideas will, of course, largely affect your ability to find tactical ideas in your games, which is why you will often hear how important it is to study tactics).
Then, once you understand the tactical threats or opportunities you can move on to the next important factor: The stage of the game.
2. The stage of the game
The stage of the game (opening, middle or endgame) has a big impact on your strategic objectives.
In the analytical thinking system (a practical thinking guide for developing chess players) I show you the fundamental objectives of the opening, middle-game and endgame stages. I recommend you study this guide as it will help you better understand your primary objectives.
(In the second lesson of my free chess course, I discuss why it is so important to understand the fundamental objectives of a chess game. In a nutshell: Understanding your objectives helps you find moves that serve a powerful purpose).
Practical Tip: You can train your mind to be more aware of the needs of the position by reminding yourself of the two factors I discussed here.