In today’s digital era, the abundance of disorganized chess training resources can lead to confusion and frustration.
To address this problem, I want to present a remarkable solution that not only simplifies your training but also preserves the joy of playing and studying chess.
Consider the advice given by Emanuel Lasker (he was world chess champion for a record 27 years!) In his book, Lasker’s Manual of Chess, he wrote:
Now then, the two fundamental thinking methods in chess is your calculation and evaluation methods. And this is what you should focus on!
To help you practice these specific methods, I developed a series of exercises:
Why Should You Focus On Your Calculation and Evaluation Methods?
The most important moment in your development as a chess player is when you realize that your thinking methods is the foundation of your chess skills.
Chess is a thinking game, and each move you make is a direct reflection of your thought process. Therefore, the first and most important step in your chess development should be to focus on developing proper thinking methods.
The Heart of Chess
Calculation and evaluation are the essential thinking processes in chess. Calculation refers to the cognitive process whereby you carefully examine different move variations and their potential consequences. It includes tactics, piece exchanges, and assessing threats.
Evaluation, on the other hand, is the process of assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a position, considering factors like material balance, king-safety and activity of the pieces.
Together, these two processes helps players navigate complex variations and guide their strategies, which is really what chess is all about!
The Benefit of Using Methods
Many chess players overlook the significance of learning proper thinking methods, resulting in a haphazard thinking process and inconsistent results.
Adopting methods that serve your thinking process offers significant benefits. Rather than relying on random calculations or evaluations, adopting a systematic approach allows you to structure and organize your thoughts in a predictable way, thereby enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of your thinking.
Moreover, methods promote consistency and reliability in decision-making, ensuring more dependable outcomes.
Building a Solid Foundation
Regardless of your level, calculation and evaluation is the two fundamental thinking processes that apply to almost any chess position. Therefore, one of the significant advantages of practicing your calculation and evaluation methods is that it will provide a solid foundation that you can continue to build on, even as you progress to expert levels.
Exercises for Skill Development
On this website I present exercises specially designed to help you refine your calculation and evaluation skills:
These exercises provide a targeted and practical way to enhance your thinking methods and apply them to various chess positions.
The 2 Most Important Questions in Chess
In the game of chess, the thinking methods of calculation and evaluation play a vital role in guiding your decision-making process. They correspond to two essential questions that you should constantly ask yourself throughout the game.
Let’s explore these questions and understand their significance:
Question #1. Are there any tactics in the position?
Calculation is the thinking method that helps you answer this question. It involves analyzing and foreseeing the consequences of specific moves and variations. By calculating tactical possibilities, such as captures, checks, and threats, you can identify opportunities to gain material advantages or launch decisive attacks. Tactical awareness is crucial as it allows you to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses and create tactical opportunities for yourself.
Question #2 How can I improve my position?
Evaluation comes into play when considering this question. It is the process of assessing the relative strengths and weaknesses of the position. By evaluating factors like material balance, pawn structure, piece activity, and king safety, you gain insights into the overall quality of your position. Evaluating accurately helps you formulate plans and make informed choices to improve your position strategically. It guides you towards achieving a favorable setup, controlling key squares, and maximizing the potential of your pieces.
Remember, a strong foundation in calculation and evaluation empowers you to navigate the complexities of chess more effectively. By regularly engaging in these thinking methods and asking yourself the crucial questions, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the game and improve your overall performance.
Is It Wise to Focus Solely on Calculation and Evaluation?
Chess is a rich and multifaceted game, and while calculation and evaluation are vital, they should be supplemented with a broader understanding of openings, endgames, strategy, tactics, psychology, time management, and other essential aspects of a well-rounded chess player.
However, mastering the fundamental thinking methods of calculation and evaluation lays the groundwork for your overall improvement. And as you progress and delve into other aspects of the game, you will find that they all tie back to serving your calculation and evaluation skills!