Improve Your Tactical Play 9

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Blow up your opponent's position tactically!

A theoretical tactical thought process model- A summary

This is a summary of the points made in the main index

Index

Assess the positional (static) elements of the situation
Assess the tactical elements in the position
Calculate concrete variations (and possibly finding beautiful winning combinations!)
If combinations are a product of the analysis, check them for soundness!

Assess the positional (static) elements of the situation

A positional assessment of the static features of the position should precede an assessment of the dynamic aspects of the position. The two main determinants of how much priority is given to the positional assessment vs the tactical assessment were related to a players style and the type of position.

Assess the tactical elements in the position

Identify the loose pieces, king safety, and general weaknesses which may be tactically exploitable. Romanovsky refers to these as the combinational motifs which assist the creation of a combination. Their presence increases the chances of the existence of an advantageous combination. Even if there is no combination as such, variations revolving around these weaknesses should be given priority. 

Calculate concrete variations (and possibly finding beautiful winning combinations!)

Brainstorming the initial candidate moves in the position even the seemingly insignificant/ crazy ones was suggested.

Prioritisation of moves was recommended for example:-

1) Moves which are forcing in nature , as there is less possibilities to examine for the opponent.
2) Moves which are clearly linked with strategic goals/ our plans in the position, e.g. creating a passed pawn, or removing a king's defender. These are "logical" tactics which help further the positional goals of the situation and help to implement one's overall game plan.

If combinations are a product of the analysis, check them for soundness!

Check to see if the opponent can in some way avoid the effects of the combination in a favourable way. Naturally, the more forceful and clear-cut the combination is in the first place, the less work there will be here. Checking combinations is especially important if heavy sacrifices are involved.

What are the "avoidance moves" in the puzzle position above after black plays Qf6? One important conclusion to reach is that it is not a forced mate after Qf6. White can "avoid" the variation after Qxf6 and give up the rook on b2 by playing for example Qg3. This type of "avoidance" clearly needs to be assessed when considering beautiful moves and combinations.

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