Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Lateral Thinking

Solving puzzles is one of the exercises in chess training. The solution of puzzles usually involves one or more patterns. Recognizing patterns is helpful in real games. In today’s post, let’s examine mistakes in solving chess puzzles that we can also find in playing games.

Club players know or even have had the chance to play in their games the thematic attacking pattern with the battery “queen-bishop”. Many checkmating assaults against the opponent’s castle start with this pattern.

When that powerful “battery” aims toward the opponent’s king, there is a big temptation to look for a storming attack in that direction. However, if that plan does not work, we risk spending many minutes on useless calculations. In other words, our brain stubbornly keeps working on the first impulse without paying attention to other alternatives. What to do?

That can happen in real games with limited time for thinking. After 3 or 4 minutes of focused calculation without a favorable conclusion, the player has to be able to accept the futility of the effort and look for alternative paths. Here is where lateral thinking helps. It is convenient not to focus on the final result we would like to achieve, but to explore all the elements of the position asking what other of our pieces could do.

To illustrate this point, try to solve the following puzzle.

Dear readers, be always open-minded and efficiently manage your time.

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