Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Subtle Moves
This post is a collaboration with Mr Andrew Crosby who is an expert in chess gambits.
Andrew usually plays them in his games with great success. In addition, he is an active member of our virtual Chess.com club taking part in our online tournaments and matches.
In sharp positions with both sides attacking it is easy to overlook alternative moves to those that contribute to the attack. These are referred to as “subtle” moves.
“Subtle” moves very often elude club players who have the tendency to look for wild attacks against the opponent’s king. They are unable to see the waiting or intermediate move that leaves the opponent in zugzwang.
There are instances in the illustrative game when the players spent many minutes planning their assaults. But in contrast, only a few minutes evaluating their defences.
Caruana played Donchenko in the prestigious Tata Steel tournament of 2021 in round 2. Caruana had the black pieces. The game featured opposite side attacks but Caruana was the one that trapped his opponent who wrongly believed that his king was safe.
Frequently, beginners hope to win games with brilliant combinations involving piece sacrifices. However, rarely do they succeed because they lack the ability to identify imbalances, provoke weaknesses and make the subtle moves that master players can.
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