The common misconception is that blunders are just tactical errors. Tactics are involved, and better tactical vision will certainly help reduce the number of these blunders, but studying tactics is treating the symptoms and not the disease. Consider the errors you make in a game. How many of the critical errors (those that change the expected result of the game–win, lose or draw) were immediately obvious to you, and how many required some serious thought or computer assistance? If you had to think about why your move was bad, or why your opponent’s move worked, then the problem is related to some other facet of your game. However, if your error provokes an immediate “Oh No!”, then it wasn’t your tactics that were faulty but your thinking. So… Reprogram your brain – find what is the problem with your blunders.
- shortly after you make your move you suddenly realize it was a blunder, or
- your opponent makes an unexpected move whose strength is immediately obvious, or
- your opponent makes a move that you didn’t consider, but it’s immediately obvious that you should have,
then your thinking process failed you, not your tactics.
So What’s the Solution?
How do I train this skill of near perfect thinking?
Ask yourself before moving – what your opponent can do and whether you can handle his threat. Many of us make a superficial attempt and select a move without going the full line.
As an example, consider bowling or basketball. One thing you train is to be able to consistently pull off a certain stroke or a push, such as hitting all 9 balls or putting the ball inside the basket 7-10 feet away from the basket. After practicing again, and again, and again, the “right” way to do it becomes programmed in your “sub-conscious memory” and you can just execute it with least thought.