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What is a blunder in chess?
We can define a blunder in chess as a bad move that usually results in The loss of material whit no compensation, checkmate, or threat of it. and some include a missed winning move as blunder, In general it does not mark the end of the game immediately, but the position is lost if the other side plays it correctly.
Blunders can be a result of a tactical oversight, a miscalculation, or the under-evaluation of the position at hand. The gravity of a blunder is relative according to the player level; obviously amateurs make more errors than professional masters. A normal mistake from an amateur will be considered as a big blunder from a master.
In chess annotation, blunders are typically marked with a double question mark after the move, i.e. (??).
To overcome blundering, your goal should be to reduce their number because even grandmasters make them, start by analyzing and noticing your blunders and put them into categories, tactical, strategically, endgames, middle game or openings then use these information to prioritize and plan your training.
Here are some tips and tricks that could help you avoid blundering, enjoy!
Analyze your games
By analyzing your game you will be able to notice and categorize your mistake, websites like lichess and chess dot com help with that a lot. Then you should work on those categories by focusing your training on those weak spots, during your games you should be more aware of the kind of mistakes you usually fall into, and that will make you more careful when you reach these positions.
You should reassess your strength and weakness every month or two to see what progress you made, and set new goals each time you achieve your previous ones, and keep in mind there is always a place for improvement.
The golden advice, you will hear it from every chess master, coach or video, and will read it on every website, chess magazine you check. It is so important that it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, it should be on your daily chess routine no matter how much you’ve already solved.
To start solving puzzles, you can take a book like 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games book by László Polgár or use a website lichess, chess dot com, chesstempo, chess 24, or chessblunder.org. All these websites have a huge database of puzzles.
After making your analysis it will be easy to choose which kind of tactics you should focus on,,We recommend using lichess puzzles because it gives you insight on your strength and weakness and you can train with puzzles themes in the section you want to improve in. This should be part of your daily chess training.
When you try to solve tactics, first look for forcing moves, checks, and captures. Then look for unprotected pieces, hanging pawns, and train on checkmating patterns. With time, you will start to feel and see the moves ahead. We will go in-depth on how to solve tactics later in this article.
How to solve chess puzzles
To solve chess puzzles you can’t look for every possible move, so you need to look for forcing moves. Starting with checks, captures and threats first, then look for pinned, unprotected, and overloaded pieces as targets for tactical shots. Then look for possible trapping and mating ideas, and what moves you can play to prepare them.
Checks are the most forcing moves in chess. They can’t be ignored by any mean, limiting the other side’s choices and forcing him to specific variations that suit you. Generally, the real tactics start after the check, so don’t stop thinking about it, look forward and always ask, what’s next?.
Captures: Ask yourself, what are the possible captures in this position, and which one will result in a material advantage or a better position for you. Ask yourself if there are any checks or in-between moves that could be played.
Threats: another forcing move that leaves your opponent with limited options., It could be threat of checkmate, trapping and winning a piece for no compensation, or creating weaknesses that can’t be got rid of easily.
In each of these you have the initiative, and you should never let it down. Be aware that your opponent does not have to take back always and neither do you. And always have a second look for the in-between moves.
Take your time, and set a maximum and minimum for your daily training. Quality over quantity is the key to progress. Solving 10 puzzles a day with concentration is the best approach to improve your tactics.
Positional play and blundering
Not all blunders are tactical; some are positional, especially at height level where tactical blunders are less and less common. Players usually suffer longer with positional blunders and mistakes. Learning a bit about the power of two bishops, isolated pawns and maneuvering around weakness will decrease a lot of your blunders and help you win more games.
Check your opponent last move
Players make mistakes of focusing on their pieces, plans and moves and totally forget about the opponent ones, when your opponent makes a move ask the question why? And it is very important to carefully answer it.
It could be a challenge to understand what are your opponent ideas and plans, and there will be useless moves played, but don’t make this your first nor second choice, there is always a purpose of a move, it may be dangerous and you have to respond to it, and it also may be mistake or a blunder and to determine witch is witch, you should ask these questions after your opponent move?
What are the possible checks that I could get?
What pieces and pawns are directly attacked now? How can i defend them, counter attack, can I ignore it ? And if the answer is not then don’t stop there and ask a second question.
What’s this move prepare, remember that there will be always signs before the storm, and so is this move could be a singe of a coming attack.
What are my candidate moves? Will my piece be defended? Are there any checks for my opponent?
Asking these simple question each time my seem difficult and exhausting, but think of it like learning how to ride a bicycle or how to drive a car it’s difficult at the start but in a short time it will be instigative for you and you won’t even think of these steps they will become a second nature for you.
Blundering in endgames
One of the most painful things is to play a very good game, and on the last moments you make that move that destroys everything you built, it is very important to study, start with pawn endgames learn the principles like the opposition, the rule of the square, Jesus de la villa has the 100 endgames you must know book, very easy to read and it is beginners friendly. then you can go for the Dvoretskys Endgame Manual wich is more in depth and more advance.
Learning these principles and train on them with puzzles and endgames studies will drastically drop your blundering rate to the floor.
Everyone make mistakes
When you make a blunder, remember that the pressure should now be on your opponent side he has to turn your mistake to an advantage and win, and so it is likely that he will relax and start making mistakes, the best practice is to keep calm strengthen your position and look for a way to elongate the game as possible. And never assume that your opponent will discover or make use of your mistakes generally he will make ones too.
How to stop blundering chess pieces
First you need to start new habit which is to never put your pieces on unprotected squares, unless you are sure you can protect them on the near future and always check their retreating squares, then you should look for your overloaded pieces they could be easily deflected.
Unprotected and overloaded pieces are usually target for tactical combinations, look ahead two or three moves and expect your opponent to take advantage of any weakness on your side.
Dealing with time trouble in chess
With time pressure, people tend to make more mistakes, and overlook the obvious moves. While each game has its own circumstances, you are still able to make strategies for your time management. Start with your openings; they should take less than 10% of the game time whether it’s classical or blitz. In the middle game, you should spend the most of your time preparing your plans, looking for tactical opportunities and preparing the endgame. That should take about 70% of your time. The end game should be approached carefully; any bad move and you may lose your advantage. We believe that you should leave 20% or more of your time for the final phase.
To manage your chess time best, it is very useful to understand what are the main reasons behind it. Things like calculation of long non-forcing move variations are a waste of time that you should avoid. After finishing the opening phase, it is important to understand some middle game plans that are possible for you and to make positional improvement moves when you don’t have yet have a plan. For the endgame, it is important to get your king into the game and try creating passed pawns.
Playing reasonable amount of online chess can help you improve your time management, playing blitz will result in much more quick decision making while playing rapid or classic can slow down your playing speed if you have rushing problems.
You can save a lot of time by knowing your opening repertory well enough, and be more quick at spotting and solving tactical position, and last advise play the obvious move quickly and save your energy to later.
Intuition and blundering
Intuition, It is the ability to know something without analytic reasoning, bridging the gap between the conscious and non-conscious parts of our mind. Forbes.
Intuition is a very strong weapon on the player treasury weapons, but it is double-edged sword, and it should only be used after doing your analysis of the position and having your candidate moves prepared, and only then use your intuition to choose from those candidates.
What to do after a blunder
Nothing, except taking a deep breath and staying focused, and don’t lose concentration, a second blunder will be likely if you don’t pull yourself together and regain you trust. always remember that your opponent still have to take advantage of it, and it may take him several moves to achieve that, during that time it’s probable that he/she will relax and relay on that material advantage and the probability of them blundering will be very height, so you should be ready to fix your blunder.
However you can’t rely on your opponent to make a mistake like yours, and you have to be ready for the last resort to save the game by looking for possible perpetual checks aportinuties, try to complicate the game as you can, go for the creasiest tricks and sacrifices, try creating dangerous passed pawns.
Patient and perseverance
You need to work on all chess phases opening, middle game and endgame, and this takes time and effort, but with the right approach you get the best result in the shortest period of time.
Now success requires patience and persistent, and to see the result of your hard work there is no other choice but to have those two on your mind each and every day, divide your big goal to smaller ones and reward yourself each time you achieve one of them, find new ways to get motivated and use them each time you feel down.
Each one of us has his own learning curve, so don’t compare yourself with anyone else as long as you are patient and persistence you are one step away from success.