How to Calculate in Chess? [Find Tactics in Your Games]

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In this video lesson, GM Igor Smirnov shares with you 5 key ideas to calculate effectively during your chess games. You will learn from beginner-level concepts and gradually climb to advanced-level so that you can calculate more complex positions/variations.

These calculation tips will teach you how to solve puzzles easily, how to find tactics in your games, and how to calculate efficiently and effectively. Most importantly, you will learn how top Grandmasters like Magnus Carlsen calculate variations effectively in their games.

At the end of this calculation training, you will be challenged with an interesting puzzle. Try to calculate all possible variations and find the winning shot!

► Chapters

00:00 How to calculate in chess? [5 tips]
00:28 Example-1
00:51 Tip-1: Evaluate material
01:17 How to find candidate moves in a position?
04:09 Example-2
05:00 Tip-2: Calculate till the end of the forcing line
05:39 Example-3 (this is how Grandmasters think)
06:28 Tip-3: Use your positional understanding
09:18 How to improve your positional understanding?
09:59 Example-4
10:11 Tip-4: Don’t let your opponent’s king escape
11:57 Example-5
12:57 Tip-5: Try to make tactics work somehow
13:52 Test your calculation skills with this puzzle

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  1. I think there is one more check mate opportunity nc7 check black forced to take when queen takes we sacrifice our white colour bishop on f7 again black has forced to take we deliver check mate by queen on d5

  2. Mr.Igor, I really want to improve in chess and I want to buy your course. However, I am still young and I don’t have that much money yet. Is there any way to extend the deadline?

  3. Qd5
    2 possibilities
    Qxd5 , Nc7#
    Qxb5, Qxf7#

  4. Great information! Love the way you explain it. Also, after doing a lot of puzzles the last few days, I figured out that first position checkmate in about 10 seconds. Puzzles aren't everyone's cup of tea but they really get you in the right mindset… my humble opinion.

  5. The third candidate move in the first position Nxg3

    You assumed white would take back on g3

    Isn't Qxh8 checkmate a better option for them? 😂

  6. queen to d5 with the black queen having to take the white queen followed by a knight to c7 checkmate. if the black queen takes the knight on b5 instead then the white queen can checkmate by moving to f7 and taking the pawn on that square!

  7. Nc7 is also a line which leads to checkmate but what about Qd5??

  8. Unless I missed something, in the first example if you take the white knight with your black, queen to g3 seems like a bad move. It can move to h7 instantly checkmating the black king.

  9. Qh5 ( going to check mate with f7)black Plays g6 then gx6 , black plays fx6 and Qgx6

    Only 3 moves to win 🙂

  10. another tip from a learner : – initially play classical games and think at your best then slowly you'll be able to think faster

  11. The move is Nc7+ (mate in 5 moves). Qd5 is winning for white, black lost the queen and the game, but white must continu long time to win

  12. There is a forcing line with Nc7+ QxN Bxf7+ Kxff7 Qd5+ Ke1 Qe3++… but your line is much more beautiful! Unfortunately it doesn´t lead to mate if NxB, but it would be a beautiful win nevertheless.

  13. Queen will kill each other then give check with knight

  14. I felt really proud seeing the solution for the puzzle immediately! Nc7, Queen has to take, Bxf7, king has to take, Qd5 check, Ke8, Qe6, Be7, Qxd7#!😊

  15. Forced mate

    Qh5, g6, fxg6, hxg6, qxg6!!, if exg6, be7#
    If rh7, qxe7, rxh7, bxh7#

  16. Isn't if Kh5xK3 Qh4xh7 checkmate?
    Just asking because he says that nothing really change in the position except the knights are of the board after Qh4xKg3

  17. My dad was a great pool player he was a shark in the Bronx. Making over 300 balls in strait pool without missing once. Once he told me a good player doesn't have to make hard shots he makes every shot easy. I thought of him when you were talking about positional chess.

  18. For the third scenario I see a number of lines:

    One is 1. Nh7 Kxh7 2. Rxh5+ Kg8 3. Qh6… at this point I don’t see any way for black to escape mate on Qh7 supported by Rook or Bishop. Though admittedly Kxh7 is a blunder here…

    Another is 1. Rxh5 g6xh5 2. Ne6+ – if black moves king back to either g8 or h8 or captures knight with bishop, mate is unavoidable after next queen check. If black captures with the pawn, then its a short chase along the 8th rank.

    EDIT: I’m happy that I found the right line, but it took way too much calculating/overthinking positions, which takes up time and spends a lot of mental energy in game. Noted for future games! Thanks.

  19. I'm still losing a lot of CPU in the 1500-1900. So far I've beaten every CPU up to Miguel which is 1900 and my highest achievement so far on my own and it's really hard with raw intuition and wits without watching a lot of tips.

    I've been keeping my records of my wins in my profile.

  20. Answer of the first position in
    Rook f1 and then queen g2 mate

  21. Answer of the last question Is knight c7 queen takes knight bishop f7 king takes bishop and then queen d5 is a totally forcing check mate

  22. Probably already in the comments but the checkmate is Nc7+!! Qxc7 Bxf7+!! Kxf7 Qd5+ Ke8 Qe7+ Be7 Qxe7# (Idk know but I found it in like 45 seconds)

  23. last puzzle answer -Bb3 takes f7
    k takes f7

    thats a mate

  24. 3:31 – White's continuation is QH7 checkmate if that knight is moved.

  25. Have to say !! Amazing masterclass have improved a lot on tactical side !

  26. Why is everyone saying that Qd5 is not a quick win? I see checkmate in 2. Can someone explain?

  27. In example one, isn't Kd3 basically a rook-bishop fork mate?

  28. Watched a ton of these videos but I promise you these won't improve your game a little bit. But there is one thing you can do for 1 week and see how much your game improves. And if you could do that for 1-2 months you would definitely bhi above 1500.

  29. At 13:35 WQe3 looks like it would buy enough time for the King to find the back door and pray for a black mistake.

  30. In third puzzle I stopped thinking after g4, as it traps the knight and wins a piece. Completely missed the mating idea.

  31. When the queen moves, checkmate pursues
    So forced to take, all is a mistake
    Takings not cut, with Bishops' but
    Knight's family fork, makes it a cork!

  32. I see: nice! : 1. calculate the attacks. 2. look for the candidates. 3. use your positional understanding (ie for example, don't activate their pieces, or give them room) to simplify the task. Nice!

  33. Last puzzle: Knight check – Queen takes, Bishop check – King takes, Queen check on D5, Queen checkmate on E6.

  34. In the first puzzle, …NxN is not a knight swap: Qxh7 is checkmate

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