Calculation in Chess Games

Dear Chess Friends!

What is the most important skill for a chess player? I’m sure most of you will answer that Calculation is. Of course, in order to become a strong club player you also need to learn the openings and to understand the positions you usually get: plans, ideas, enemy threats and typical maneuvers. But if you struggle with calculation, you won’t be able to achieve any success. That’s why, it’s more important to improve your ability to calculate and only then work on other aspects of a chess game.

Calculation also includes the ability to visualize the position and evaluate it after. How can you evaluate the position if don’t clearly see where each piece stays? I’ve already shared an exercise how to train an ability to picture the position in your mind. But you can also improve it by doing tons of puzzles. However, remember to calculate the line in your mind and make the moves only after you believe you did it properly and covered all deviations.

Your ability to calculate may help you even if the position is almost lost. Imagine you played the opening badly, got a worse position and decided to continue with a wrong plan. Your opponent is much better, but if only the position opens and becomes sharper, you get a chance to equalize or even outplay if you are able to find and properly calculate combinations.

Please, look at this position. White played 20.Raf1 with the idea to capture on f5 with the rook and then threaten the f7-pawn. There will be no defense for black. However, black played 21…Nh8 and miscalculated that they lose the f7 pawn anyway.

Calculation is a complicated process and before calculating a line you should understand what to be looking for and how to find candidate moves. During the process of a line calculation, you should define where to stop the analysis and what to take into account to be able to evaluate the final position properly.

This is what I demonstrated on my webinar 93 “How to Improve Your Calculation Skills?”

There are 3 important things you should know about Calculation:

  • Typical Mistakes in Calculation
  • Exercises that you need to perform to improve your ability to calculate
  • How to implement this ability (in other words “when to start calculating”). This what you may learn by analyzing combinations in GMs’ games!

All these 3 aspects are covered in my newest course “Chess Calculation WorkShop”

I designed this course for any chess player who struggles with calculation or just would like to improve his ability to calculate better and deeper and visualize the position properly after that. By the end of the course, you will be able to calculate the line 2-3 moves deeper, picture that position in your mind and evaluate it!

What exactly do I teach in this course? I explain typical mistakes in calculation, provide you with exercises to improve and we do them together, where I explain which moves-candidates to be looking for and demonstrate a step-by-step calculation process. That’s why I called it a workshop. The last section of the course is devoted to GMs’ games where I explain how they implement the technique of calculation.

Please, look at this position. This is my real OTB game played in 2018:

My opponent just played 39…f5. How to react? 40.f4! But this move requires calculation of at least 5 different lines black may choose! I found a tactical motif – a double attack on the 7th rank and came up to the solution that I should open the files for my rooks. My only task now is to calculate everything properly, which I successfully did!

Would you like to learn the technique, practice and improve your ability to calculate and visualize the position after a long line? And, of course, win more games?

Only for the next 48 hours you can get my newest course  “Chess Calculation WorkShop” for ONLY $49.50 (normally $99). That’s 50% OFF if you use this link:

An example from the course:

Please, look at this position. It’s white to move. Which move would you choose?

Let’s say you decided to play 1.a4 to advance your passed pawn (which is a typical plan for endgames). How may black react on 1.a4? I’m sure you see 1…Qg3+!

That’s why you should be looking for the opponent’s threats before deciding what to do. Ok, now we know the threat. How to continue and at the same time create a threat ourselves?

Enroll in my course, improve your chess skills and win more games!

FM Viktor Neustroev