Finding the best chess moves to win games is easiest if you approach your positions systematically. Another important quality you need to find the right move is perseverance.
As IM Kostya Kavutskiy reminds us, we often give up too early in our calculations. We discard ideas at the first hint they won’t work when in fact, with a little more consideration, they prove winning.
In this free preview of IM Kavutskiy’s Forcing Moves Force Wins course, you will learn the importance of overcoming your internal resistance and how to ensure you don’t overlook the best chess moves to win your games.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The Best Chess Moves to Win Are Forcing Moves
We’ve all heard things like “Checkmate ends the game,” and, “Look for forcing moves first.” But what exactly are forcing moves?
Checks are the most direct forcing moves since your opponent has to deal with the threat to his king before he can do anything else. This is what makes discovered checks such a deadly chess tactic.
Captures are slightly less forcing because your opponent does not have to recapture your piece.
Threats can be very useful forcing moves if you threaten a checkmate or a piece of greater value than your piece, which is under attack. Our instinctive reaction is to defend a piece or move it away from the attack, but counter-attacking in chess is an excellent defensive technique.
Always consider forcing moves in this order:
- captures, and
People Make Mistakes in Chess
Our trust in our opponent can stop us from capturing a piece because we are hesitant to believe our opponent played a bad move. We often think there must be a trap we’re missing when playing stronger opponents.
The biggest resistance we have often involves captures. This is where we are most likely to stop at the first sign of resistance.
However, we win a lot of games because we have a significant material advantage!
To win material, we must be willing to push through our resistance and double-check we haven’t given up on our calculations a move too soon. Be ready to consider every possible move you can play, no matter how bad it appears.
A quick glance at this position tells you that White would deliver checkmate on g7 if not for the knight on e6.
The problem for White is that Black threatens to capture the pawn on f6, so White can’t play Ng5 or Ng3. Many players would let this resistance stop them, but if you persisted, you would notice your rook can attack the knight.
This means moving the knight on e5 to a square where White can win material after Black plays …Qxf6.
Sticking to the plan of eliminating the defender means considering all possible knight moves and makes it possible to discover the winning move Nd6!!
Black must give up the rook to prevent mate and play …Qxf6.
Following the advice of IM Kostya Kavutskiy, we could approach the initial position expecting there to be good tactics for us.
All our pieces are on good squares, Black’s king is in grave danger, and we have the initiative.
Pushing Through Our Inner Resistance When Things Are Unclear
Sacrificing material is sometimes exciting, sometimes scary, and more often both. Going ahead with a sacrifice is easier if we can calculate to checkmate or are winning material.
Finding the best chess moves to win games usually happens when you calculate that little bit deeper than your opponent.
The more significant challenge is playing a sacrifice when our gains are positional, and we will still end up material down. This is when we need to calculate one or two moves deeper to help us overcome our inner resistance.
When the Greek Gift Doesn’t Lead to Checkmate
The “Greek Gift” is a well-known chess tactic involving a bishop sacrifice on h7. After the sacrifice, our knight goes to g5, the queen enters the attack on h5, and we deliver checkmate on h7 or h8.
We know this pattern, so there is very little inner resistance, but would you play it without the guarantee of checkmate or winning material? The following position is an example where things are not at all clear-cut.
A lot of chess players will be reluctant to sacrifice the bishop with Bxh7. They might see Ng5 still works because capturing the knight opens the h-file for White.
The biggest challenge for White in this position is once the queen goes to g4 or h5, Black will have the defensive resource …Bd3 guarding h7.
The other challenge facing White is resisting the urge to win the exchange.
Play might continue 1.Bxh7 Kxh7 2.Ng5+ Kg8 3.Nxe6 Qe8 4.Qg4 Qf7 5.Nf5 Kh8 6.Ng5 Qe8 7.e6 when we reach the following position.
By looking a little deeper, White can obtain an excellent position even though he is material down.
White has two pawns for the piece, but Black controls the entrance squares and the defensive resource …Bd3.
Despite this the position favors White; nonetheless, both sides could easily find themselves in a lost position with the slightest inaccuracy.
Finding the best chess moves to win games isn’t easy, but this challenge is why chess captivates so many. The initiative is a crucial element in winning chess games, and the best way to keep the initiative is to play forcing moves.
Keep your opponent reacting to your forcing moves, and he will have no time to find the best chess moves to win the game.
Follow IM Kavutskiy’s advice to look a little deeper, and expect to find good tactics. This will give you the edge over your opponents in your chess games.
Click here to get instant access to IM Kavutskiy’s Forcing Moves Force Wins at half price! Forcing Moves Force Wins teaches you much more than only overcoming your internal resistance. You’ll learn how to spot tactical opportunities, reverse engineer tactics that don’t seem to work, and become an unstoppable winning machine.