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!

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► 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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240 Comments

  1. ► 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

  2. Awesome timing of this video 👌👍😊
    Truly appreciate your help.

  3. What openings would recomend me to play at 1450 elo level?

  4. puzzle 2 pawn did not have to capture another variation was to move king

  5. Final position is interesting. Looks like a Sicilian, Sozin variation where Black has played …b4 to chase away the Nc3 and then grab on e4. The solution is quite fun: 1.Nc7+! (forcing move, King cannot move) Qxc7 2.Bxf7+! (forcing move, again only one reply) Kxf7 3.Qd5#.

    Interestingly, I think Black saw this. In the diagram, the last move was Qc7-c6, trying to cover d5. It looks like Black could just take the knight with …axb5, but that would allow Bxf7+ and Qd5# immediately. So Black saw the threat and tried to stop it, but 1.Nc7+! pulls the Queen away from d5 immediately. Must have been very satisfying to play as White!

  6. bishop takes f7, king takes and then with queen h5 is check-mate whatever he does. if he block with the pawn we just take it and mate with the rook in the back rank. I am not sure if it is correct, because this is what I saw at first glance.

  7. 11:26 In Tip-4 task there is mistake! Black King can escape. Qg3-g6, Re7-f7. Bh6:g7+, Kf8-e7 and he has escaped 🙂

  8. Final Puzzle Solution: 1. Qd4 Qxd4 2. Nx3#. else 2. Qxf7#

  9. Thank you so much for this lesson GM Igor

  10. Man, why are all the puzzles in the Sicilian Defence nowadays…
    Anyways, to keep it short:
    1. Nc7+ Qxc7 2. Bxf7+ Kxd7 3. Qd5#
    I tried calculating 2. Qd5 immediatly but that fails to 2… Nxg5!, and if 3. Qxa1 I think there is 3… Nf6 trapping the queen and the game is even if not black is better

  11. Just Some Boy Probably Dressed in Corduroy says:

    Thanks for the great video!
    Solution to final puzzle: 1.Nc7+ Qxc7 2.Bxf7+ Kxf7 3.Qd5+ Ke8 4.Qe6+ Be7 5.Qxe7#
    I used all your tips to solve it! (I hope I'm correct.)

  12. Hey, I figured em all out ! Where's my cookie ?

  13. My solution is Nc7+, Qxc7, Bxf7+, Kxf7, Qd5#

  14. On puzzle 1 I did not evaluate the pieces, I just looked for mate, saw what was prevented it and required removal. Maybe I will do that piece evaluation if I get better.

  15. Στάθης Κωνσταντίνου says:

    at puzzle 3 I immediately saw that g4 traps the knight and didn't even bother calculating Rxh5 lol

  16. lovely puzzle. 1. Nc7+ Qc7 (only move), 2. Bf7+ Kf7(only move), 3. Qd5+ Ke1(only move), 4. Qe6+ Be7+(only move), 5.Qe7++

  17. In the first position if knight takes knight then Qxh7 is fcking checkmate 😢🤣🤣🤣🤣

  18. The solution to the puzzle at the end of the video is as follows:
    1.Nc7+ Qxc7; 2.Bxf7+ Kxf7; 3.Qd5+ Ke8; 4.Qe6+ Be7; 5. Qxe7 mate.
    I'm happy to say that I solved all the problems quickly. I must be getting better. Thanks, Igor.

  19. Just discovered your channel and I've been watching it for couple of days. Tomorrow I have local tournment that I'm looking forward to. As a 1200 player I will try and beat 1600s there. İt's probably unlikely but thanks to your incredible commentary and videos I feel like atleast I can try. Thanks ^^

  20. Qd5 move wins. protects knight and threatens to take black queen. only move is to take white queen, then knight move checkmates black king.

  21. Q d5 force to capture queen then knight c7 check mate

  22. I spent 5min calculating Bxf7 Kxf7 Qh5 g6 fxg6 Kg7 Rf7 Kg8 gxh7 Rxh7( king cant take on f7 its protected by the queen) and qh7 mate.

    I was stumped by Bxf7 Kxf7 Qh5 g6 fxg6 Kg8 and idk because after gxh7 Rxh7 i guess we are lost. Opened the comments to find some mates in 3😂

  23. qh5 move to threaten checkmate with light square bishop. blocks with pg6, take with pf5 to g6, almost looks like black gets away but bishop threatens checkmate and rook at f1 has an open file to the pawn at f7.

  24. I learn a lot from this channel and it is the BEST teaching channel on YT. Thanks Igor!

  25. 1. Nc7, QxC7 (forced)
    2. Bxf7, kxf7 (forced)
    3. Qd5+, ke8 (forced)
    4. Qe6#

  26. In Example-4, if after Qg6, Black plays Bd7 (instead of Nde5), then how can White Checkmate Black?

    Final puzzle (Example-6) possible solution,
    …Nc7+ Qxc7, Bxf7 Kxf7, Qd5+ Ke8, Qe6+ Be7, Qxe7#!

  27. Nc7+, queen takes, Bf7+, king takes, queen d5 mate. Cool puzzle!

  28. My answer to the puzzle
    1.Nc7+ Qxc7
    2. Bxf7+ Kfx7
    3. Qd5+ Ke8
    4. Qe6+ Be7
    5. Qe7#

  29. In the first position, if I'm not wrong, Nxg3 isn't followed by the queen taking back, but by Qxh7#.

  30. Puzzle: I will play white Qxd5, Black will be forced to take my queen with his queen, then giving me a chance to checkmate playing white KxC7.

  31. the second example is kind of cooperative. there is a lot of to calculate and evaluate after 1) B:h6 f5! Engine says +3 but you sac a piece for attack and it is not that easy to evaluate (i have found B:h6 and was trying to understand what should i do after f5)
    Spoiler to the last puzzle below
    .
    .
    .
    1) Nc6+ Q:c6
    2) Bf7+ K:f7
    3) Qd5+ Ke8
    4) Qe6#

  32. I got the first 5 puzzle’s good as a 1500 😊

  33. 1.KC6, QXC6 2.BXF7 CK, KXF7 3.QD5 CK, KE8 4.QE6 MATE.

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