Have you ever had a moment when your opponent just made a move, and you realized ‘Oh no, what happened?’
I had that moment many times while playing chess. And this happens to even the best players once in a while.
In the position above, Karpov (yes, Anatoly Karpov, the former world chess champion), playing white, played Rook captures f7 pawn (Rxf7) on his move, and resigned right after black took white’s queen on d3 with the pawn.
When I go to a beginner’s tournament, this types of mistakes happen all the time. Kids and adults alike blame on the mishap, and wondering what could or should have happened in their games.
This is where we can improve our game, especially at the early stage.
If a player can reduce majority of his or her own ‘Oh No’ moments, and capitalize on opponent’s ‘Oh No’ moments, then crossing US Chess Rating 500 or even higher ratings would be a walk in the park.
But this skill takes practice and patience, a player might make the mistake hundreds of times before it becomes second nature. This is why we want to play many practice games and solve many puzzles at home, study with a coach or chess computer engine. So when the tournament time comes, we are a few steps ahead of the competition.
Two bonus puzzles: Why are these the ‘Oh No’ moments for white pieces? Can you find the answers?
After white’s move indicated by the arrow. Black will checkmate (thus win the game) in one move.
After white’s move indicated by the arrow. Black will win white’s queen by Fork.