#1 What is the threat?

Usually you win games by playing good moves. Or playing one really bad move less than your opponent. But a chess game revolves not only about our own moves. We have to consider what our opponent is trying to achieve.

Mature chess players possess important qualities such as recognizing and meeting threats in their chess games.

Of course this is something different than what is asked from us in for instance the usual chess puzzles. These puzzles train us to see things from our own perspective. The emphasize is on ‘our own’ possibilities.

Although it is great training to solve chess puzzles, they don’t help us to exercise more caution. On the contrary. At some moment you might start to look for a combination in any position! I hope the new series ‘what is the threat’ on this chess blog will be helpful. It certainly made me more aware of my opponents plans and threats.

I have to thank Dan Heisman for giving me the idea for this series. His fine book ‘Looking for trouble’ is very instructive and contains lots of good examples. Which I will not, for obvious reasons, repeat here.

The diagram position arose after black played 13. … Qa5 in the game between Etienne Bacrot and Alexander Morozevich (Oykovsky Karpov 2014).


What is black’s threat and how can white prevent any trouble?



The threat is…



White can easily prevent black’s threat with…?


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