How to "analyze" enemy moves?

by Andi

Hi admin.

Someone said you must know what the enemy thinking, Yeah, By looking at their information and such.

My question is how to examine enemy movement quickly? I don't want to stay too long because just need to 'predict' enemy moves.

I often lose to my friend just because "I don't see that coming"

- How to see enemy strategy quickly?
- How to know what is enemy thinking/strategies?
- Is this really necessary?

Hi Andy,
this is a very complex question.

Understand the last Move
Mainly you observe the last move of your opponent and try to figure out what he wants.
Forget about the opponent but LOOK AT THE BOARD.

The Position contains everything
The position itself contains all you need to know.
If you understand the position then you understand the game and you understand your opponent.
Increase your awareness in chess and learn little but important chess ideas, chess concepts and right chess thinking. This has nothing to do with the opponent.

Work out and understand the Position
For example he might move his knight to a specific square close to your king and this strong knight will form the base for a future dangerous attack that is about to come soon if you don't stop additional pieces from penetrating to your king side. Most of the time you attack and eliminate this knight or chase it away.

Situations like this occur all the time. Always make sure you understand your opponents last move.

REDUCE Activity Levels
Try to restrict the activity levels of the opponent's pieces. If his pieces can go to strong squares try to protect these squares beforehand.

You have to think ahead. If you don't, you get overrun quickly.

INCREASE Activity Levels
Keep improving the activity levels of each of your own pieces. Look which piece of yours is badly placed and move it to a more active square towards the center. There are many little chess ideas you have to apply. These small advantages will accumulate and help you to get the better position in the long run.

Soon you will discover that your position is more active than your opponents position. Then the time is ready to look for combinations that win material or will start a deadly attack at the king side.

How to analyze Moves?
I give you examples below:

chess moves
White moves. He trades pawns (axb) here because Black has to capture AWAY from the center. This will remove the black c6-pawn and the white bishop-g2 becomes MORE ACTIVE in the LONG RUN as it hits right through to a8.
Furthermore the a-file will open up and the black a-pawn will be attacked by the white rook. This means the a-pawn BECOMES WEAK and has to be constantly protected by Black's pieces in the future. This will reduce the flexibility of Blacks pieces.

chess moves
Black moves and retreats his bishop of course, but to g5. (...Bg5) Why?
Reason: Black wants to trade his INACTIVE bishop for the ACTIVE bishop from White.
Why is Blacks bishop INACTIVE? The black center pawns are sitting on BLACK squares (e5,d6) This reduces the power level of Black's bishop. The white bishop on e3 is ACTIVE because the white center pawns are sitting on white squares (f3, e4, d5) but the white bishop moves on black squares so he is not blocked by his own pawns.

This means that White's bishop-e3 is a GOOD bishop. And Black's bishop-h4 is a BAD bishop. That's why Black tries to trade his BAD bishop for the GOOD bishop and plays ...Bg5. This is good business, to trade something that is bad for something that is good.

chess moves
Black moves and wants to WEAKEN the white kingside. He gives a check ...Bh4+ to PROVOKE the weakening move g3. After that the bishop retreats of course, but the weakened pawn structure at the white kingside remains PERMANENT.

chess moves
White moves and foresees that a black knight will penetrate to d4 sooner or later, so he stops this idea and plays his c-pawn to c3 to control the vital center square d4.

chess moves
Always attack, trade or dissolve structures that have already advanced into your territory. The white pawn d5 is an advanced stronghold and it should be attacked and traded versus the black c-pawn because the c-pawn is not doing anything (unemployed). This will open up the c-file and your queen can go to b6 if necessary.

chess moves
White pushes his e-pawn to e5 to BLOCK and REDUCE the activity level of the black bishop-g7. It is locked in then and he will be inactive along the diagonal a1-h8 as he cannot jump over the e-pawn. Simple as that...

chess moves
White moves and plays Be3, this wins a knight because Black cannot protect the knight one more time. Why? The reason is that White has played e5 a few moves before and this has locked in the black bishop that would otherwise protect the black knight at d4. Can you see now that each little move is vital for success. If White would not have pushed the e-pawn to e5 a few moves earlier to block the black bishop-g7 then this move Be3 would not be winning a piece.

chess moves
White CHASES away the centralized black knight and plays f4. This will reduce the power of the black knight somewhat but White can also play e5 after this to lock in the bishop at g7 AND increase the power of the white bishop at g2 which will hit right through to a8!

chess moves
White attacks the bishop playing h3. Now Black has to retreat his bishop or trade it for a knight which is not good because bishops are slightly better in open positions than knights. If Black trades his bishop for a knight than White should be happy.

chess moves
White moves. His bishop-c1 is locked in by the knight so he should play his knight to c4. After that his bishop can move out if desired. A knight at c4 is well placed in the center as it can retreat to the center square e3 if attacked from where it controls the vital center square d5.

chess moves
White moves and retreats his knight to e3 (Ne3) from where it controls d5.

chess moves
White moves and goes into the center again playing knight to c4 (Nc4) where it is actively placed. It might retreat to e3 if attacked.

chess moves
White moves and plays his knight to the top center square d5. (Nd5) This is a DREAM position for a knight. It attacks the queen also but this is of minor importance. We want to IMPROVE the knight and that's it. The opponent is not stupid and will just move away with his queen.

chess moves
Black moves and plays his badly placed knight right into the center Nc5. Now White has something to think about because it is not advisable to trade BISHOP FOR KNIGHT. Then the white bishop would disappear and the BLACK squares would become WEAK.

chess moves
White retreats his knight to the best square in this particular situation and plays Ne3. From there it could go to d5 later on.

chess moves
White has to move his knight and goes to f4 because this is a WEAK square and the knight is sitting near the enemy king which is quite dangerous.

chess moves
White recaptures now with his queen (QxB) because to make room for his rook to go to d1. This rook will control the OPEN d-file later on.

chess moves
White makes the USEFUL move Re1. The rook will work along the e-file which might be opened later on. The rook has an eye on the black e5-pawn in case Black pushes his d-pawn ahead. (...d5) After this White would trade pawns (exd) and the rook will become active and attacks the black e5-pawn.

I hope this helps.

Comments for How to "analyze" enemy moves?

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May 11, 2018
by: William

thanks bro for your answer.. got it

May 05, 2018
To: William
by: Anonymous

There is no huge benefit for black in the 3rd example after provoking the move g3. The position is still about even.

The move 1...Bh4+ is just a positional idea. You can play it or play something else.

You could also play 1...Nc5 or 1...Bg5 instead...

The variation with 1..Bh4+ goes like this: 1...Bh4+ 2.g3 Bg5 (to trade your bad bishop for White's good bishop.) 3.Bf2 (White refuses to trade) Qf6 4.Nc1 Qh6 5.h4 Be3 and you can see that the f-pawn tends to be somewhat a bit weak.

Chess position

But the game is still even...

May 02, 2018
3rd example
by: William

thx for the answer.. I didn't see the huge benefit for black in the 3rd example at the time, maybe cause i see that knght is still blocking white's bishop in c1 square(if the goal is to control/occupying the h3 square after moving knight elsewhere)or furthermore to put the white's bishop on h3 square to prevent the opponent's king from castling.. is that true or there's any best continuations to exploit those weaknesses ?

May 01, 2018
To William
by: Anonymous

Hi William,

there are chess principles you should obey.
One of them is:

Every pawn move does weaken some squares.

If White plays g3 then the squares h3 and f3 become weak on principle.

This fact may or may not be a disadvantage for White in the future of the game. It just depends how the game evolves.

Apr 30, 2018
still confuse about 3rd example
by: William

Hallo.. nice article bro. btw i wanna asking your 3rd example of provoking
G2 pawns into g3 square.. after black bishop check white's king on h4.. i just confuse about the g3 moves that weakening white's kingside pawn structure
For me i don't see any weaknesses in that.. so could u tell me what's the point of weaknesses that can bring a benefit to black forces?

May 09, 2017
The fog lifts!
by: Gazzla

Igor-sensei (a respectful form of address I have picked up living in Japan for the past eight years).

I read elsewhere on your site that you should always strive, at the very least, to improve the position of your pieces, if a decisive tactical move is not identified, as incremental improvement pays dividends as the game progresses. But I didn't quite understand how to determine if a piece is poorly positioned, yet alone how to improve it.

The examples in this article provide simple, effective techniques for doing this. And more importantly, give an insight on how to analyse the structure and dynamics of both your and your opponent's pieces at every stage of the game.

Many thanks!

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