05 August 2012

The importance of CCT: example #1 - Biel round 1

When constructing a practical thinking process, I used as a centerpiece Checks, Captures and Threats (CCT).  This simple idea - beginning any search for candidate moves with these three categories of forcing moves, in the order presented - in fact can have a huge impact on your ability to find "hidden" or non-obvious move possibilities in a position.  CCT should therefore be applied both to identifying your opponent's possible threats (ideally right after he/she moves) and to your own candidate move selection.  The previous linked post goes into more detail on the overall thinking process, for those interested.

Of course, a thinking process is only effective if it's actually used.  Some of my recent games have reinforced this fact to me, as it's all too easy to fall back into bad old habits of only actively considering "natural" appearing moves and not looking past things like "obvious recaptures" as occurred in Annotated Game #57.  Breaking old (bad) habits is only possible by constructing new (good) ones to replace them, so I'm making an effort to consciously apply the thinking process and especially CCT.  Missing good opportunities for onself (or an opponent's threats) is otherwise all too easy.

Being dismissive of the need, or simply being too mentally lazy to apply CCT, has been an issue for me in the past.  One of the ways I'm trying to combat this tendency is by selecting professional examples of where the use of CCT would have changed the outcome of a game.  It's also a useful reminder for the improving player that sometimes failure does not mean you are doomed to chess purgatory forever; even the top levels of professional chess are susceptible periodically to making these types of errors.

The first example is the following game from round 1 of the recently-completed Super-GM level Biel tournament.  Watch what happens on move 33, when it becomes obvious that neither Morozevich nor Giri had done the first C in CCT.  Morozevich would have immediately obtained a winning advantage by playing the only check available to him on the board, had he considered the move.

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