The calculation is probably the most “sought after” skill that all strong players possess. At the club level calculation becomes even more important, as most games are decided by tactics. And it is no secret that calculation and tactics go hand in hand. Tiny improvement in the calculation allows you to easily leap into the next rating bracket, leaving your usual rivals far behind. It is a universal weapon that is present no matter what opening you are playing or whether you are up or down the material. Here are the 7 reasons you should start working on your calculation.
1. Instantly improves your tactics
Calculation and tactics go hand in hand. It’s not possible to be a good tactical player if you are lacking proper calculation skills. Even mate in 2 requires calculating two moves deep. Work on your calculation and tactics will automatically improve.
2. Makes you a much better attacking player
The ability to spot winning combinations, tactical elements while preventing your opponent from executing his plans are only a few benefits that calculation brings to the table. By “seeing” multiple moves ahead, you gain the ability to plan out your attack, eliminate your opponent’s defensive resources, and win the game.
3. Helps avoiding nasty surprises and blunders
Everyone hates losing that knight or a bishop just a few moves into the middlegame. Whatever it is, a tactical oversight or a carefully planned trap, enhancing your calculation will not only save your many games but even turn inevitable losses into brilliant victories.
4. Quickly boosts your rating
A chess player’s strength is greatly determined by his calculation ability. It’s not a coincidence that the strongest engine, AlphaZero calculates dozens of moves deep and all super-GMs are rock stars at calculating moves. Learn to calculate even a couple of moves deeper, and your rating will quickly just a few hundred points.
5. Makes you a powerhouse in the endgame
Hate studying endgames? Work on your calculation. Keeping all other things equal, consistently calculating just one move deeper than your opponent is usually sufficient to win the game. Of course, there are certain “theoretical endings” where book knowledge is required. But trust me, better calculation skills will make you a so much better endgame player!
6. Improves your decision making
It is a lot easier to make the correct decision when you can see what’s at the end of the road. In other words, if you can calculate till the end of the variation, chances are you’ll find a strong move. Calculation will become your compass, and it’ll make it much easier to navigate the “sea of chess pieces.”
7. Increases the quality of your moves
Calculation eliminates the guesswork. If you are good enough at calculating moves, you’ll need to rely on your intuition less, especially when it comes to precise and solvable positions. It’ll allow you to avoid many mistakes and “inaccurate” moves while keeping the quality of your moves high.
What to take your calculation skills to the next level?
In Calculation Masterclass, IM Erlend teaches you his unique calculation philosophy which blends intuition, forcing moves, and brute force into a tool for seeing more deeply into chess positions than you ever thought you could.