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Preventing Oversights

In chess, total concentration is important in order to prevent oversights. To maintain focus, some players put earplugs in their ears. That could work but the best way still is discipline. Write down your intended move before playing it. Ask yourself, are you moving into an attacked square? Are you leaving anything undefended? Are you offering an exchange that would only lose you the game? What is his best reply?

Don't relax after obtaining a winning position. Seemingly hopeless positions may contain one last sting to it. Relax and you may fall right into it. Good players work just as hard to convert a winning position into a victory as they did to get to the winning position in the first place. It ain't over 'til it's over.

Avoid risky play. Risky moves can backfire. Keep your opponent as helpless as possible. If you have a permanent advantage, take the time to stop any potential counterplay. If possible, take your opponent's weapons away from him, so he can't stab you in the back. Part of your plan must be the prevention of his goals.

Take your time. Don't rush. Don't make automatic responses. If you do, you develop a slipshod approach that could carry over to more serious contests and cost you dearly. Be constantly alert for your opponent's tactical threats.

"If the advantage is not going away, kill the
enemy's counterplay chances first. Then you
will be free to pursue your dreams."

- Yasser Seirawan


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