By Chad Lieberman
A natural intuition can be very helpful during the course of a chess game. Not only will it make you a superior blitz (speed) player, but it will also help you to spot more readily the appropriate candidate moves in a longer tournament game.
No matter how many books you read about developing a plan in a chess game, the author will always point out the importance of candidate moves. When your opponent makes a move, you are faced with what can sometimes be a very difficult decision. While moves are relatively easy to find when they lead to forced mate or are part of some deep opening theory that you have learned, they can be much more difficult to spot in a positional middlegame situation.
"Candidates" are moves that are likely to be beneficial for your position. It is these, and only these, that the player must then assess and calculate. After all, you wouldn't want to analyze variations of every legal move! So, how do we find such candidates?
The best way is by instinct. It is the most time-efficient and, with much practice, is often correct. How do you develop this intuition?
Unlike some of the methods that chess journalists teach, this instinct can only come with experience. It is for this reason that I encourage all of my students and readers to play in as many tournaments as possible. If you lead a very busy life, however, it is even helpful to play through as many games as you can. Games can be found at a number of databases online as well as in computer software such as ChessBase 8.0.
Once you've developed this instinct, you will surely notice your tournament results improving.