Importance of visualization for a chess player and how to train it

Those of you, who follow me on Twitter (@petrs), may remember I attended a training session with a GM a few weeks ago. It was very interesting, not only about chess itself but also about psychological and other aspects of the game. One of lessons was about importance of  visualization for a chess player. I really liked it and I would like to share some ideas with you, guys.

I hope that everyone agrees that visualization is important for us. It is one of basic stones of our chess skills and it is necessary for our tactical capabilities. But how to train it?

Very good method with great results is this one:
– write the position right before an easy combination of mate-in-two on the paper (see the example below)
– place a clear board on the table
– try to imagine where all the pieces are placed on the board WITHOUT placing them there in reality. Just in your mind
– try to find the best continuation/solutions
– if you are not able to see it place two pieces (it is up to you which ones you chose to place) on the board and repeat the previous step
– repeat previous two steps until you find the solution

Of course, you should try to find the solution with as few as possible pieces on the board.

I hope you understand the principle of this method.

Let’s try it in reality.

The position to be solved is this:
White: Kg1, Qf6, Rd1, Re5, Bb2, pawns a2, b3, c4, f2, g2, h2
Black: Kg8, Qd8, Rc8, Rf8, Bb7, pawns a7, b6, d5, e6, f7, g6, h5
White to move and win. Please, write your solution under the article. And do not cheat ;)
Empty chess board

Another good method how to train visualization skill is to play chess blindfold. Or to take a chess book and play a game from diagram to diagram without chess board.

How do you train your visualization skills? Do you have a favorite method for it? Please, share it with us in the comments section below.


  1. Rob April 1, 2010
  2. Sean Clark April 2, 2010
  3. Barry Phillips April 14, 2010
  4. P.N.John December 26, 2010
  5. Russ Bastable February 21, 2011
  6. Uri Blass March 30, 2011
  7. Louis November 23, 2012
  8. Chris July 15, 2014
  9. Chris July 15, 2014
  10. leo February 27, 2017
  11. Erick May 23, 2019
  12. peter kremmer August 12, 2019

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