One of the simplest is to insist on analysing only forcing variations. It is easy to overlook an effective quiet move at the end of a long, forced sequence. Once you have slipped into the groove of looking at moves containing heavy threats, it can be difficult to move back into more positional mode.
Taking this a stage further, it is surprisingly easy not to play a very strong move - but one with no direct threat - simply because you can't find a decent reply for your opponent. If you can't find a move for him, you can't analyse it, so you move on to something else.
Jon Speelman is too strong and imaginative a player to fall into such lazy thinking habits, but the finish of his game as Black against Eric Lobron in Berlin this year gives a good illustration of the temptations. It was Black to play in the diagram position. With two pieces for a rook, and an exposed white king, Black is clearly winning, but how to finish it off?
The natural thing to look at is 1...Rb1+ 2.Kg2 Qb2+ 3.Kh3 (3.Kf3 g4+ 4.Ke3 Qd4+ leads to a quick mate) 3...g4+ 4.Kh4, but now what? After 4...Rxh1 5.Rxh1 Qg2, White defends with 6.Qe1. Black cannot get his queen on to the c1-h6 diagonal to mate on h6.
There is no good forcing move after 4.Kh4, but Speelman found the devastating 4...h6! Now 5.Rxb2 Rxh1+ is mate next move, while 5.Qd8 Rxh1 6.Rxh1 Qg2 leaves White defenceless. Meanwhile, Black even threatens 5...Qg2! In the face of all this, White resigned.Reuse content