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Nothing is Automatic in Chess

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One of the best bad habits to break early on in your chess career is the tendency to rush through "automatic" recaptures. Sure, even strong players will do this sometimes in blitz games or during time trouble, but that's due to their experience and the requirements of the time control they're dealing with. And even for them, this can sometimes lead to surprising errors.

Remember, nothing in chess is automatic. If an opponent's move has given you options, at least check to see if any of them are reasonable. Often, novices and students miss something as common as a second or third way to recapture a piece - and the alternative they missed may have been a much better move. But remember, it's often possible to respond to a capture by capturing somewhere else, or by making a large threat as an in-between move before taking back your piece. In rare cases, you may even be able to shock your opponent by ignoring the capture entirely, as you can gain a decisive advantage elsewhere on the board.

Remember: always know what your options are before you move. It's okay to make a bad move, but there's no real excuse for never figuring out what your options were in the first place!

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