What does your mental landscape look like while playing chess?

What does it look like inside your head when you’re analyzing a chess game? Do imagine the squares or pieces in different colors or shapes depending on territory or threat? Do you separate the board mentally into subgroups, or visualize the attack pattern of the knight with a mental trick? Do you imagine a battle-chess style duel with each capture? Are you mentally going down a checklist at each move to find the next?

I’m a mediocre player (1500 lichess) and mainly see the board as it is on the screen, and kind of visualize future moves almost like a quick slide show, it’s easy to lose my place and hard to get more than 3-5 moves in the future without starting over from the existing positions. I’m starting to pay a lot more attention to the empty squares, and potential threat and value, but I don’t do anything special mentally to keep those things in the forefront of my thought.

Grandmasters memorize games, if not easily, much more quickly and better than an average player could. And all players have things they see beyond the current shape of the board. One of the beautiful things about chess is the sheer amount of depth and potential in almost every position. I wonder if these players, and other players in general, have mental tricks or techniques they use to see the board. Let us know what it looks like inside your head! Include rating if you’d like!



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