Improve Your Chess Rating by Understanding Board Vision Skills & Visualization

NM Dan Heisman again describes/defines the chess skill “board vision” and its relation to chess visualization. He gives examples of board vision using two GM games and then two board vision puzzles from IM Jon Levitt’s book Genius in Chess.

NM Dan Heisman has been a full-time chess instructor since 1996 and is the author of 12 chess books, the TV show “Q&A with Coach Heisman” on and the radio show “Ask the Renaissance Man” on the Internet Chess Club. Howard Stern was one of Dan’s students. Dan tries to answer comments on YouTube but for a quicker, more comprehensive answer (or questions about lessons), contact Dan via email, skype, or phone via Dan’s website . His Chess Tip of the Day is @danheisman on Twitter. #WinChess #ChessVisualization #ChessImprovement


  1. We are creatures who love a good story. If I understand this correctly, board vision is telling the story of the position. This is similar to how memory champions memorize long series of random number sequences … they build a story around it.

  2. Another useful video, Dan. Thanks. I got the first exercise wrong, but somehow I got the second one correct (in probably about 5 minutes).

  3. Board vision includes every little pattern you've learned, every relationship between the pieces. For example, at 9:44, in addition to Dan's examples, my board vision also shows me: 1. The pawn on c6 and the knight on c3 make a pattern–the pawn is three squares in front of the knight, stopping it from coming forward to b5 or d5; 2. the queen on e2 is seeing/protecting the pawn on e5 through the bishop; 3.White has luft, preventing later back-rank mates, Black doesn't; 4. White's knight on c3 and rook on a1 are undefended/loose, and Black has no loose pieces. All of these things flash through your mind quickly, and some are more important than others.

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