This position looks unclear. Every experienced chess players have heard that phrase at least a few times in their career.
Like many other things in life, chess is a complicated game. There are different approaches to different situations.
But that is what makes the game fun and interesting. By constantly looking at a convoluted puzzle, we will subconsciously find new ideas over time.
Four-time U.S. Champion Hikaru Nakamura is someone who loves to create complex positions out of nowhere and then constantly cause new problems for his opponents until they lose the thread.
I was watching the game Holt – Nakamura at the 2015 U.S. championship. Computers kept saying white’s position was much better, but by looking at Conrad’s body language, he never felt that way.
Rather it was Naka, who continued to show his confidence. Even though objectively he had a worse position, he kept putting more pressure and later on, Conrad blundered in time trouble.
Get used to the un-comfort zone – Make decisions to take chances
When I was playing, I often would search for clear paths, rather than to complicate the positions. I had the habit of looking for familiar patterns, and make decisions based on what I already knew.
I looked at the position objectively too often. I would forget that my opponent sitting across me is having just as many trouble accessing the position.
Now I know if I play chess again, I will be searching for chaos and unclear positions.
We tend to avoid chaos, but sometimes we should embrace uncertainties. That’s where the opportunities are.
Learn to dance in the rain. Thrive in chaos.