Hello Dear Readers,

There are times when a chess player simply *knows* the right move or plan in a certain position, which is neither based on calculation nor based on theoretical preparation. It is by means of pattern recognition that in such cases the player realizes that a certain move or a certain plan is suitable for the position.

**Pattern recognition** plays a huge role in over-the-board decision making. When we look at a master game, there are new patterns that we learn, which are stored in our subconscious mind. These patterns then come in handy when we reach a similar type of position in our own games, and we know automatically, due to our understanding of such patterns, the right move or plan in that position.

*We know more than we think we do*, largely because of the role our subconscious mind plays in decision making, which acts as a data-bank for information. This information (patterns in our case) is retrieved at the right moment.

**Elite players have a very good understanding of patterns**, which is why a lot of moves come automatically to them. A good understanding of patterns makes decision making easier, as it limits the amount of calculation you need to do. Pattern recognition plays an integral part in enriching a chess player’s *intuition.*

Imagine how much more difficult math would be if we had to come up with all the formulas ourselves. It took mathematicians lots and lots of years to develop these formulas. It is the same with Chess.

**Patterns in Chess are akin to such formulas**, which took a great deal of time for the players of the past to come up with – Chess becomes way more difficult if we don’t know these patterns, as then we would have to calculate everything, just like a computer.

A very good way to improve our understanding of patterns is by going through a lot of master games. The time spent on such work never goes wasted, and the player will reap its benefits at the right time.

**Mark Dvoretsky** suggested in his book ‘**Secrets of Chess training**’ to maintain a ‘positional sketch’ – a collection of fragments of games, or positions, where an interesting pattern was observed.

In this series, we will be going through some instructive patterns that were displayed in classical games. Hopefully, this will be of help to the readers in improving their pattern recognition.

A nice example of a renowned tactical pattern is *Lasker’s double bishop sacrifice.*