It is impossible in this blog post to cover all of the "threats" that you need to be aware of in chess, but I have found two tricks for looking for mate-in-1 threats and tactical themes:
To find mate threats, pretend that you (or your opponent) can make two moves:
- Look for pieces that are currently attacking squares next to the king (helper). Can you add an attacker (hunter) to any of those squares that can give mate on the second move?
- Or vice versa – look for pieces that can currently give check (hunter) but who just need a helper.
To find tactics:
- Pretend you can pick up ANY piece, and place it on ANY square. Are there any queen forks on the board? Any rook pins? Bishop skewers? Knight forks? If so, look for ways to get your piece there.
So the next time you're running through your exercises or are doing Stoyko positions, give these ideas a shot. They have worked for me!