In chess, there are a lot of important terms that you will hear but not all of them are always explained to you.
This can sometimes cause confusion amongst players and spectators and so, it’s important that you learn what each term and phrase means so you can fully understand what is happening during a game of chess.
One such term is ‘blunder’ – which is used in everyday English as another word for a ‘mistake’ but in chess, this word takes on a more specific meaning.
So, what is a blunder in chess?
Here we are going to find out what a blunder in chess is, how it differs from a mistake, and how you can avoid them during your own games.
What Is A Blunder In Chess?
A blunder in chess shares a very similar meaning to the word itself as both refer to a ‘disastrous’ mistake.
Specifically in chess, however, a blunder is the term used for a mistake that drastically affects the player’s position in a negative way.
Most blunders eventually lead to the player either losing a very important piece of their set or to even being checkmated, thus they lose the game.
Sometimes, a player can comeback from a blunder but it usually puts them at a huge disadvantage and greatly improves their opponent’s chances of victory.
However, missing the opportunity to capitalize on an opponent’s mistake or blunder is also described as a blunder in itself even though it does not necessarily put the player at a disadvantage – it just means they missed a huge chance to gain an advantage.
All it takes is a single blunder for a chess player to go from dominating the game to closing.
This is why when learning to play chess, a lot of emphasis is placed on avoiding blunders.
However, no one is perfect and now and again, you can expect to make a blunder from time to time. Even some professional players still make blunders!
So, basically, a blunder is the phrase used to describe a huge mistake on the part of the player that could potentially cost them the game.
Chess Terminology: Blunder Vs. Mistake
While in normal English language, blunder and mistake are sometimes used interchangeably, in chess they refer to two different things.
As we mentioned earlier, a blunder is the name given to huge mistakes that can cost the player a victory but another term often used is ‘mistake’.
Naturally, some people assume that these two terms refer to the same thing when in chess, they do not.
A mistake is the term given to small errors that can eventually be overcome.
These could be positional errors or misjudgments, and a player can even make multiple mistakes in a single game.
Mistakes do not usually cost the player the victory which is why they are considered far more minor than blunders.
Blunders, on the other hand, are far more devastating.
They usually have immediate effects on the game, while a player will keep suffering for a mistake for a few turns as the game progresses.
Blunders can lead to instant defeat and can be caused by carelessness or loss of focus, so they are also easily preventable.
Meanwhile, mistakes are moves that probably could not have been preventable if the player concentrated more.
So, there are actually quite a few differences between blunders and mistakes that make them two very different terms in chess.
Mistakes are almost non-preventable misjudgments that can be worked back from, while a blunder usually results in a near immediate loss.
How To Avoid Blunders In Chess
Making a blunder is one way you can completely lose a game of chess so it’s super important that you avoid making them.
However, it’s much easier to say ‘don’t make a blunder’ than it is to actually do, so here are some great tips you can follow to try and avoid making blunders of your own in future games.
The first tip is to always, always do a tactics check before you move. This is a pretty basic tip but it’s amazing how many players fail to do this before finalizing a move.
All you have to do is imagine how all the other pieces can move before you move the piece you want to play.
This way, you can check for any captures, attacks, and checks against your pieces and avoid making any blunders that could cost you a win or prized piece.
Some players will just move a piece without realizing that they have left a piece open to an attack or capture by their opponent.
Whether this blunder is through carelessness or cockiness, it doesn’t matter – just avoid doing the same by doing a tactics check before every move you make.
The second trick is to avoid making assumptions.
Assumptions lead to mis-evaluation, so don’t just assume that this move will improve your advantage or assume that your opponent has no attack on that side of the board.
This is where tactics checks come in handy – so always look at the board overall before you make your move.
And finally, try and deduce why your opponent has made the move they have.
In a game like chess, every move matters so you need to try and work out why your opponent has chosen to move that specific piece to that specific square.
This can help you work out their defending and attack strategies and how you can use that to your advantage.
Although we use the term ‘blunder’ in our everyday speech, the term has a very specific meaning in chess that many fail to realize.
Blunders are basically huge mistakes made in chess that can cost a player the game and thus, they should be avoided at all costs.
Tips to avoid making blunders of your own is to be careful, focus, and don’t be careless – and if your opponent makes a blunder, take the opportunity and snatch your win!