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In the board game Go, for instance, it is often of great importance whether or not a stone can be captured in a so-called "ladder" (an often complicated formation). One of the things that separates professionals from beginning and intermediate players is that professionals can solve with a glance a problem that others struggle with.

Are there similar "mechanics" in chess (most likely the end game), that amateurs would do well to learn to greatly improve their game? Examples might include the ability of a king, or other piece to "catch" a passed pawn; the ability of a king to gain the opposition against the opposing king halfway across the board; the minimum number of moves needed for a bishop or knight to reach a certain critical square, etc.

{ asked by Tom Au }


Good question, and I think that there are a lot of different common patterns/tactics that improving players would do well to learn:

(very roughly ordered from simplest to most difficult)

"Simple" tactics and endgames
Rook endgames
Piece relationships and domination
More complicated endgames
Tactics and mating patterns

Learning some basic mating patterns or typical tricks can be useful as well:

Well, that was a lot, please feel free to add or embellish this answer if you think of more patterns and tricks!

{ answered by Andrew }