Once: <PJs Studio: ... I took an extra minute and said the moves out loud.>
That's a really interesting statement. I've often wondered if sound plays more of a part in chess games than we sometimes realise. That probably sounds odd for a game largely played in silence, so I'd better explain.
A number of GMs say that we should talk to the pieces. Yasser Seirawan, I think, for one. Ask each piece where it wants to go and what it wants to do.
There's also a hidden rhythm to a chess game, almost as if it was a piece of music. Good players know when it is time to move from development to an attack, which is analogous to a piece of music moving from an introduction to the main theme - knowing when to bring the prelude to a close in an orchestral piece or in rawk and rowl, knowing when to end the twiddly geetar intro and get the drummer started pounding out the beat.
Talking to yourself can also help to identify what you ought to be doing next, especially if it involves overworked pieces.
Take today's POTD, for example. As we are casting around for a move, our inner dialogue might go something like this:
"Bxe3 would be mate if it wasn't for Qxe3."
"Qf1 would be mate if it wasn't for Qxf1."
"Rd8 would be mate if it wasn't for Nxd1 or Qxd1."
Saying it out loud helps us to realise that the white queen keeps cropping up in the conversation. This piece is doing most of the work to defend the white position - she's the one that everyone is talking about.
This level of attention would be fabulous if you were Lady Gaga, but is not so relevant for a caissic regal terminatrix. It sounds like she's nearly overworked...
And what do we do with a nearly overworked piece? We give it more work to do, until it cracks.
Let's try 18...Bxe3 19. Qxe3. Nope, that doesn't work. The Ra1 defends both d1 and f1. We have succeeded in deflecting the white queen but we haven't overloaded her. If anything, we've helped white to bring an extra piece into the defence.
The other overworking move is 18...Rd1+. Now this is more like it! White either has to move the queen or recapture the rook with the Nc3, which blocks the white queen from defending f1.
So one way to find the solution today is to ask the white queen what she doesn't want - the anti spice girls question. She might say that she's got far too much to do and really doesn't want another job.
The other way to solve this is by asking the white king what he doesn't want. He is stalemated at the start of the puzzle and so doesn't want another check. So, as we know, the tried and tested way of exploiting a stalemated king is to check, check, check until dead. And it doesn't take long working our way through the list of checks available to black to find the one that kills.
Odd that chess should be both a quiet game and a noisy one. Who would have thunk it? You just have to practise saying the words in your head and without moving your lips.