In most GM games, if one side loses a piece, he then resigns. In most tactical puzzles, if you win a piece the puzzle ends. In a real game, though, your opponent might play on. That’s perfectly in his or her right, and that can lead to some practical difficulties.
I have seen many amateurs, myself included, struggle when up material, even a whole piece. Somehow, even though you know you should be winning, it doesn’t feel that way. Things aren’t so simple. If you know the general strategy of simplifying into the ending, though, then things can become very simple.
That’s what happened in today’s game. I won a piece very early on, and then spent the rest of the game single-mindedly focused on the endgame. In the end, it was a pretty easy win. Let’s take a look. Continue reading
In some ways, the game today is fairly simple. It’s ten moves and Black hangs a piece. GG.
This is true, but it isn’t the whole story. Black didn’t hang his piece randomly. He had a plan, and his first few moves were standard, and he played a standard central break. Things seemed fine on the surface, but if you look deeper, Black’s position was actually terrible. Why? Because Black didn’t follow opening principles. He moves a piece twice in the opening, and though it looked harmless, it basically brought him swift defeat.
Let’s take a look at how deep opening principles can take us. Continue reading
The game I’m about to share isn’t especially interesting. My opponent made a silly mistake, losing a pawn, then a sillier mistake, losing a piece. That’s about it.
Rather than trying to explain advanced strategy or positional nuances behind unforced blunders, I have instead annotated this game for beginners. It has lots of commentary, few variations and a constant stream of what I’m thinking on most moves as well as my goals. I hope it’s useful for you improving players.
So, without further adieu, let’s take a look. Continue reading
On my chess.com account, I currently have 8 losses out of just over 100 games. I should have many more, but I have a few miracle draws and swindles to my name. The one I show today, though, might take the cake.
I should have known this game would be a tragicomedy when, somehow, I ended up playing the French defence. I play well and win a pawn … and then I start hallucinating and think White has major threats. I overreact to these threats, and the next thing you know I’m in a losing endgame where White is up several pawns, one of which is two moves from Queening and mating.
And I escape. Beware, I evidently possess dark mystical powers, because that’s the best explanation for what you are about to witness. Continue reading
Up until now, you might accuse me of being a show-off, as my blog has only featured my best games of chess. Sure, I have posted a few losses, but they have been ‘good’ loses, where I play well but my opponent plays better. In no games have I been flatly outplayed.
That all changes today. Watch me make about eighteen thousand mistakes and get thoroughly manhandled … by a 1300 player. It was a miracle I didn’t lose.
There were many reasons for my poor performance. This was only my seventh game since getting back into chess, so I was rusty. It was a French defence, perhaps my least favourite and least studied opening. Simply put, though, I wasn’t a 2000-level player back in 2015, and on my worse days I was well below that.
Though it’s only 25 moves, this will be a long analysis, simply because of the huge amount of mistakes. Buckle up and witness me at my worst. Continue reading
Here’s a fundamental truth about chess: most games are decided by blunders. This is very obvious when you watch beginners. They miss simple threats every few moves. What people don’t realize, though, is how even intermediate and advanced players blunder frequently.
A 1700-player is better than a 1200-player, obviously, and so won’t make the same type of blunders. Mr.1700 likely won’t just hang a piece. If you put pressure on him, though, if you make him uncomfortable, then the blunders happen first and furious. If you want to force blunders, then you need to learn how to apply this pressure.
Bobby Fischer said, “Tactics flow from a superior position.” The inverse is true with blunders. If you have a really good position, it’s really hard to blunder; if your position is terrible, then blunders are almost inevitable. In this game, I set up a dangerous-looking attacking position, and my opponent then blundered almost immediately. Let’s take a look. Continue reading
This is my best chess game; it is my worst chess game. It features beautiful tactics; it features devastating blunders. It’s a positional masterpiece; it’s a positional clusterbomb. I won this game; I lost this game. It shows how close I am to chess masterhood; it shows how far I still need to go.
This following chess game is probably the most important one I’ve ever played in terms of my own chess development. If I ever get a chance to write a book of my own games, this will be number one. It is my whole chess persona in a nutshell.
I’ve written about this game before: here and here and here. I’ve never analyzed it. I’ve been afraid, afraid that I really did play 20 perfect moves and then threw it all away in one moment of … I don’t even know what to call it. Overconfidence? Blindness? Stupidity? A subconscious tendency towards self-destruction?
This game was played back in April. My opponent was a Fide Master with an official OTB rating of 2300. I have an online rating of 2000. I should have been destroyed … and instead I played the game of my life, in every way possible. Let’s take a look. Continue reading