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How to Lose a Game in 10 Moves or Less. Pt 2

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jun 19, 2011
  • | 41974 views
  • | 68 comments

In the second part of the article we will continue to explore games where strong chess players (masters and grandmasters) lost their games in 10 moves or less. Today I want to discuss the most common reason (at least in my opinion) for quick opening catastrophes. It is more psychological in its nature. For many chess players an opening is not a real chess game yet. Since most players (especially strong ones) know openings very well, their thinking goes like this: let's finish the opening first (develop my pieces, castle, etc.) and then the real game of chess will begin.

It is a very popular and also a very dangerous misconception. If you ever attended a big open tournament (especially a scholastic one) then you probably heard what happens after a tournament director announces the start of the round and says 'Now you can start your clock.' The sound of the chess clocks being punched is deafening. People blitz out their opening moves hitting the clock almost instantly.

Indeed, what harm can happen in an opening which you know very well? Well, a lot! First of all even in a position that you played hundreds of times you can accidentally play a wrong move order or make some other silly mistakes which we analyzed in the first part of this article ("Paying no attention"). But most importantly, you can miss some tactics and lose instantly. Yes my dear readers, chess tactics can suddenly appear on the board even when your opponent has no developed pieces at all!  Here is a very good example:

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your tactical skills, so the game is given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move and see the annotations if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)

The Dutch GM playing Black probably felt confident in the position on the next diagram. It is just 7 moves from the start of the game and his dangerous opponent (ex-World Champion Tigran Petosian) hasn't really started his development yet, so nothing to be worried about, right?

 

 

So how can you be sure that you are not missing some sort of tactics early in the opening? Of course there is nothing that you can guarantee in chess (or our life for this matter, except death and taxes of course), but you can significantly reduce the risk of an early debacle by checking the potential warning signs.  So what are those warning signs that might indicate that tactics are about to appear on the board?

It is not rocket science, really, all you need is to remember that any tactic starts with forcing moves.  So, if you watch out for forcing moves of your opponent , it will significantly reduce the risk of falling for some unexpected combo.  So what are those forcing moves? We'll look at them one by one.

1) Checks.

Checks are the most powerful kind of forcing moves since it is simply illegal to ignore a check. Therefore, you force your opponent to do exactly what you want him to do. Or, as I always remind my students, any check can be a checkmate! This is a very basic concept, yet a Polish master forgot about it in the next game:

 

Even if a check doesn't lead to an immediate checkmate, the consequences can still be very drastic as a future Grandmaster learned in the next game:
2) Captures.
Even though captures are not as powerful as checks (after all, legally you can ignore any capture if it is not a check), they can be very unpleasant as well.
Just look what happened to an IM (who won the French championship the same year!) in the next game:
3) Threats.
Any move that threatens one of your pieces can be the start of a combination or a tactical maneuver. Remember that any fork or double attack starts with a simple threat. Or just imagine the horror if your opponent threatens a checkmate in one move and you have no defense.  'nuff said!
I suspect that some of you might be wondering (or even be offended) why on Earth I offer you such basic positions to solve?  Yes, the positions are simple indeed, but remember that all of these simple moves were missed by some really strong players. Are you sure that you are absolutely invincible to this kind of opening debacles?
to be continued...

Comments


  • 5 months ago

    calum011082

    So if you have the chance to put your op in check you should? Even if they can easily stop it?

  • 6 months ago

    Barnstorm

    Excellent article. Forcing moves...check,captures and threats.

  • 7 months ago

    bzchessguru

    good article

  • 11 months ago

    rugbyfan_61

    Backup chess

  • 13 months ago

    jonnin

    Andruet, Gilles (2430) vs. Bofill, Alejandro (2410)

    11)Bc1 X Bb2 ? 

    Playing vs computer as black from there, I am able to drive the white king into the middle of the board and win an exchange, winning the game sooner or later (later since the computer is far better than me, but its "won" now).  1. d2-d4 Ng8-f6 2. c2-c4 g7-g6 3. g2-g3 Bf8-g7 4. Bf1-g2 d7-d5 5. c4xd5 Nf6xd5 6. e2-e4 Nd5-b4 7. Ng1-e2 Bg7xd4 8. Qd1-b3 Nb8-c6 9. a2-a3 Bc8-e6 10. Qb3-d1 Bd4xb2 11. Bc1xb2 Qd8xd1+ 12. Ke1xd1 Be6-b3+ 13. Kd1-d2 O-O-O+ 14. Kd2-e3 Nb4-c2+ 15. Ke3-f3 etc



  • 14 months ago

    Davidsson

    easy

  • 15 months ago

    c-raig

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 18 months ago

    TheChessJuker

    Hahahaha, even grandmasters got victimized by that simple threat, like the one that pinned the queen into the king. Well, in that case, I should be happy if I ever saw those moves and play against me. Anyways, this is a great article and another silly fact was uncovered XD

  • 19 months ago

    mathsninja

    Cool!

  • 20 months ago

    nick4567

    There follows Kxf2 and the queen is guarded by the rook

  • 20 months ago

    White_King_Tesla

    In Andruet, Gilles (2430) vs. Bofill, Alejandro (2410), I don't see why Bxb2 would cause a resignation? Wouldn't white just respond with Bxb2?  Bxf2+ seems like a much better move, and wins the queen.

  • 21 months ago

    Beginnerkhan

    Great

  • 22 months ago

    Vaxer

    Very useful article Laughing

  • 24 months ago

    shengyi

    Interesting article on why masters blunder.

  • 24 months ago

    Ziyad_Habeel_Shamoy

    Chess is a mind game,use your brain correctly and you will be a good chess player

  • 2 years ago

    qwas

    Very good but very bad

  • 3 years ago

    ChessisGood

    sad

  • 3 years ago

    VodkaBoy

    vishalbhat

    Quite simple actually. Because the level of the opponent is generally similar to their own, most GMs acknowledge the fact that in the end game, that extra piece (after exchanges) will be the deciding factor.

    Of course they also account for the fact the GMs rarely make mistakes, thus to continue play is to delay the inevitable defeat.

     

    at least that is how i see this topic.

  • 3 years ago

    vishalbhat

    Why do Grand Masters resign just when they lose a piece

  • 3 years ago

    Chileno

    Please do not take into account the my previous comment.

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