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So this is my first win as black. So yeah, just the usual critiquing please =)
Few quick points:
All in all, well played. Hard to believe this is only your first black victory!
Thank you! Those comments were helpful, particularly about my opening move and white's d4. And yeah I'm not kidding, it was my first win as black. I think my previous losses were due more to a psychological thing, perhaps a perceived disadvantage being black (yeah I know about the first-turn advantage for white, my mistake was probably considering it an irreparable disadvantage for black), but this time I was feeling combative (a feeling bolstered by 2 previous losses in a row).
That fact that you (with a considerably higher rating than myself) think I played well gives me even more confidence - I'm gonna make sure I win my next game as black! *touch wood*
7.b5 wasn't really necessary if you wanted to prevent Qa4 since b5 after qA4 forks two pieces
Good job. Just a couple of suggestions for improvement for you that you can use going forward.
You know in your annotations where you ask what else could you have done there when you took that pawn white moved in front of the skewer, the correct capture would have been to capture that pawn with your bishop instead of the pawn to win a piece.
So instead of 15...dxc4, it should be 15...Bxc4.
Also, you know where you said you knew you could have mated on move 23 instead of move 25?
Actually, 21...Qf2# wins instantly.
So instead of 2 moves earlier, the checkmate was 4 moves earlier.
You did a good job to win. That's usually the point, right?
So well done.
Now to be able to take just these constructive criticisms and apply it to your game going forward, shouldn't be too difficult a challenge.
If you can learn to identify some common "mating nets" and their patterns, I think it will really speed up some of your improvement, increase your rating steadily and get you more wins, more often.
Also, if you can learn say the first 10 moves of an opening for black, it should help you add at least 80-100 points to your rating after you've played it for a couple of months if not sooner.
The main thing though I think for you, at your current rating, is to drill tactics. Notice, I didn't say 'learn tactics' because I noticed you already see things like skewers and forks which is good.
At this point, I think drilling tactics about 20 quick problems a day for a month, will improve your rating by at least 100 points.
You had mentioned you needed to study endgame theory. That's good. However, most of your games are ending in the middle game from what I've seen which is why I suggest tactics at this point.
In the endgame, remember to put your king in front of your pawn and use your king to escort your pawn to the queening square and that should be good for another 50-80 points or so. :-)
In all honesty, I think by applying those suggestions consistently in addition to learning the first 10 moves as black against 1.e4 and the first 10 moves as black against 1.d4 and everything else, you should reach a 1100-1200 level pretty quickly depending on how consistently you do it daily.
Watch out Nigel Short
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