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I have a very annoying weakness which I love to get some advice on; I lose when winning! Or, in other words, I only blunder when winning- I would say that in close to 80% of the games I have lost I have held a material, positional ar all round advantage at some point. How can I fix this? Is it a matter of technique and if so, how can I improve on this? PLEASE HELP!!
I used to do the same thing as you. my program teaches you how to analyze,
What you need are advanced level middlegame books. Not basic tactics books, like what is a Knight Fork. You are well beyond that it sounds like.
I would recommend the following. They will help you win the won position because it forces you to look beyond general principals:
"Forcing Chess Moves" - Charles Hertan
"Chess Lessons" - Vladimir Popov
And possibly "After" reading those two, you can try:
"Grandmaster Battle Manual" (one of the books I'm reading now)
"Advanced Chess Tactics"
Keep up with www.qualitychess.co.uk for future middlegame publications. All the books mentioned above except the first one are published by this publisher, which specializes more in advanced manuals over beginner books.
Disclaimer: I'm a beginner.
I'm often overcome by strong emotions which cloud my judgment and interfere with thought processes. A similar issue evolved when I was trading futures. A few times I was ahead and felt the urge to realize small profits which turned out to be disastrous. (Or to ride down a bad bet due to hybris and arrogance).
Can you truly say that you remain Calm and analytical versus emotional? Just wondering.
Can you stay focused and not let your thoughts wander?
Don't you enjoy converting an advantage on the board (the few times I've ever been ahead, it was like hitting a well under pressure. Following through is pure joy).
I dunno, hard to give specific advice without seeing a game.
It may help to remember the saying, the way to win a won game is to eliminate all of the opponent's counter play. (I think Dvoretsky said this?)
So maybe you're not respecting your opponent's moves or possibilities in the position. When someone is losing that's when they may become the more resourceful and will really try to get back in the game. They may set traps or attack wildly or anything. So as you found out a winning position wont win itself. Before you move be extra sure your opponent can't punish your intended move.
If you're a piece up, try and trade pieces, especially queens. Your opponent has less counterplay, it's easier to calculate, and the material advantage gets comparatively larger.
Also, look out for your opponents threats, but you should do that in every position.
two reasons come into my mind:
1. you start to relax when you're on the winning side and don't calculate or think about your position as much as when it was even
2. you have an advantage and try to force the win, forget your opponents plans and moves and so on.
I have the same problems. Concentrate on the whole position. You can develop and execute your plans, but look where your opponent can get counter-play.
thats a very good advice, but for beginners you should add, not the pieces which apply pressure to your opponents positions and for the endgames it is important to keep the bishop in the right colour.
A checklist by Danny Rensch (although it's more for small advantages than a piece for example):
Goals: What winning position are you aiming for? e.g. if you're in a rook ending you may want to achieve the Lucena Position.
Exchanges: Keep in mind which pieces you want left on the board (as Kageri says if you're one pawn up, you might not want to leave oppositite bishops).
Maximise: Get your pieces to their best squares before doing anything crazy.
2 Weaknesses: If your opponent has 2 weaknesses to defend they wont normally be able to defend them both.
Tactics: Don't blunder, and focus on your opponents threats.
Some good advice by scottrf here. Aww rats' program and reading books will make you better of course, but this advice should be immediately useful.
I do this sometimes.
With me I think it is down to complacency. I only really play online games because I can't often get enough time to sit and play live for any length of time, so my advice can only apply to online.
When I end up with a piece advantage or a clear positional advantage, I often decide that it is a won game (especially against a weaker opponent) so spend more time concentrating on the games I percieve as tougher.
I'll move quickly and discard it until it pops up with my move again. With tougher games, even when it is the opponents move, I check in on the game now and again, make use of the analysis board and plan my future in that game. It is easy to overlook this with games you think you have already won.
This sometimes leads to blunders.
My advice (which I am trying to follow myself nowadays) is to pay equal attention to all of your games. The game is not over until it is over so, until you see that win, treat it with as much respect as you would your tougher games. Get on the analysis board, think of some ideas, play out a couple of lines and really spend time capatalising on your advantage.
After all, these are the losses that really get to you. I like to win, but if I lose a hard fought game against a decent opponent, I can live with that (hell, I have to suck it up almost daily lol). What I can't deal with is losing a game I should have put away by simply not paying attention to it. There's no excuse.
Oh, and don't make moves drunk That's what blitz is for (hence my blitz rating)
Just out of curiousity, did you make money trading futures? I remember a few years ago, I wrote a spreadsheet to rate horses for betting, but all it gave me was close to the tips in the newspaper anyway.
So did you just end up paying commission to the futures bookies?
I'll second that. I often lose when I ignore defence just because I think my opponent is on the ropes
Many people play better when they are losing ( you have heard the old adage a wounded animal is the most dangerous haven't you). Therefore you need to play even more careful.
A winning position is not a won game. You need to keep focused until you checkmate your opponent. ( one thing that might help you personally, is to remember how often you lose with such positions, and this should help you focus more, always be diligent until the end).
The best way to do this is probably different for everyone at least to some degree. Many people here have given you similar advice as I have.
Playing against a computer has helped me with this, because it always tries to make me stalemate it.
It is quite skilled at doing this as well, so I need to really concentrate, otherwise a totally crushing advantage is meaningless. So watch out for stalemates as well. Good luck, and hopefully this was helpful.
I didn't read all the posts above, but to the main question I have one suggestion, Study the endgame (Alot).
You will lose or draw plenty of won games.
As you will progress, the gray area between 'I know this should be won' and 'I know how to win with a thinking time of 1s / move' will get smaller and smaller, but it will never disappear.
*Disclaimer: This comment assumes you are talking about live chess.
That happens to me ALL THE FSGSDNJNO TIME!!!
I have good days and bad days. On the bad days, I lose games even though I have a material advantage. I hang pieces and don't see enemy attackers that are RIGHT BESIDE their targets (SO FRUSTRATING!!!).
So yeah, another thing you can do to help yourself is to be well-rested and well-focused. Drink coffee if you have to. As for me, I always play better after a cup of coffee, and while listening to Mozart at the same time.
Another thing you can do is to play unrated games to start off your chess session. That way, you ease yourself into the games and help you be more focused.
After you do those things, you will automatically be able to preanalyze the board before making a move with speed, efficiency, and affectiveness.
Well, it was mixed. Overall, I came out ahead. But the real winner was "the house" (the brokers) ;-)
Just exchange off all the pieces and win the endgame.
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