How To Cure A Serious Chess Disease
Don't let this chess disease make you sick.

How To Cure A Serious Chess Disease

Silman
IM Silman
Sep 28, 2018, 12:00 PM |
56 | Other

Most amateurs run into the same problems: undefended pieces, being unaware of their opponents' best moves, falling victim to simple tactics, etc. Those things are common. However, once in a while you’ll see a player making one specific mistake over and over.

This is actually a good thing, since instead of having endless mistakes that leave your brain melting and your confidence falling into the gutter, you have that one specific problem. In other words, you can target it in all your games and, eventually, the problem will vanish.

Of course, if you do have multiple weaknesses in your game, it’s a good idea to put all your energy into the worst one. When that’s fixed, go to the next, and the next.

chess disease

Does IM Silman have the prescription for your chess illness?

In this article, I’m going to highlight a very nice chap named “BeastmodeSlow” (Beastmode for short), who surprisingly was completely unaware of this chess illness. Actually, amateurs can make this mistake over and over, but they don’t recognize it.

So what is this horrific roadblock that’s hurting your game? It’s a fear of pawn and piece tension, which makes you trade pawns and pieces for no reason. In fact, those trades ruin many a game.

I should add that Beastmode and I looked at these games together, which created quite a bit of laughter. Hopefully, you can have some laughs too, and also learn something that’s seriously important.

So, let’s leap into the fire and see what I’m really talking about.

GAME ONE



YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

The two light-squared bishops are facing off. Which player will make the trade first?

RUSH TO MAKE THREATS

Most amateurs love to make threats, and “Beastmode” is no different. However, 11...Nb4, drooling about the possibility of gobbling up the d3-pawn, fails to see what White might do in response. This is a typical weakness known as “playing with yourself.”



YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

 

YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

FEAR

Though 23.h4 isn’t the end of the world, it was played due to fear that Black’s king would move to g5. It also let Black take the initiative. More interesting was 23.Na5 Bb6 24.b4 (24.Nc4 is a draw) 24...Bxa5 25.bxa5 followed by 26.Rb1 (25...c5 26.Rb1 Re7 27.Rfc1 when White has pressure against Black’s queenside pawns. For example: 27...Rd2+ 28.Kg3 Rxa2 29.Rxc5 and White’s better.

Anyway, back to the position after 23.h4:

YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

Black decides to trade all the rooks, which leaves him dead in the water.

GAME TWO

At a glance, do you understand what both sides need to do? If you said, “Black wants to play …d6-d5” then you’re pretty astute. Once you realize that, you need to figure out how to make it happen.

EXCUSE ME, BUT YOU DO HAVE AN OPPONENT?

Unfortunately, Black thought that 12...Rfd8 was stronger since, after 13...d5, the rook on d8 will be a monster. And, indeed, the game went 12...Rfd8? failing to think that White might be able to stop it.

YOUR OPPONENT IS (SOMETIMES) YOUR FRIEND

White, who was freaking out about a possible check, ignored 13.Nd5 and instead, in a moment of friendship (don’t believe that!), played:



DREAMS DO COME TRUE

YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

Beastmode realized that he could do his favorite thing: trading stuff!

YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!



GAME THREE

GANBATTE

(Japanese: “Do your best” or “You can do it!”)

Black played the opening like a blind tortoise and Beastmode decides to go for the kill! No more trades. No more fear. Just scream “kill, kill, kill” and finish Black off! You CAN do it!

YES, YES, I WANT TO TRADE!

FINAL WORDS

Now some of you will say, “What’s the point of this? I don’t trade for no reason!” If that’s true, bully for you; you are a chess god and I bow to you. But for those that have never stood on top of Mount Olympus, trading for no reason is a common occurrence. So, carefully look through your games and point out all the useless and damaging trades you've made. And once you understand that, you’ll be on your way to a whole new chess perspective.

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