Missed Chances Part I

Dec 18, 2015, 7:41 PM |

This is going to be a two part post, and also probably the last post I will make at this blog. It takes time to write for a blog post, and between my newly expanded family and professional responsibilities, I simply don't have the time to spare. Instead, I am / have switching my online chess exhibitionism to the youtube variety, which you can see at my channel. Interestingly enough, it is easier / faster to make these videos than type out these posts!

The first part of this post is about a rough night I had at a local club tournament a few months ago: I went 0.5 / 3, particularily painful since I had some good chances in each game.

The first game was against a lower rated opponent that I have played several times, usually winning, but not until after a struggle each time. In this encounter, I was inconsistent and missed my best chances, especially at the end.

Time trouble definitely played a role in the end of the game, and a draw wasn't a terrible result. Even bigger were the missed chances I had in the second game, against an opponent that had beaten me once before a year or two prior. I was out for revenge! I went from better out of the opening to up in material with a sizable advantage, only to get outplayed back into an equal ending and then blunder away the draw in time trouble! (Phew, get all that?)

My final game, which could have salvaged my night, was against a friend that I have played countless times. I quickly got a good position out of the opening; I could have won a pawn for almost nothing, but didn't play the sharpest way and let him off the hook. Again, this was followed by being steadily outplayed...

So what did I take away from this night? Did I need to focus on tactics, my opening, a particular weakness? Maybe read some endgame theory, play over master games, watch chess videos online, and spend more time studying?

Instead, I chalked it up to simply having a bad night; not playing my sharpest. I was self aware enough to realize that I was not as focused as I thought I could be, at least not the level of play I strive for. I don't recall the particulars of the night, but I might have been stressed, rushed, or tired that day. It happens to all of us!

So, am I recommending that you make excuses for your losses? Of course not, and studying the losses is a good exercise. But remember that you should focus on things beyond the board, like your mental disclipine, emotional state, and your confidence. This lesson is even clearer in the games I'll post in part II!

Please feel free to share your analysis and comments below. Thanks for reading!