What Could Have Been?!

What Could Have Been?!

NM CraiggoryC

Could've Would've Should've

A big part of chess improvement is going over your games. My preferred way of going over my games is to first talk it over with my opponent (if he/she is willing). After talking it over with my opponent I'll try to predict where the critical points of the games were. I'll try to "guess" which moves were good and bad for both my opponent and I. After that, I'll look to see when either my opponent or I played an opening novelty and check out some top level games in the opening that we just played. After all this I'll have a feel of the typical ideas of the opening and I'll have written down what I think were the good and bad moves that were played in the game.

After all this is done, it's time to turn on the "silicon monster" aka computer. I'll let the computer enlighten me about all the lines we miscalculated. More than a few times the computer will spit out amazing combinations that I missed during the game. Below we will go over 3 that I regret to report did not happen during the game. It's still important to use the computer to see these missed opportunities because you'll be surprised how often a similar tactic will crop up again sometime in the future. The pain you suffer from missing a brillancy is enough to lodge that tactical pattern in your brain for many years to come!

It's Black to play and win in the above puzzle. I missed a dazzling way to end the game immediately (I did at least end up winning this game much later). Can you find the win that I missed?
Black to play and win in the above puzzle again. I spent 30+ minutes convincing myself that correct tactic doesn't quite work. Sometimes you just got to trust your intuition. Can you find the tactic I should have played?
White has a winning idea in the above diagram. This one was all the more brutal because I ended up losing this game and had I won I would have had a shot at an IM norm! Can you find the winning idea? The Answer is below
It may be painful at times, but you should really go over all your games and look for missed opportunities. The more painful the miss, the less likely you will ever miss that same chance again! Good luck and feel free to post in the comments any missed chances you guys had. Free therapy is being offered in this blogĀ Tongue Out