Underestimating an opponent
A recent game played with a friend (username spankmonkey) quickly turned from an easy win for me, to a well earned win for him. How did it go so wrong? Good question.
His mate position I saw three moves before he made it, but I was unable to come up with a counterattack. The mate looked like this:I must have had him in check half a dozen times using my two Rooks and my King Bishop, but I couldn't seal the deal before his lone King Rook got away from me. And oh, the lowly Pawn!
This is an important lesson I've learned about the value of forming a plan for the endgame. Moving pieces merely to kill, without the intent to mate does nothing but give up position to an opponent.
It is easier to underestimate an opponent when you think you know how they are going to move, because they are a friend. Even more so if you feel like you have the psychological advantage because every move gives you a material advantage.
But, in the end, it is not always the material that makes the difference, but how you play that material.