Four Training Games

Feb 9, 2015, 5:34 PM |

After spending several hours analyzing a game recently, it became clear that I needed to find ways to save time.  A great resource turned out to be the suggestions in Andrew Martin's column.  He says to look for critical moments.  These include:

  • How you felt before the game-did that affect your play?
  • When your theory ends - the transition from opening to middlegame.
  • The exchange of pieces.
  • When you formed a plan of campaign and how successful it was.
  • Any tactical moments - Transition from middlegame to endgame.
  • Finally, an overview of the game at the conclusion.

In another column of his I found this: Turning points, obvious mistakes, blunders, which seems to fit under tactical moments.

Well, answering a specific set of questions seems much easier than being asked to analyze  an entire chess game, so let's begin.

A few weeks ago I played two training games with one of my friends.  These were unrated and had a time control of 45|3.
Game 1:

Before the game I felt quite well.  I always play better when I'm in a good mood.
In conclusion it seems I played okay but not best in the transition from opening to middle game; that my plan would have worked well had I carried it out and avoided the Bxf6 exchange; and I ultimately won because my opponent made an over defensive move in time trouble.
Game 2:
After the tense first game I felt confident, but a little shaky.
In conclusion it seems that the opening went well.  Afterwards I should have been more cautious, but it didn't get me into trouble this time.  Then my opponent blundered and I won.
Game 3:

The next two games were played a week later at a time control of 30|10 and 30|5 respectively.
Before this game I was too confident.
So the opening went okay except that, like in game 1, I tried to follow a line I'd seen before instead of playing the position.  I didn't ever have a good plan.  Then I blundered but, because of nothing that can be attributed to me, escaped with a draw (I'm an escape artist, btw.)
Game 4:
The last game should have been a wake up call.  Even if I survive most of the time, there will be times when I lose.  Avoiding blunders in the first place is important even if cheapos work sometimes.  Anyway, after game 3 I felt that I could endure any material lose.
That game wasn't a masterpiece either.  It's probabaly the worst one in fact.  Anyway, at least I ended up with 2.5/4 Smile
So overall my most common mistakes seem to be:
  • playing ideas that I've seen in one opening variation in a different variation.  This doesn't work.  I need to approach a position fresh.
  • Overlooking simple moves.  i.e., playing hope chess.
  • Not carrying out plans to completion.  Chess carries risk and sticking with a plan is a must.