Game Analysis #1: Good Plans, Bad Calculation

Jan 27, 2015, 6:51 PM |

Recently my chess knowledge has grown quite a bit, but my application of that knowledge hasn't always been so successful.  In the last year I've learned a ton about evaluation, openings, planning, pawn structure, attacking, and so on, but haven't always found myself using this additional knowledge in my games.

Obviously, some steps must be taken to overcome this weakness.  My plan is to analyze my slow games after playing them.  I briefly look over my finished games, but tend to be rather lazy about it. Masters often recommend analyzing finished games and it seems like a very good idea. Besides showing me areas of improvement, it will (hopefully) help me to focus more during games, something that can be difficult.

After playing a long game I plan to analyze and publish the analysis before playing another game.  Strong players don't recommend using engines, so it will just be my mind (and sometimes an opening database).

So here goes. I played this game last week in the last round of a DHLC tourney. The time control was 45|45.

The opening

Overall I'm quite pleased with the opening. Everything has gone smoothly and Black is equal of very close to it.

Now we come to the early middle game, the stage of the game where plans are of utmost importance.

The Early Middle Game: The Start of Plans

In another game I had a pawn structure similar to the one in this game.  My opponent castled on the queenside and I opened up the queenside and quickly won.  I had an IM review the game and, when I asked what Black should have done if White castled kingside, he told me that the minority attack would still work.

In a mere four moves the middle game is in full swing. Each and every move is important.

Though I didn't see very many of those lines analyzed above until now, I'm pleased with my play.  Everything seems to have gone well.

Now that one plan (the minority attack) has been successful, Black needs to calculate some lines and decide what his plan should be.

The (mis)Calulations

So unfortunately my calculations were wrong and, instead of winning a pawn, I've given up most of my advantages.

What now?  It's time to think up a new plan.

Unclear Plans

I did come up with a plan: keep my pieces more active than his.  However, this isn't a very detailed plan.  Anyone knows that it's good to keep your pieces active.  How you plan to do it is the key. I didn't really plan how and I certainly didn't calculate many lines.

Overall I played decently there, but it's still uncertain how Black should proceed.

The Blunders

Now we both blundered.  Interestingly enough, we both used the same motif.

Well, that part of the game shows that I need to keep working on simple tactics.

The Ending

At this point (or maybe a few moves after) in the game we both had very little time.

I think I played the ending okay, especially considering the clock.  When we drew I was very happy.

What Worked Well

  • The opening went fine.
  • In the early middle game I decided on a plan and it could have worked very well.
  • My endgame play went smoothly for the most part.
  • When I blundered, I remained calm.

Where I Need to Improve

  • Overconfidence probabaly played a big part in why I got careless.  Confidence is good, but care must always be used.
  • Calculation, calculation, calculation! (and tactics too)  I really need to work on calculating.
  • Next time I need to make sure that I have a new plan in place once a plan is completed.

Well, that's it.  I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on the game!