Hastings Masters - a preview (also when (and when NOT) to sacrifice a pawn)!
So, we're coming to the end of another year but more importantly we're coming to the start of another Hastings International Congress! This always starts on December 28th, with 1 round a day (yes, even on New Year's Day) until January 6th. It's the 88th edition of the event and it looks like another strong field this year: http://www.hastingschess.com/?page_id=347
Last year I had a pretty disappointing event. Every time I played a higher rated opponent I would get some advantage and then blunder it away in some manner - perhaps I need a New Year's Resolution to look after my pieces a bit better! Here's a good example...
Not a nice game for me to remember but it's one that I should definitely learn from. One of the key's to improving is understanding your weaknesses. I have always overestimated sacrifices, especially when it's "just a pawn or two" and it costs me lots of points!
That doesn't mean I should never sacrifice of course - in the recent London Classic my lower-rated opponent grabbed a pawn I would never have dreamed of grabbing...
Everyone loves to sacrifice material but it's not always a good idea - I'll update you on how the tournament goes in a couple of weeks. For more info on the event check out http://www.hastingschess.com/
Until then... Happy New Year!