Learning from the Greatest Blunder

Learning from the Greatest Blunder

May 25, 2016, 7:41 AM |

The greatest chess blunder is resigning when you were winning.


Okay, I didn't make this mistake, but I made the second biggest chess blunder. Offering a draw (perpetual check) when I was winning.


Above all, this highlighted to me a major flaw in my Chess thinking. During my opponent's thinking time, I will be planning my own move/plan I am likely to make. When my opponent makes this move, I am bias towards my original decision, without considering with fresh eyes what my opponent's move did to change the board situation.


This all arose from my analysis of a game I drew (https://www.chess.com/blog/blohmoremoney/a-tale-of-two-outlooks-optimism-and-pessimism).

I asked GM Bojkov to review my game and annotations, and he came up with enlightening insights. Primarily they centre on 

  • How to handle the London System with the Nc4 idea to hit d6 and b6, with redeployment to e3
  • Drawbacks of my c4 idea that I thought was an improvement (weakness of b4)
  • The balance between active and passive defence
  • Methods my opponent could have realised decisive penetration by focusing on the Queenside
  • The practical dangers of mixing plans by my opponent
  • If you see a good move, look for a better one. If you see a perpetual check, look for something even more given you have a sure thing.

Opening plans from the London System


I suggested the move 14. c4 as an improvement to 14. Qb3. The problem with this is that it weakens the b4 square, after which Black's Knight can occupy as an outpost.

Redeployment of Knight to e3
An improvement is 14. Nc4 hitting d6, with the idea of Ne3
White must always be mindful of an e5 break

Immediate Minority Attack
Black could have carried out an immediate minority attack with 17. ... b5, with the idea saddle White with isolated b- and d-pawns

Break the Centre Immediately
An idea I missed instead of 21. Ne5 was Nh4 with the idea of playing f3 and challenging the centre.
This also allows threats at g6 should the pawn be taken on e4.

Don't Voluntarily Weaken Yourself
Here I played 31. b4 with the idea of Nc5 eventually.
However, my Knight is too far out of play.
Better was to keep passive and redeploy the Knight immediately back to e3

Attack on the weakenede backward pawn
Black had the chance to immediate set his sights on the backward c3.
Firstly he attracts the Knight to a square where it is vulnerable to a discovered Bishop attack.
This allows him to double Rooks on the c-file with tempo, reducing White to passivity.

The Queenside was where it was at
Black played 37. ... f5, attempting Kingside play, but more direct was penetration on the Queenside
Observe how in playing on the Queenside, Black maintains a well guarded Kingside. 
By making Kingside pawn moves, Black gave counter chances in the game.

Don't Jumble plans
Here my opponent played 41. ... h4, which at the time I thought was an excellent move, but in fact later gives me counterplay.
Better instead was to be consistent and invade on the a-file with 41. ... Rea7!

Attack the Weakness
Here I played the very automatic 42. Ra1, which was premediated (without considering my opponent's last move).
This is a flaw in my thinking, where I premediate the move I want to make before my opponent has made his move.

If you see a good move, search for an even better one!
If you see a draw, repeat the moves a bit, then search for me
History: Tal vs Spassky. Hunter becomes the hunted.
Biggest blunder of the game (by me, to offer a draw where I was winning).