Analysing My Own Games: Attack is the Best Form of Defence
If you are cornered in a dark alley, what choices do you have? One idea is to run. Another is to fight back. We should at least be aware we have options.
The same with Chess. Every game will have situations where you are being attacked. Is it best to defend by retreating, or to counter attack with threats of your own.
I played the following game where I was White in a Caro Kann and won. Initially I thought there was nothing I could have improved on in this game. I was very wrong.
WGM Natalia Pogonina wrote an excellent article (link below) on how to analyse one's own games, particularly victories. I really believe in self publishing my annotations as a way to improve.
This game showed me three lessons where:
- I should have attacked instead of defended
- Where I attacked but should have consolidated/defended
- My opponent should have attacked but defended
Attack or Defend?
White to Play
Black had played ... Bxa3 sacrificing a piece to open the White King. I became fixated on the potential of pressure on the b-file, and whilst ... Rb5 is immediately not possible now due to Nd6, I "prophylactically" wanted to remove danger and played 26. Kc1.
I missed that I had 26. Nd6+ Kd7 27. Nxb7 attacking the Rook at a5 and threatening Nc5+ with a Royal Fork. Very easily to calculate.
Being easy to calculate is one thing, but it showed to me a flaw in my chess thinking ... not considering both possibilities of Attack vs Defence.
Whilst there will be times to retreat, and other times to counter attack, I must always be aware of both possibiilites.
This was a position where I should have attacked instead of defended.
What's the Most Important Thing in this Position
White to Play
In the above position I was fixated on attacking, as I believed my King was now safe. I looked at (and played) 28. Nxf7 reasoning I can then capture the h-pawn which will become dangerously passed. Even if my Knight becomes trapped, I can return the piece (likely for another pawn) and press home with my h-pawn.
Yet I did not sense the danger in my position, and neither did my opponent. After 28. Nxf7, can you find how Black should respond?
This was an example of where I should have defended/consolidated (with Rhe1 or Rh4) instead of attacked.
What should Black Target?
Black to Play
A fantastic idea that both I and my opponent missed. Fritz found it for me (one should only use the engine in post mortem analysis after you've put the effort in).
Black shouldn't defend the Rook on h8, but start a counter attack with the brilliant idea of ... Qa6 threatening both ... Ra2 or ... Ra1.
Another great example from my game of the moment to attack or defend. Now I can see the Knight's role on d6 was actually to pressure b7, not making this possible.
This was an example of where my opponent should have attacked instead of defended.
How to Free the Knight?
White to Play
I spent a long time looking at this position trying to figure out how to get my Knight into the game and clear the way for the h-pawn.
I was very happy to find Ng8, where I can take advantage of ... Rxg8, Qh7+ forking King and Rook.
Mind you, Ng4 also works because of h-pawn can race ahead.
Game Annotations and Analysis