Defeat Reveals So Much

Defeat Reveals So Much

Mar 27, 2016, 9:08 PM |

"Most players ... do not like losing, and consider defeat as something shameful. This is a wrong attitude. Those who wish to perfect themselves must regard their losses as lessons and learn from them what sorts of things to avoid in the future." - Capablanca


I played Chess intensively for four years. I had a break for ten years. I've come back hard in the last six years.


Since the first incarnation, the biggest lesson I've learnt is learning from losses. Previously I didn't review my games intensively enough, and didn't analyse the cause for my losses. All the lessons are there for you in your losses.

I played on the Black side of an Advanced Caro Kann where I lost after being the Exchange up and my opponent initially having very little compensation.


This was difficult to take. It's not really one particularly move that completely collapsed my position, but rather a series of ten or so "innaccurate" or second rate moves which eventually brought everything undone.


At times when I should have been aggressive, I was passive.


This game once more highlighted to me that I fail to see the resources in my position when I perceive myself to be slightly worse.


This game showed twice that I have a deficiency in "clearance" tactics.

Opening of the g-file in the Advanced Caro Kann


I automatically played 11. ... Nxe2+ to obtain the Bishop pair.

An idea I didn't consider was 11. ... g5 with the possibility of using the open g-file to embark on Kingside play.

It may or may not be better, but it's something I'll file away as an idea.

What was wrong with 15. Rac1?

Critical Moment in Planning for Black

Black has won a clear Exchange. In post mortem, this was a critical moment to define a clear plan. A consequence of not planning is to drift with second rate moves.
I played the ineffectual 18. ... a6 to prevent 19. cd cd 20. Nb5. This was too passive and reactionary.
In post mortem, at this point I ask myself what is the most important thing Black must prevent. It is f5. To totally kill this idea for White, Black should play 18. ... f5 himself.
Also good is 18. ... b5. I didn't play this because I feared 19. c5 closing the Queenside and making it difficult to activate my Rooks (so I thought).
But there will always be ways for Black to open files. Most important was it to define the pawn structure.

Clearance Pattern One
This loss gave two examples of "Clearance" tactics which I missed. It's an area I haven't worked much on, and I'll go through the Clearance tactics in Reinfeld's 1001 Winning Chess Combinations and Sacrifices.
More so, by playing 23. ... Qd8, it shows my thinking is very reactionary (to move out of the discovered attack) rather than seeking the active possibilities in my position.


Here I played 26. ... dxc4, failing to see the critical point is f3. More so, I think psychologically i feared wanting to exchange a defender of the Kingside.
I think subconciously, when I'm being attacked, I fail to see weakness in my opponent's camp, but rather focus on the weakness in my own camp.

Clearance Pattern Two

From a winning advantage, I have drifted and allowed my opponent far too much activity such that it should now be equal.
Here I played 33. ... Kh7 failing to once more see a clearance tactic. Another example!

Pessimistic Thinking. Failing to Appreciate Resources
Bad moves follow other bad moves. I played here 37. ... Kxg7. My thinking was that White has captured my pawn, my priority is to capture it back.
But this failed to see that the pawn is doomed anyway, and it's far more important to get the Black Rook to the g-file to give both cover and counterattack.

My Game Annotations and Analysis