Going through my previous games

Jun 22, 2017, 7:10 PM |

As well as playing chess I like to go through my previous games, regardless of the result.  We can always learn something from our past games and although it is never too easy to go through a previous game that you lost and ask yourself and others "Why did I lose?" I also go through the games that I drew ("Why didn't I win?") and the games that I have won "Why did I win?" 


At my level of play I don't need to spend hours of time going through a "blow by blow" account of every move.  I would hardly lose a game because I played e4 on the first move or d4 on the first move for example.  I just need to answer the question above according to the result. 


Sometimes this is easy and it hardly requires any analysis.  It is very rare that I simply leave pieces hanging but it is not totally out of the question for me to still do so.  More likely is that I have probably missed one of the main tactical ideas of chess such as a pin, fork, skewer or a discovered attack. 


Members of my local over the board chess club are very helpful regarding this.  You can take any previous game in that has been notated and often a member of the club will help go over the game with you.  And of course chess computers are better than ever at this.  But the first analysis will always be done by myself. 


On some occassions however it won't be so obvious why a result has gone the way it has done.  No obvious blunders will have been made by either side.  One such game I had which I ended up drawing is described in this blog.  At various times my opponent kept exchanging pieces and I was forced to take the pieces back. 


I am black in the game and the position below is after move 27 for white so it is now black to move. 



To confirm the obvious then both players have 6 pawns and a rook each (and of course the kings.)  White has a light squared bishop, black has a knight. 


It is critical to think of what endgame structures will be in favour for both players here.  The most important endgame factors are the structure of the pawns and the fact that it is bishop v knight. 


What is important is there does not seem to be any obvious tactical short term moves here that are available. 


So what would you be aiming for in this position.  I know what I played in the game itself of course but this sort of position is a demonstration of how when a game is quiet you should still be looking to improve your position.