How to Improve at Chess: Tip#9 - Annotate your (Email Chess) games
This you have heard before. Annotate your games. This tip is specific for your Email Chess games.
NO "TIME" EXCUSES!
Unlike "live" Chess, where you don't have time to record your moves, in Email Chess you have all the time in the world to record your moves. Not only that, the system records it for you, so you can click "Moves" and you can see all the moves that have been played to reach the position on the board.
WHY DO IT?
First, you have a record of your games... paper or electronic. Well, there is a record on chess.com,.. okay, you have backup!
Second, when you annotate your games, you see what you were thinking when you made a move. There have been times when it is my turn to play, and I wonder what my last move was and what I was thinking. If I had recorded my moves, with annotations/explanations/notes in them, I would just look at the notes and I would go ahead and see if I can make my "planned" move or if something has changed dramatically etc.
Third, change/improvement is on the way! Knowing how/what you were thinking is the first step towards changing/improving. You will record your game to the end. You will then post it here. You can include your annotation is your post. People will look at it and tell you what they think. You will compare the two and then see what you were missing. You can include people's comments in your notes. You will play over your game while looking at the new annotation/comments. How can you not improve?
HOW TO DO IT
I think it is best to get a notebook - or whatever you are comfortable with - I think it has to be portable. I would then make "tabs": A, B, C, D, etc so that you can easily find your opponent's name (and game). I would leave several pages between the letters because of long games and/or people with same name/login/handle. That's it! You are ready to record and annotate your games!
WHAT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO RECORD THE WHOLE GAME?
Okay. Let's say you are just interested in a particular position. Yeah, you can record just a position and then write you observations/comments/thoughts. You can record it the long way:
King on e4, Knight on f5,Pawns on e3, g4,...
King on h7, Rook on h6
Comment: I would like to resign, but she is going to laugh at me. So I will play my Queen (imaginary!) to g6! Post game for analysis when it's over!
Or you can record it using the FEN notation (you will need to scroll down to where I gave the description of FEN notation in the comments). I prefer the FEN myself.
So there you go! That is tip #9, annotate your (Email) Chess games or at a minimum, positions.
See, it is one of the longest tips I have given. It tells you how much I believe in this. Of course, what's the point of annotating if you will not review it?