Fighting Spirit - Going Dynamic After a Blunder

Mar 13, 2014, 9:22 PM |

What to do after you blunder a piece?

Master games say very little about this - the best move is usually resign.

However in games against opponents rated under 2000 I think there are real chances of a good result if you respond positively. I am a 1700 rated player and my results are actually a plus score after dropping a piece in over the board play.

There are two approaches one is to hang toughly onto material and try to preserve some chances - I wil look at this approach in a later post. The second is to go dynamic. Statically you are lost just on material. Routine  play simply wont be enough - you opponent will be trying to exchange down into a simple won ending.

The fact it was a blunder means you also do not have compensation in the form of positional advantage or dynamic chances. You have to create a good position by opening lines for your pieces. The advantage you have is that having lost a piece now material does not matter. You can happily sacrifice more material to get pieces into good positions - another pawn or sacrificing the exchange is an easy choice now if it improves you position. In principle you want to keep enough material on the board to do something creative but do not be afraid to sacrifice more if it improves your remaining pieces.

Against best play you will of course lose. However I have found that many players are uncomfortable against a dynamic counterattack when they are ahead. They get into a materialist philosophy of just trying to swap off pieces and simplifying instead of playing the best moves and this can catch them out. In any case it can also be a learning experience for you. I play better a piece down - I am looking for strategies and tactics that involve sacrificing more material for dynamic gains - which I do not do enough in regular play - and it interesting to see how effective this approach is.

My best outcome was against a USCF 1600 player. I sacrificed a piece (deliberately) and then blundered another leaving me two pieces and a pawn down. In addition, after the blunder my opponent has the initiative!  Then I decide to start playing dynamically and win. This gives an extreme example of the dynamic approach.

The game I give is against a USCF 1900 rated player in a regular time control to show that this is a useful method even at that level. I am winning and then blunder a piece. I then sacrifice the exchange to get my remaining rook on an good file to launch an attack - which I would not do if material was level. My opponent maneuvers to swap off queens but misses that after he manages this I still have an attack and a "windmill" against his king and I go on to win.



Of course for this method to work your opponent has to blunder back - but a dynamic approach gives him more chances to blunder, and allows you to learn the advantages of playing dynamically.

PS an engine will show that my dynamic moves are inferior but the best moves lose - I am trying to create chances for him to go wrong.