Missed opportunity

Dec 21, 2011, 11:21 AM |

I don't mind missing tactics, it happens to everybody.  In the past year, I've improved my tactical awareness by doing the daily puzzle religiously, and spending some time with the tactics trainer.  I am much sharper now at finding combinations that start with captures or checks.

One tactical blind spot I have is overlooking forcing moves that make direct threats.  Somehow I tend to ignore very direct threats, as I assume my opponent will have some defense to these "I threaten to to take your pawn" type moves.  I look instead for positional improvements or strategic ideas, and sometimes whiff the most obvious and direct ideas.

In the final round of the tournament this weekend, I lost to a 1950.  Had I won, I would have finished with 5.5 / 7, tied for 3rd, and won not only the class A prize but also finished in the money in the open section!  My opponent grabbed these honors instead, and saw his rating catapult to 2025.  Fortunes would have been reversed if I had only found the right idea in the position below.  Instead, I stumbled aimlessly before landing in a horrible position with my kingside hopelessly undeveloped:








On the plus side, my rating rose to 1962, a clear step in the right direction for my goals of making expert and becoming a CM!