Game of the Week: One Little Slip
Many times, chess games are ultimately defined by a single move. Sometimes this takes the form of a brilliant tactic or a beautiful positional move. But other times, the pivotal moment is just a simple mistake.
While I always love games where I can get an early advantage and cruise down into a winning endgame, sometimes a get a lot of enjoyment out of an even match. When your opponent plays as well as you do, it can sometimes be surprisingly difficult to keep an even position, and it is much harder to gain an advantage. One little slip is all it takes to go from even to losing.
This happens to all of us from time to time, though taking different forms at different levels of play. As a beginner it could be hanging a piece. At a more intermediate level, it could be allowing a tactical combination. At master levels, it can simply be allowing your opponent to achieve a better position. These mistakes are the whole reason we must analyze our moves carefully. Don't just play what looks good—try to see what your opponent should do in response! (See my article from last week, Why Analyze?)
In the game below, as you probably guessed, the defining move was a mistake. My opponent and I were neck and neck for the whole game, simplifying into an endgame that I was concerned would be a draw. Luckily for me, my opponent made a mistake before I did, allowing me to play a checkmate combination. At any point in the game though, it could have gone the other way.
I hope you enjoyed this game. Please feel free to leave a comment below! Perhaps you saw a way either I or my opponent could have attacked and gotten an edge earlier in the game? Regardless, I would love to hear from you!