Games of an amateur II: Self-destruction galore

Jul 19, 2014, 11:04 AM |

Can you find the best continuations in five games where I faltered this week?

Having just finished a quite terrible national championship, it is time for the inquest. How come I self-destruct again and again in decent to very good positions?

(This blog is a way to summarize my experiences as a player. If others find it useful, that's a nice bonus.)

The variations are given as puzzles. There may be ok alternative lines, of course - these are not "win in one move" puzzles...

Round 1: Passive, passive, passive

Several things went wrong from here, but this was the most important moment - where I could choose between a line consistent with the Rb8 move, trying to open up the line against an undefended piece; or do something else. I did something else. 
Round 2: Play the agressive move!
My king side attack petered out, and that gave Black time to work on my weak pawns on the c file. Well played by Black after I gave him the chance to get back into the game.
Round 4: Complications beyond my imaginations
A position I don't really mind missing the best move - tough I actually looked at the variation. Still, missing this meant a draw instead of a win.
I dare you to find this variation in your head before trying the puzzle! On the other hand - the question: "Which moves makes a direct threath to White's King or Queen?" is very easy to answer. 
Round 8: What if I hadn't blundered...
A blunder in this position put me against the ropes, I managed to squeeze a draw out of this game. But it could have been so much better...
This was by no means a clear win, but with so much pressure, a better player than me would have made that count, I would think.
Round 9: From perfect start to destructive finish
Last round of the tournament, and I come out of the opening with a heavy initiative. How to kill off Black here?
Of course, rated around 1600 FIDE means there is a LOT to learn. However, this is what I take away from the championships: A realization that I need to be a lot, lot more ruthless at the chess board when the opportunity arises...