Getting Too Scared

Getting Too Scared

Sep 5, 2009, 9:31 AM |

Hey folks, here's the analysis of my last game on FICS. I was lucky enough to win this one due to a blunder of my opponent, but I must say I played a really weak game this time. I think the title applies very well to this game, because I've shown psychological weaknesses mixed up with some simple oversights (usually it's only one of the two) and got myself into trouble for getting too scared where I should not be, and not being able to see some real threats in time.

Here's the game again, heavily analyzed. I'll point out the most important positions in separate diagrams.


I'll sum up some key ideas from the game:

1) Don't get too scared based on strict positional "rules" without actually trying to evaluate the resulting position. 

Here in this position reached after black's 9...Nc6, I was too worried about 10...Nb4 hitting on my bishop on d3 that I played the inaccuracy 10.a3? very quickly.

It's because I felt threatened from a knight so close in my territory on b4, and I really liked my bishop there on d3, I have always thought it was the best square for the light square bishop. Well as much as that could be true, it's not something to hold on to at all costs. I didn't want to move it anywhere. However, objective analysis shows that after 10.h3 Nb4 11.Be2, actually that knight on b4 will become a liability for black there, because it will allow a later Qb3 to come with precious tempo.

The threat of 10...Nh5 though was real, and demanded much more attention from white. Now that I saw, but I miscalculated the line with 11.Ne2, missing black could play 11...Bg4.


So let's look at that position now, after 10...Nh5:

I had missed the 11.Ne2 Bg4 idea when I played 10.a3?, but when I saw the position in the diagram, I did see it.
So I was facing a decision, should I play 11.Ne2 and hope I could walk through the complications clean as I did in the game, or play 11.Be5?

Well, it's true that 11.Be5 allows 11...Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.dxe5, doubling up my central pawns, but how is black going to take advantage of that?

In one of my previous blogs, I had talked about the idea "weaknesses that cannot be taken advantage of aren't really weaknesses," and that applies here perfectly.

Here white is perfectly fine, the d pawn is very hard to attack, and actually keeps the knight on h7 out of play. For specific lines, you can go back to the game window and walk through the variations.

One final note:

I have discovered the fact that the calculation exercise you get from analyzing difficult tactical puzzles don't necessarily help in all in-game scenarios. Making even simple decisions can require the calculation of a lot of lines, and the thing is, they aren't always forced. So you don't have that big hint of "finding the forced win."

I think the only way to hone those in-game calculation abilities (the part that is not covered by tactical studies) is to play games frequently. 

So that's it, I would appreciate comments & questions. See you next game!