It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Mar 4, 2013, 7:38 PM |

I started getting back on regularly about 2 weeks ago, and for those two weeks, I started at a 1499 blitz rating, peaked at 1533 a game later, and then promptly entered a four-game losing streak (one of which was due to a faulty connection), which left me at a rating of 1360. After this defeat, I continued to gradually fall to 1316, due to a combination of bad time management in 5|0 games and tactical oversight. However, after another 20 games, I've managed to battle my way over 1400.

Today I annotate two games, the last game of the above-mentioned four-game losing streak and the first game of the two-game series that pushed me over 1400. I feel that both games are instructive examples of taking the initiative and capitalizing on advantages that players in the 1300-1500 (and often even further up) range often lack.

My opponent played well from the beginning and avoided any tactical pitfalls. More importantly, he exploited my early weak diagonal and my lack of kingside space (and thus lack of development) to launch a successful kingside attack.

This next game, played just over a week later, is an example of countering petty threats made by your opponent while building up small advantages.

Note that in both games I noticed opportunities to trade off inactive minor pieces for active minor pieces. This can help equalize the position, which is something that you may not want if you have the superior minor piece. To that end, keep your opponents' pieces under wraps if possible. If their pieces haven't developed, don't let them do so! Capitalize on your superior development (and hopefully space advantage) by starting forceful pawn breaks, or use pawns to trap them (or at least prevent them from becoming powerful).

But as we see in both games, tactical vision and calculation powers still dominate the game. Put the strategy in your head, but if your opponent has a quick combination, you'd better be thinking of a good counterattack.

Constructive comments on my analysis are always welcome! Hope you all enjoyed!