Analyzing My Games #1

I used to think that analyzing my own games was some godly process where brilliant revelations were reached after a rigorous examination of every single move had been done. It was like I thought that the analysis itself was done for its own purpose and was more than just a means to an end. After reading some good articles by some amazing masters though, I realized that the analysis is supposed to be exactly that, a means to an end. The end being improvement. I don't have to do a detailed, thorough analysis of every move (not at my level any way). All I have to do is try to identify my mistakes, and minimize them in the future.  

For me, at this stage in my chess ability, this shouldn't be too dificult. Most of my mistakes are tactical. I don't think there would be any point in analyzing subtle possitional nuances when I'm still missing moves that win/lose material. So the plan right now for analyzing my games is to focus on tactics and openings (and maybe piece activity). I include openings because I've heard it recomended that the best way to learn openings is from your own games. I don't plan on making any detailed examination of the openings in my games; just a couple of notes identifying the opening, where it left the main line, and where I could have improved. If there is anything else that seems important to the game, I will include that too. 

This is my first real attempt to consistently analyze my own games, so I can't claim this is the "correct" way to do it or that anyone will improve drastically by following this method. I think this is a good start for me though, and hopefully, I will improve from my efforts. If anyone has any constructive criticism about my methods or my games, it would be much appreciated.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the games I analyze where organized through the Dan Heisman Learning Center (DHLC) group here at and were played at a time control of 45/45. If you'd like to know more about the DHLC, check out this link:



The following game was played in round 2 of the Slow Swiss #2 tournament. This was my first win in the tournament, but I can't say I am very happy with the way I won. I made 2 major blunders (which houdini rated as changing the position by greater than +/- 3.0 pawns) in this game, the last of which should have completely lost the game for me. These are such crucial mistakes, that my focus has to be on correcting them before anything else. Even worrying about a 1 pawn difference is inconsequencial compared to winning/losing a whole piece. So the only way I believe I can begin to correct these horrible mistakes is to figure out what is causing them. I think that the main culprits are bad time management combined with faulty analysis skills.  I took about 2 minutes to play my first blunder, and I took about 1 and 1/2 minutes to play the second. I knew these were critical positions and didn't take the time to double check my preliminary analysis. In the future I have to try to slow down and do a more thorough analysis of positions I know are critical. 

Okieman played a good game here, and my hat goes off to him. I'm going to try to continue analyzing my games and posting them every so often. Like I said before, if anyone has any ideas on how I can improve feel free to post a comment or message me. Thanks!


  • 4 years ago


    thanks toni! sorry its been a while since we last spoke. i've been diligently trying to get better at tactics, but i'm still making mistakes. i thought this would be a good way to help me figure out what i'm doing wrong and what i need to work on. 

    congrats on your game against EyeAm today. i liked your opening choice, and i think your game is an excellent example of how important tactics are. well played!

  • 4 years ago


    Great job Strickland!!

    I like a lot this idea...I've been a little bussy lately but when i have more time i will comment your games.

    I remember see this game before and  your move Bd4+ is very often seen on amateur games, actually Dan  talks about them a lot, usually people have the idea that if they counterattack that's a good move . You must work more on tactics untill madness, and of course, spend more time when you play such risky moves. Wink


  • 4 years ago


    Cool.  I might try Swiss next time.

  • 4 years ago


    hi yucca,

    i'm looking forward to playing you too, and I'd be happy to go over our game(s) whenever is convenient for you. It seems like we have a lot in common when it comes to chess improvement. I'm not really sure what the thinking is supposed to be behind the KID, but I do know that since I've been playing it, I get really dynamic games full of tactics. I'm still trying to learn it better, but so far it has become a really comfortable response to 1.d4 for me.

    Being that I'm playing in both the slow swiss and quads, I think both of them are great. Especially with the way quads are being set up now, you get a lot of evenly matched opponents; whereas in the swiss events you get opponents with a variety of strength. I think both are important for improvement.

  • 4 years ago


    Hi Strickland.  Looking forward to playing you BTW.  I am also trying to analyse my games.  I use the computer analysis on this site and have had the same experience many times of finding out afterwards that the continuation of the opening was "book", having had no idea.  Which kind of supports the idea that as long as you stick with the main principles of opening you're probably OK at our kind of level without having to learn masses of opening theory.  Think it's really useful analysing games - after we play in the Quads I'd like to do a post-match analysis with you- probably not straight afterwards but the next day or something?  I guess we're both following Coach Heisman's guidelines for improving - and I agree the whole time management is important - I think especially playing "slow" it almost becomes an endurance thing of maintaining concentration, as opposed to the kind of sprint games that mostly get played online.  Also I'm just hammering tactics trainer at the mo. on the basis that tactics are important at this stage - I too make far too many blunders.  What's the thinking behind KID - is it intended to avoid too much early sharp tactical play?  I think after experimenting with French and Caro-Kann I'm actually just going along with White's opening really as like I say I'm putting opening theory on the backburner.  Also wondered what you thought about pros and cons of Quads vs Swiss?

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