Reintroduction: Sensing Danger!, Part 1
Hello! My name is Zach Kasiurak. I am a National Master living in Columbus, OH rated 2273 USCF and 2198 FIDE. I am seriously pursuing my chess career and look to improve rapidly as a player and coach.
I have started my blog to provide insight into ideas or themes I have discovered in my own games, games of my students, or in games of strong players. I hope to convey my personal struggles as well as successes in my own studies, my tournaments, and the coaching scenes.
Chess is a very unforgiving game. One move or lapse of concentration can greatly alter the course. In order to be a successful chess player, it is imperative to retain concentration throughout an entire game. Furthermore, it is imperative to understand when critical moments arise that require even deeper concentration. Below, I have included two of my games as practical examples.
This game was played in the final round of the Bill Wright Saint Louis Open. I had drawn IM Justin Sarkar the round prior and I felt that I was in good form. My final round opponent was Alex Richter (Bab3s on chess.com http://www.chess.com/blog/Bab3s).
The first critical moment is reached. I was familiar with this position and had a general idea on how to place my pieces. As a general overview, white will continue to pressure my kingside with his space advantage while I attempt to stabilize and finish my developement.
At this point, I was pretty happy with my position. I have caught up with my development and it was not apparent to me how White will proceed. This is the correct assessment of the position but defintely the wrong attitude. I lost concentration and misunderstood White's idea because of my inept sensing of danger. I went from the pleasant position to being completely lost in a matter of a few moves.
How did I miss White's idea? I gained a false sense of security. I thought I had weathered the storm when I was still in grave danger. I lost my concentration for a few moves and that was enough to seal my fate. Here are some final thoughts on how to avoid this sort of disaster.
1. Don't become complacent when reaching a comfortable position.
Whether you are still in theory or just are comfortable with your position, do not stop working. Continue looking for new ideas for you and your opponent. Don't just rely on what you may know previously about the position. Try your best to always work hard over the board.
2. Do not underestimate your opponent or the ideas of your opponent.
In all honesty, I underestimated my opponent greatly. He was lower rated than me and I was playing in a position I was relatively comfortable with. I did not see his following ideas partial due to this fact. It is useful to have information about your opponent, but don't let that preclude you from properly analyzing the position.
I hope this post provided insight and hopefully saves some readers from a simliar fate! Please don't hesitate to provide constructive critism or comments below!
I will be posting on my blog very regularly as well as streaming 5-min chess games with commentary. I will tweet when blog updates or streaming occurs. I will continue with Part 2 on Sensing Danger very soon!
Coaching Profile: http://www.chess.com/coach/zach-kasiurak
Alex Richter's Blog: http://www.chess.com/blog/Bab3s
My 5-min Stream: http://www.twitch.tv/kokobeast
All the Best!