Struggle with Middlegame

IceBryker
I've spent most of my time working on my opening principles and endgame tactics. Before my chess.com membership, my biggest struggle was the checkmate, so I played dozens if not hundreds of mate in one/two puzzles and got a lot better at pattern recognition. I know the basic opening principles along with several strong openings for both white and black, and can generally get my pieces built up to a solid position come middlegame, but I lose all my games to the middle. Are there any puzzle categories or resources I should especially look into to improve my middlegame?
AtaChess68
My advice would be to look at every game you have played and check:

1. how often you give a piece away for free;
2. how often your opponent gave a piece away for free, without you noticing (and thankfully taking).



AtaChess68
(My point is not that you blunder a lot - we all do at these levels. My point is train yourself to see them. Don’t use the engine while analyzing for free pieces).
RussBell

@IceBryker -

From your profile you play exclusively rapid and blitz games.  If you're really serious about improving, I recommend that you...

Play Longer Time Controls...

For many at the beginner-novice level, speed chess tends to be primarily an exercise in moving pieces around faster than your opponent while avoiding checkmate, in hopes that his/her clock runs out sooner than yours. Or being fortunate enough to be able to exploit your opponent’s blunders before they exploit yours.

There is little time to think about what you should be doing.

It makes sense that taking more time to think about what you should be doing would promote improvement in your chess skills.

An effective way to improve your chess is therefore to play mostly longer time controls, including "daily" chess, so you have time to think about what you should be doing.

This is not to suggest that you should necessarily play exclusively slow time controls or daily games, but they should be a significant percentage of your games, at least as much, if not more so than speed games which do almost nothing to promote an understanding of how to play the game well.

Here's what IM Jeremy Silman, well-known chess book author, has to say on the topic...

https://www.chess.com/article/view/longer-time-controls-are-more-instructive

And Dan Heisman, well-known chess teacher and chess book author…
https://web.archive.org/web/20140627052239/http:/www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman16.pdf

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/dan-heisman-resources

and the experience of a FIDE Master...

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/how-blitz-and-bullet-rotted-my-brain-don-t-let-it-rot-yours

If you buy into the aforementioned idea, then I also suggest considering...

Good Positional Chess, Planning & Strategy Books for Beginners and Beyond...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/introduction-to-positional-chess-planning-strategy

blueemu

If the problem is not knowing what sort of plan you should make in the middle-game, and which direction you should head, then you might try reading the first two pages of this thread and playing through the example games:

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/general/gm-larry-evans-method-of-static-analysis

sid0049
IceBryker wrote:
I've spent most of my time working on my opening principles and endgame tactics. Before my chess.com membership, my biggest struggle was the checkmate, so I played dozens if not hundreds of mate in one/two puzzles and got a lot better at pattern recognition. I know the basic opening principles along with several strong openings for both white and black, and can generally get my pieces built up to a solid position come middlegame, but I lose all my games to the middle. Are there any puzzle categories or resources I should especially look into to improve my middlegame?

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Nicator65
IceBryker wrote:
I've spent most of my time working on my opening principles and endgame tactics. Before my chess.com membership, my biggest struggle was the checkmate, so I played dozens if not hundreds of mate in one/two puzzles and got a lot better at pattern recognition. I know the basic opening principles along with several strong openings for both white and black, and can generally get my pieces built up to a solid position come middlegame, but I lose all my games to the middle. Are there any puzzle categories or resources I should especially look into to improve my middlegame?

There are several books. In the puzzle-like category, there's Laszlo Polgar's Chess Middlegames.

However, no book or puzzle will help if the player doesn't work on playing with purpose and against the rival's purposes. Something like, in the Sicilian Dragon Yugoslav Attack games, Black working his way on the queenside while White doing the same on the kingside, yet both invest tempos trying to delay the rival's progress.

That said, a few seconds aren't usually enough to get a precise picture of the situation on the board. Experienced players have usually worked on that or similar positions before, and can play with the aid of memory to some extent. Then you would need to train both in typical positions and in the specific systems you play often to get somewhat reliable results in fast games.

IceBryker
Thank you all so much for the amazing help! I didn't realize the importance found in slower games! I have the diamond membership now so I'll make sure to look back and analyze my games (without the machine) and take note of common mistakes.
I enjoy the unranked ten minute games as just mindless fun as well, but I really am serious about improving my chess game... I'll make sure to play at least 50% of my games in the 30 min or longer categories for now!
I was going to quote a few of your answers, but I don't want to clutter this post, so thanks especially to RussBell for the links and advice and Nicator65 for the puzzle resources! I'll make sure to look into everything I've been given.
Sneakiest_Of_Snakes

@IceBryker, I took a gander at your last few games and I see you definitely have a very firm understanding of the opening, much better than most of the people at your level. You control the centre, bring out your pieces, and castle the king very quickly, which is always good to see for someone your level.

The problem comes though, is the fact that it seems to me you are playing chess as if it is the solo-card game Solitaire. You get yourselves into such great positions, but after that, you seem to only care about your own plan and your own ideas. Take a look at your most recent game against Pulkit9776.

In this position, you're completely winning. Nothing should go wrong. But it does. Your opponent plays Qg2, and instead of asking what it is trying to do, you take the white knight.

Hence, my piece of advice for you is not to try to improve your middlegame/opening, as  you seem to have a firm understanding of them, you're better than most 1000 rated players I've seen in that regard, but you need to improve your awareness of your opponent's threats. My advice is ask yourself after every single one of your opponent's moves, "what is he/she doing with this move?" If you do, I can see your rating skyrocket over 1000.


However, if you really want to improve your middle game to the intermediate/advanced level, you have to check out this video here, as I explain the simple way I navigate through the middle game and find the best/next to best move in any given position.

If you have any questions, make sure to ask!

RussBell

an excellent book dealing with defensive tactics and threats...

Looking for Trouble by Dan Heisman...

https://www.amazon.com/Looking-Trouble-Recognizing-Meeting-Threats/dp/1936490854/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3JUNTCNF8X3ME&dchild=1&keywords=dan+heisman+chess&qid=1594189569&s=books&sprefix=dan+heisman%2Cpopular%2C211&sr=1-3

Dan Heisman Resources...

https://www.chess.com/blog/RussBell/dan-heisman-resources

MarkGrubb

Sean, the video was very good. You explain chess well. I'll be watchi Thank you.

Sneakiest_Of_Snakes
MarkGrubb wrote:

Sean, the video was very good. You explain chess well. I'll be watchi Thank you.

Thank you friend