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Beginner analysis; how to convert a decent opening/middle game to a winning game.

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nickh90

Hello everyone

I just recently started to learn how to play chess. Getting from the very basic things (how to move pieces) to beginner opening moves, tactics and strategies.

I feel like my opening and middle game are 'on point' (meaning: for the level i'm at currently). But i seem to lose controle when i reach the part between the middle and endgame.

This was my position (playing as white) against my girlfriend last night. So far so good. I played a decent opening (Italian game) and a decent middle game (protecting all my pieces and manages to take some of hers) which led the the situation above; i have a material advantage and i'm in a winning position.

The idea with the queen move was to trade queens (since i'm up in material). She tried to get away which resulted in her losing her queen anyway (and i lost my rook), which brought us to the following position:

The game above sadly (for me) resulted in a draw. Before i found my winning move (i was 1 turn away from winning eventually) she had my king going back and forth against her rook and bishop attacks. 

I basically have 2 questions:

1: was the queen trade a good move? Or was there any obvious/better move to gain material? 

2: How do i convert one of the situations above into a win? I'm basically looking for a strategy here.. i played 5 games like the above, where i'm up and winning untill the semi-endgame. I'm have 2 rooks and a queen attack the upper file and a knight potentially guarding the H7 file. Still i can't seem to find the winning moves here..

Any tips/advice would be really welcome..

Thx!

Nick

Toldsted

1. Yes. It is a main idea to exchange when ahead on material.

2. Always look for tactics. In the diagram you have a very powerfull tactic: Qe6 binding the Rook and winning it with Rf4 or Rd7 next. To win your winning positions you need to study tactic and endgame.

nickh90
Toldsted schreef:

1. Yes. It is a main idea to exchange when ahead on material.

2. Always look for tactics. In the diagram you have a very powerfull tactic: Qe6 binding the Rook and winning it with Rf4 or Rd7 next. To win your winning positions you need to study tactic and endgame.

Thank you Tolsted happy.png That would be a brilliant move indeed.. And that would have (eventually) won me the game. I feel like the endgame lessons are not exactly what i am looking for.. they are always about 1 or 2 pieces vs a king (or maybe king+rook or something). What is something like this called? Tactics or strategy? Is there any lesson, book or youtube video that you would recommend?

nickh90
nickh90 schreef:
Toldsted schreef:

1. Yes. It is a main idea to exchange when ahead on material.

2. Always look for tactics. In the diagram you have a very powerfull tactic: Qe6 binding the Rook and winning it with Rf4 or Rd7 next. To win your winning positions you need to study tactic and endgame.

Thank you Tolsted That would be a brilliant move indeed.. And that would have (eventually) won me the game. I feel like the endgame lessons are not exactly what i am looking for.. they are always about 1 or 2 pieces vs a king (or maybe king+rook or something). What is something like this called? Tactics or strategy? Is there any lesson, book or youtube video that you would recommend?

Toldsted

This is tactic. You will encounter tactics in all your games, which is why it's important to study. But don't underestimate endgame training. In most of your games, you will often not make it to the endgame. But for the following reasons, it's important to also train endgame (starting with just a few pieces):
1. in some games you will reach your winning position in the endgame, and then it's a shame to just move around aimlessly.
2. As you get better, more and more of your games will end in endgames. Especially Rook endgames are very common. And difficult :-)
3. Because there are so few pieces in the endgame, it's a good way to get to know the potential of the pieces better.

To train tactics use chess.com's exercises or similar. Maybe in combination with a beginner book that can highligt the most common themes. To study endgames, find a god beginner book. You probably have some in Dutch, we have a lot in Danish.

Kaon_497

It would be good to trade down, but the opponent doesn’t of course have to accept trades. Just keep putting your pieces on good squares, building up the pressure while limiting the opponent’s attacking potential, so just like it was an even game, and eventually the opponent’s position will crack and you win material or checkmate, or they have to accept trades to relieve the pressure. If you offer a trade, ask yourself am I just doing this to offer a trade that the opponent will probably decline, or am I also improving my position or worsening the opponet’s, so even if the opponent declines I am better off.

Of course, at your level you can just offer trades in the hopes that they accept if you don’t know what to do, but in this case make sure you don’t leave any counterattacking chances to your opponent by wasting moves offering trades.

Kaon_497

In the second picture like scenarios where there still plenty of pieces, so no kings entering the game, I would be looking for

1. Winning even more material

2. Checkmates (since there still are powerful pieces)

3. Forced trades

nickh90
Toldsted schreef:

This is tactic. You will encounter tactics in all your games, which is why it's important to study. But don't underestimate endgame training. In most of your games, you will often not make it to the endgame. But for the following reasons, it's important to also train endgame (starting with just a few pieces):
1. in some games you will reach your winning position in the endgame, and then it's a shame to just move around aimlessly.
2. As you get better, more and more of your games will end in endgames. Especially Rook endgames are very common. And difficult :-)
3. Because there are so few pieces in the endgame, it's a good way to get to know the potential of the pieces better.

To train tactics use chess.com's exercises or similar. Maybe in combination with a beginner book that can highligt the most common themes. To study endgames, find a god beginner book. You probably have some in Dutch, we have a lot in Danish.

Thx again happy.png As for the puzzles. Would you recommend just clicking on 'puzzles' (and climbing the ladder) or select certain topics in the puzzle section?

Kaon_497 schreef:

It would be good to trade down, but the opponent doesn’t of course have to accept trades. Just keep putting your pieces on good squares, building up the pressure while limiting the opponent’s attacking potential, so just like it was an even game, and eventually the opponent’s position will crack and you win material or checkmate, or they have to accept trades to relieve the pressure. If you offer a trade, ask yourself am I just doing this to offer a trade that the opponent will probably decline, or am I also improving my position or worsening the opponet’s, so even if the opponent declines I am better off.

Of course, at your level you can just offer trades in the hopes that they accept if you don’t know what to do, but in this case make sure you don’t leave any counterattacking chances to your opponent by wasting moves offering trades.

thx happy.png

Toldsted
nickh90 skrev:

Thx again As for the puzzles. Would you recommend just clicking on 'puzzles' (and climbing the ladder)?

Yes. But try not to guess. Use some time (maybe decide on 5 minuttes) to try to see the ideas and calculate the variations. And when you miss, then try to find out, why your move was not as god as the solution. In that way you learn.

And do not take to many in a row. It is very easy to tilt :-)

Compadre_J

It looks like you are bad at using your Open Files.

You should use Files as roads to infiltrate your opponent position. Than expand horizontally to create horizontal pressure.

Famous saying in chess “Pigs belong on 7th”

Pigs refers to Rooks on the opponent 7th rank which is very devastating because they can eat a lot of pawns or pieces.

It can be tough to get Major pieces on 8th row because your enemy will often defend 8th which is why the term Rooks on 7th is used more because it is less defended.

In your game, your opponent abandon the 8th rank

Look at your diagram #2 and compare to my below diagram.

Can Black survive if you have your set up against them like above? Nope!

Wind

Amazing of you to share these with us @nickh90! The thread is a great learning opportunity.

In addition to what everyone else said, I'll add that you should always look for moves that will make your opponent uncomfortable, such as forced moves and pins since often those will allow you to gain tempi, which in turn enables you to convert advantages into decisive results.

@Toldsted's item #2 is a perfect example which shows how a pin can be extremely uncomfortable for the opponent, since they must spend move(s) addressing the threat while you can then convert your material advantage (being a queen ahead) into a decisive result (taking even more material which ultimately will lead to a checkmate).

It is also important to familiarize yourself with the basic checkmate patterns, so you can successfully convert a winning endgame.

magipi

In the first picture, white is up a full rook. In the second, a full queen. No clever tactics or endgame knowledge is required, everything wins trivially.

Also, the white king is completely safe. How can this transpose into a position where the white king is getting checked perpetually? What happened to the white pieces? Did white blunder them all away?

cellen01

There's a lot of ways to convert one's material advantage. The easiest way is to just trade everything down into an endgame. It is the most surefire way with minimum risks, though it will take more time. The other way is to win through a powerful attack, where you pierce through the opponent's defenses with your material advantage(a rook has more firepower than a knight, that's just how it is in chess). Though I'd say just stick with trading everything down into a winning endgame, as it is the most safe and easy option.