Apologies if this isn't the best place in the forums to post this request for help but I'm slowing losing my patience with this at the moment. I've been playing chess on my phone and after always winning on the lower levels I upped the ante to almost the highest level (6 out of 8) and I'm getting very frustrated with my inability to even get close to winning. I'll confess to being somewhat of a hobby player. I know the rules/moves etc... but very often fail to appreciate what my opponent is aiming to do most of the time.
On to the problem.. My opponent playing as black always starts like this:
You can ignore my moves as they are what I've been trying the last day or two. Invariably this is how black starts it's defence. And I've lost 100% of my games on this level. I'm lucky to get a check on the king during a match. I'd like to know if there's an effective way to stop the knights and bishops in particular doing whatever the hell they want. They seem to be able to dance anywhere over the board and I seem almost powerless to stop them. Just when I think I've nipped a move in the bud I'm suddenly a couple of pieces down and three steps from mate.
So any and all suggestions welcome.
I think that if you want useful feedback, you'll need to post a full game that you've played.
I think it's enough to say that there's nothing tricky about black's setup there, if you're losing pieces you're just missing your opponent's threats.
I suspected I was "missing" the obvious threats.
Here's a typical match...
So I'm guessing the advice is take it slowly and [try to] work out where the threat(s) are coming from? Or do I prepare a more thorough opening and use attack as the best form of defence?
I suspect the best answer is a combination, and judgement/experience as to which threats you can ignore/counterattack and which you have to defend against.
In general in d4 openings it's best not to play Nc3 before you have moved the c pawn as you often want to play c4 to attack black's centre.
After 5. Nb4 I can't see any better than Bd3 which isn't a nice move to play but limits the damage somewhat, for the bishop pair and doubled pawns you will get good central control and a half open c file. I don't play d4 so I'm not so sure how to prevent these fried liver style attacks in advance so can't be more helpful.
Taking the knight on move 8 is a mistake because of the discovered attack and the game is over at that point.
After 4 ... Nf6 is it difficult to defend 5. ... Nb4 with 6. e4, because black can capture that pawn with the knight. Playing 5. a3 prevents that line of attack.
Or you can play 6. Bb5+ c6 7. Ba4 and next 8. a3. The bishop is not very good at that position for a long time, which shows that you should not want to play this line if that kind of move is one of the best moves available.