Why do 1700 rated players keep crushing me?!



This is a game I recently played. We had a lot of time to think (30 minutes each) so I tried to be as thorough as possible with all my moves and avoid tactical mistakes... yet I still lost!

I blame it all on that annoying knight outpost that my opponent had in the middle of the board that prevented me from being able to do anything... but how could I have prevented that knight outpost?

Deranged wrote:


This is a game I recently played. We had a lot of time to think (30 minutes each) so I tried to be as thorough as possible with all my moves and avoid tactical mistakes... yet I still lost!

I blame it all on that annoying knight outpost that my opponent had in the middle of the board that prevented me from being able to do anything... but how could I have prevented that knight outpost?

It wasn't that bad of a crush. You made some early decisions which came back to haunt you. For example, pushing e5 opening things up before you castled left you open to the queen pinning your knight, which you had to resolve by trading queens into the endgame which you lost.

Also, there's a chance that your previous 1825 rapid rating was inaccurate, since you had only played one other game in the last 6 years. Most players with your current 1594 rapid rating would understand getting beaten by a 1700.

The Glicko RD of 234 for your 1594 rapid rating is pretty high and means that there is a lot of uncertainty about your current rating. Compare that to the RD of 57 for your blitz rating of 1625 or the RD of 65 for your bullet rating of 1486.  



I agree with ~mtwain.

9...e5 looked wrong, partly because Black usually needs to castle before equalizing in most openings, and partly because that position is similar to the Rubinstein Variation of the Caro-Kann, where ...e5 turns out to be slightly weak for Black, and partly because it gives Black an isolated d-pawn.

Several subsequent problems resulted from that pawn push: the pin of your knight against your king, which then tied up your queen so it couldn't recapture normally at d7 (normally Black would play 13...Qxd7), which in turn forced one of your knights to retreat or move again (13...Nexd7), which in turn prevented you from castling normally, which in turn pressured you to trade queens (14...Qxe2), which in turn gave White an extra tempo since he recaptured while developing (15. Nxe2). 

Still the endgame looked quite reasonable to me until 20...g5, which weakened your kingside pawn structure, which later allowed White's king to invade (29. Kf4). I've found that the pawn structure f7 + g6 + h5 is surprisingly stable, so I think you should have gone for that pawn structure instead: ...g6 instead of ...g5. So overall I'd say the loss was due to two weak moves (2 weak moves = 1 mistake = 1 lost game), which isn't bad at all. It could be the 1700 player was much stronger and was rapidly on his way up in rating, so his rating may not have been accurate.


Deranged wrote:


I blame it all on that annoying knight outpost that my opponent had in the middle of the board that prevented me from being able to do anything... but how could I have prevented that knight outpost?


You cant prevent an isolated pawn from being a weak point....other than to not isolate the pawn in the first place or use the isolated pawn to help with an attack. 4...cxd4 being the move that set it up, because after that  your queen bishop was held down quite a bit.


The thing about the defense you played is it requires a high degree of precision on positional moves against the London system. The base defense is very useful against Colle and Stonewall, not so much London...imo. I play 1 d4 Nf6 2 Bf4 d6







You made a few dubious strategic choices early in the game,

1) With your Pawns on the light squares d5/e6/f7, you deliberately played to exchange your (good) dark-squared Bishop by ... Bd6. 

2) You played ... e5 isolating your d-Pawn, in a position where you couldn't take advantage of the isolated Pawn's dynamic strengths (by occupying e4 and/or c4 and/or controlling the e-file) but still had to defend the isolated Pawn's weakness.

3) You opened the center against your own King.


4. ...cd is a mistake in such positions because it releases the central tension and deprives black of options. Normal in this position is 4. ...Be7. And things went gently downhill from there ......


1. Too many forward pawn pushes, especially before finishing developement (though kingside pawn expansion was also unnecessary)

2. General unwillingness to keep tension (4...cxd4 is an error, 8...Bxg3 could be delayed)

3. ...e5 without castling

4. Exchanging everything when your pawn structure was worse

5. Personally, I'd try 15...0-0 instead of 15...0-0-0. White is better either way, but there are a couple of weak squares in his camp. With rooks on c8 and d8, ...d4 becomes a real possibility. If you liquidate this isolated pawn, you are equal.


I disagree with the majority here, while everything that was said up to now is true and I agree with everything, I think it's more to the point saying that you lost because you failed to play the endgame or better to understand when enter into the endgame, it seems to me (I may be under the wrong impression of course) that you relyed on the your oppont pawns weakness to win the endgame which wasn't enough. Your opponent had amore centralized and active king and that was your demise. g5 and a6 looks both wrong to me, I mean without a6 you lose a pawn, true, but if you play a6 nothing will stop white king and once it will make contact with you pawns you'll be simply lost.


so again IMO you misplayed the endgame, you were slightly worst but I'm not sure if with correct play (starting form 21. ) white had more than a draw, again I do agree with the other comments too.


One major factor was your h and g pawn. The h pawn could always be trouble being on a semi open file but without protection from the g pawn it needs a piece to defend it which freezes the piece for more useful action. Once that defender moves or is forced to move the pawn is really vulnerable.

Since you castled Queen side any opponent pawn majority on the kingside could be the outside passed pawn and that's usually a good plus.


Because they have brains (unlike you)

josephyossi wrote:

Because they have brains (unlike you)

That was a very nasty post, josephossi. Go stand in the corner, facing the wall, and don't come out until you can learn to be nicer to people. -- Mom

Deranged wrote:


This is a game I recently played. We had a lot of time to think (30 minutes each) so I tried to be as thorough as possible with all my moves and avoid tactical mistakes... yet I still lost!


You are right: you did not loose because of tactical mistakes but rather because of strategic ones.

I have bit different opinion about 9... e5! than most other though: I think it may be your best bet at that point (after the mistakes you committed earlier by exchanging your good bishop and opening the h-file for white against your future castled position). Even if the resulting isolated pawn position may not be the best version for black it's probably still only a small edge for white at best whereas if you play passively with 0-0 etc. you will have major problems activating Bc8 (white might even consider f4 to bury it in for good) and white's advantage is unquestioned.

However, you don't handle the resulting isolated pawn position very succesfully. For one thing you should avoid unnecessary exchanges because this usually only emphasises the potential weakness of the d5-pawn and significance of the d4-outpost. Especially, try to avoid exchanging queens. 11... 0-0! would be a major improvement over the game.

After the queens exchange you don't really have any counterplay anymore but this doesn't yet have to spell doom. As long as the isolated pawn is your only weakness there are still quite good chances of defending. I know it is easier said than done but you should try to avoid creating more weaknesses. For example by playing g5 you leave also the f5 square permanently weak and by playing g4 you give white's king clear acces to the kingside where your over extended pawns are easy prey making the ending hopeless.


9...e5 was just fine, no question about that. The resulting IQP position is OK for Black.

While 20...g5? was not excactly a losing move, it should make something clear to you: You should be VERY careful when pushing pawns in the ending: These are the only pieces which cannot go back!

josephyossi wrote:

Because they have brains (unlike you)

funny you say that. your best rating is shit (1398)


Let's talk about basic strategy for a minute here. After move 10, you have an isolated d-pawn. This is a pretty common formation, and it's one where both players strategies are clear:


The side with the isolated d-pawn wants to keep minor pieces on the board, use the space advantage it provides to launch a middle game attack, possible including a breakthrough behind advancing the pawn. 


The side without the isolate pawn wants to trade off minor pieces to reduce the dynamic potential in the middle game. They want to keep queens and a pair of rooks on, so they can gang up on the isolated pawn and trade into a winning endgame where their opponents pieces will be tied down to the defense of a weak pawn.


Isolated d-pawns can be strong, and weak - it depends on the position, and the key is to understand the nature of the position and play accordingly. 


So remember: you want to keep pieces on and attack. He wants to trade pieces down and gang up on your pawn. So what happens next?


Over the next couple of moves, queens and LS-bishops come off. This drastically reduces your attacking potential.  Then you trade off another pair of Ns - each trade making your d-pawn weaker and weaker - and then his N takes the key blockading square d4. Ignoring computer evaluations for a moment, from move 11 to move 19 the position has become much stronger for your opponent: he probably has a strategically won game at this point. 


Over the next few moves the rooks come off - this isn't so terrible for you, as you actually may have some drawing changes now - it's harder for him to gang up against the pawn.


But now he does a better job of getting his king active. a6 stops the N from making a one-move threat - there was no reason to play that! If he played Nb5, you could then have played a6. As a result of that wasted move, he's able to infiltrate with his king (notice you if you had not played a6, you could would have reached e5 with your K, keeping his K out of f4). 


After Kf4 I think you're probably lost again. Whatever drawing chances you had by virtue of getting rid of the rooks and making it hard for him to hang up on your pawn are undone by the activity of his king - and I get that you're searching for counterplay, but you just gave him an outside passed pawn while your king diddles around on the queenside with no real targets. 


And yes, b5 is a tactical blunder, but you're already lost (baring a miracle) and it's a blunder caused by your failure to understand the strategic nature of the position. His king is running rampant on the kingside, he'll soon have an outside passed pawn, and you're done for anyway. 


Holy crap. A player 600 points below me is blowing my mind with info!!


You made weak moves in the endgame.  Your 23...g4 ended un-doubling your opponent's pawns and isolating two of your own.  Then you let the White King penetrate to your K-side Pawns and failed to protect your h-Pawn.


I really considered 20... g6

But I eventually chose to move to g5 because I wanted to push forward and try to get rid of his f3 pawn so that I could move Ne4 or Ng4 and bring my knight into the game. I was also a little bit worried about facing 21. Rf4 but maybe that threat wasn't so bad for me after all.


The reason I moved 7... Bd6 was because I saw it as the only way to develop my queen and light squared bishop. Otherwise I'd be pretty caved in.


I was in a hurry to make the e5 pawn push before white played Nf3, although I do agree that it would've been nicer if I could castle kingside first, but I felt that time was of the essence and I had to push e5 either now or never.


The knight tradeoff at move 17 was a bit unfortunate, but I didn't see what I could've done instead. Maybe 17... b6 might have been better, but I wanted to double his pawns, so that's why I captured him and traded off.