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Improvement Issue

  • #1

    I posted this on my blog earlier...I wonder how many people here share similar experiences...

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Actions Speak Louder Than Words

    Interesting lesson tonight. Round One of the Waukesha Chess Club Championship was tonight. Prior to my game I was speaking with a local expert and I was telling him that I felt that one of the main items to work on for me to progress to the next level would be learning when to violate certain chess principles.

    For example, when we first learn to play we are taught that doubled pawns are weak. So we try to avoid them at all costs. Later on you learn that there are many positions in which doubled pawns aren't weak at all, or when there are other dynamic factors that compensate for the doubled pawns.

    I believe that learning when to violate these principles is vital to my continued development.

    I then had a conversation with another expert and a strong A player and told them that I had a lesson with a local expert who had shown me that in closed positions I tend to make inaccurate time wasting moves in the opening.

    Then I was paired with a master for my game. Seven time state champ Bill Williams. I played the Black side of the QGD (closed position) and then about 10-12 moves in I realized that I could move a knight for the second time (sloppy move) and win the bishop pair (general chess principle.)

    So what happened? Absolute crushing defeat from that point forward. I gave away a positional consideration that just turned into me getting steamrolled.

    So the lesson? Well...actions speak louder than words. I spent 30 minutes speaking with several people about how I needed to learn not to do all of the things that I then went and did.
    Read more of my blog here: http://ontheroadtochessmaster.blogspot.com/
  • #2

    I think we all suffer from that from time to time.

  • #3

    I suppose while the overall goal is to eliminate those issues perhaps the best any of us can hope for it to limit them.

  • #4

    Bill is a strong player. Chess is a hard game.

  • #5

    Well it's tough... there are all these rules of thumb and for every rule there are 10 exceptions and then for the exceptions there are exceptions when the rule was right anyway (??)

    My advice is don't get too wrapped up in it.  Don't play a move because it's supposedly good, play moves that make sense to you at the time.  If you looked at the board and really thought your two bishops were going to be superior minor pieces compared to his knight and bishop then make the trade.  If you thought "oh two bishops are supposed to be good" and didn't look any further then that's definitely a mistake.

    But either way it's a lesson to grow on.  As BQ said we all go through this (and it's a never ending learning process).

  • #6

    Rules of thumb are...rules of thumb Smile

    It means they don't always apply. If they don't apply in a specific position, there's probably a more important rule at work in this position. Try to figure out which one.

  • #7

    Yes, but when you take into account that I had just had the conversation with Haubrich, and then spoke with you and Clark about not making time wasting moves it just winds up looking silly.


    Here is what happened.


    The sad thing that was I calculated all of this from Nh5 through Ng7 and stopped at that point with the thought of "Sure, I'm behind in development, and I have some weak squares, but as soon as I get my pieces out I can break open the position and the bishop pair will rule."


    And yet the very next move, 15. Ne4 absolutely puts me into a crushing bind from which I could not escape.

  • #8

    Nh5 is actually a pretty common (and book-like) move in that kind of position, so considering it is a good sign IMO :)

    Taking on e5 was bad though, as you discovered.  Usually after Be5 you get to play f6 but in that position you couldn't because his bishop was on c4.

    And you saw up to Ng7 and said to yourself you were behind in development but could get out of it at which point your bishops will be good?  That's all really good.  A great lesson for this game then, you can be happy about this in my opinion :)  You had a reasonable idea and it didn't work.  This is so much better than a stupid idea that doesn't work.

    I recently had a game like this were I went for a pawn, calculated I'd be behind in development, but thought I could catch up... well I was pretty much crushed.  Yay!  Now I know when I look at similar positions in the future that a small but nagging development issue can be serious.  If they can get an initiative or bind in any way it's very dangerous.

  • #9

    My frustration lies in the fact that I made the decision to win the bishop pair while knowing that there were positional considerations that were at work.  Sadly, I played the move anyway.


    But that's OK, I'm hoping this drives the lesson home.  No more time wasting moves in the opening unless I can concretely calculate an advantage.

  • #10

    Chess.com has a series of videos by Daniel Rensch on the Caro-Slav pawn structure. I suggest watching them if you haven't. After your move 7... dxc4  you have transposed into the Caro-Slav pawn structure after which the pawn breaks on either e5 or c5 become critical and need to be your highest priority. It looks like you were beginning to prepare e5 and then got distracted by his bishop pair. Usually the c5 break is easier to achieve escpecially with the White Bishop on f4.

  • #11

    I was planning exactly on breaking with either e5 oer c5 and then yes, I said to myself "Hey, I can get that pesky bishop pair" and poof, it was gone.

  • #12

    Also I don't understand the point of 7 dxc4 unless you get something for it. Usually in the Meran (which you are not in)  dxc4 is played to get the free move b5 to gain time and space to quickly get c5 in. But you never played b5 and I am not sure how Re8 combines with any of that. Your play seemed a little disjointed, with little bits from a lot of seperate ideas but without follow through. Of course it is far easier to be a Monday Morning Quarterback than to be the one playing the game.

  • #13

    I was thinking the same JC, yes CW, you should check out Daniel's video, Sam Shankland has some good one's as well, I checked all the CK  videos. Even if you have seen them, reviewing them is never a bad idea.  You were playing a much stronger player than yourself, so don't be too hard on yourself. 

    As far as knights and bishops go, you know the general guidelines so I'm not going to state them except for this. I have won games with my knights, even in open games. Maybe I was lucky in some of them, or my opponent or computer didn't play his bishops right.

    It really depends on the position of the rest of the board and how the pieces are all interacting with one another doesn't it ?

    By the same token I have lost some games as well, but it was because of the position more than anything else (not whether I had knights or bishops) Obviously open boards favor bishops more typically, that doesn't mean knights can't be effective as well however.

    Sometimes in the right positions they can dominate bishops even in semi open and open boards, it depends on the pawns and other pieces and where they are.  I hope this is of some help to you, if not  maybe for newer players. Good luck on your future games.

  • #14

    Any reason you didn't make the c5 break as early as move 6..c5 instead of 6..c6

    5 Bf4 doesn't pressure your d5 pawn but it clamps down on e5. It should allow c5 pretty much for free.

  • #15

    Thanks for the QGD lesson earlier Jim.  I suppose I will have to look at those Tarrasch lines for Black.


    Also, I am on the third video in the Caro-Slav series.

  • #16
    JamesCoons wrote:

    Any reason you didn't make the c5 break as early as move 6..c5 instead of 6..c6

    5 Bf4 doesn't pressure your d5 pawn but it clamps down on e5. It should allow c5 pretty much for free.

    Quite right - 5 ...c5 should be the reaction to 5 Bf4, it allows Black some freedom and a close to equal game in most lines, although the situation can get complicated if both sides wish.

  • #17

    I think your problem here was violating the more basic rule at the cost of development.

    You spend a lot of time you don't have to gain the two Bishops, while completely neglecting your development.  Think of it this way: you moved your Ng8 three times, your Nb8 twice, and your g6 pawn, all to effect the capture of a Bishop which moved only twice.  In the end, you have a Knight on g7 to show for it and are not only behind in development but in a cramped position where your Bishop pair isn't doing anything productive.

    First things first.  Forget the Bishop pair and other niceties until you've developed your pieces and secured your King, especially as Black.


    Time is very important in chess, and doubly so in the early stages of the game. 

  • #18
    JamesCoons wrote:

    Bill is a strong player. Chess is a hard game.

    lol, often the truth is so simple

  • #19

    Your development was weak but who cares you had the two bishops!


  • #20

    One of my opponents a couple of years ago, when I used to play the Semi-Slav with 4. ...e6 (instead of Wainscott's 4. ...Be7), played Bf4 on the fifth move. I was confused by it and never got a comfortable position, with the queen's bishop raking the h2-b8 diagonal. I don't play the Semi-Slav anymore, but I'd still like to know how to proceed after 5. Bf4 in that position just for curiosity.

    P.S. 5. ...c5 is not really an option, since I've already played c7-c6 a move or two back.


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