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I play with a friend all the time. We are both beginner/intermediate. It seems to me like we both, open, set up good positions, and then whoever destroys their own position first by making the wrong move is the one who loses. I want to know how do you recognize a good position and know when to leave it alone. I think that I can make my position impregnable but by continuing to move pieces unneccesarily I screw things up.
The fallacy is right there in your statement : How can you leave a good position alone? You just CAN'T!!!
First of all, most good positions to me are those where I have my pieces fully developed doing useful things while my opponent has some tangible weaknesses that I can go after. To put things in a different way, where the imbalances on the board tend to favor me over the other person. You both CAN'T have good positions in chess :)
Assuming you've reached this good position (anything else you call a good position needs some clarification ... what is your idea of a good position??) , it is imperative that you go after your opponent's weaknesses or create new ones. Just sitting there and doing nothing takes away whatever advantage you have gained so far.
This is in fact one of the foundations of Steinitz's famous rules of attack (copy-pasted below)
"It seems to me like we both, open, set up good positions, and then whoever destroys their own position first by making the wrong move is the one who loses."
This is normal for low-raters, normally whoever blunders first/last/most goes on to lose the game. Don't worry about this too much, all players blunder, only the frequency declines with improving playing strength.
"I want to know how do you recognize a good position and know when to leave it alone."
You will recognise strong positions from your past victories and losses. Never leave a position alone, always strive to improve the position, you are compelled to make a move anyway.
Practice makes perfect and you will improve through playing regularly, especially if you play stronger opponents and ask yourself "What did my opponent do, to cause me to lose?"
I've noticed that you've been here quite a while without actually playing, why is that?
I think people often implode or weaken their positions by trying to make too bold of moves than what the position calls for. You can correct this habit by making a plan and seeing if that plan is realistic. You can also look for moves that will slightly improve your position, as opposed to those that may create a strong attack if your opponent does nothing in return but will lead to positional weaknesses in your camp.
My own coach helped me with this very problem by mentioning three common traits of strong players:
- They rarely initiate a trade of pieces.
- They think long and hard before making a pawn break.
- They maintain tension in favor of committing to a single-minded plan.
Didn't take me long to appreciate that piece of advice.
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