Tips to stay focused in rapid chess during all the game ? (especially in winning positions)

TheJazzSax

Ok here is my problem: over the last year i gained 150 to 200 points in bullet, blitz, daily chess and 300 in Tactics. But almost zero in rapid (15/10)

Here is my ratings in that order : 1353,1456,1933,2147 (puzzle rush : 27 and you know everything about me )

In rapid i am stuck around 1525(plus or minus 50).

The problem is that when i got a better or winning position, i relax and don't think as hard as i do in an equal or bad position (GM level of stupidity i know)

I'm tired to see the message "That game slipped through your fingers." Which is like the three quarters of my defeats

Do you got any tips to avoid this behaviour of mine ? That would be very nice !

I think everyone including lower rated players could help each other on this subject happy.png

 

Mouselip

You identified the problem. Now just need to take the steps to remedy it. Don't relax until the game is over. What else can be said?

If you have behavior that is detrimental to your goals then change your behavior. It's that simple. Apparently it is not easy for you... but it really is that simple.

TheJazzSax

Yeah but i tried and it won't disapear completely, It's either due to fatigue, over confidence (a spice of time trouble) or all the same at once.
I think everyone faced these situation before , and i want to know if they found a mnemonic way to overcome it !

Mouselip

You have already taken the biggest step toward correction... that is *awareness*. Once you are aware of the problem then you are ready to correct it. You need two things to correct a problem; you need to be ready and then you need to be be willing. You are ready... but are you really willing?

To be willing you have to *commit* to making the change. "Buy into it," as we say in the US. :-)

You have a pretty good tactical puzzle rating... treat every position as if it is a puzzle after the point in the game where you feel you are winning. What is the best move? If you cannot find the best move, then at least find a move that preserves the advantage.

TheJazzSax

Ok,I didn't considered seeing thing that way (chess is 99% tactics as some Top player said)

And yeah i think i am maybe to willing to make the change( i would gladly exchange 200 points in all of the other time control and tactics to get 200 points in rapid)

PatrickDaly

They say the hardest game to win, is a won game. Chess is different than most other games, if you relax when you're up 30 points in the last 5 minutes of a football game, it probably will be OK, but until the game is over, you can make one move and go from completely winning to completely losing, or even lost. 

I think you've taken good first steps to identifying the problem but there's probably a handful of things going on which all comes down to the same solution, which is really just "how do I play chess better." There are multiple types of ideas in chess, tactical motifs, positional ideas and plans, and if your tactics is over 2100 then you've got a lot of the ideas for tactics already. If you get some positional ideas and plans down, so you know what to do when there aren't tactics, you'll be golden for ideas, and if your daily rating is ~1900 then you probably have ideas as well.

It sounds like 15|10 in particular is a psychological weak spot for you, from the way you're describing your play. I haven't looked at your games, but as I've been in that spot too, and I recognize what you're talking about, "relaxing" is probably the thing to think about as far as the problems go. If you recognize you're losing and play better, more tricky or more resiliently and you do better from losing positions than winning positions, then noticing that you relax is a good first step.

I stay focused on the king. The game of chess ends in checkmate, DBR, or stalemate, or resign/draw agreement if players recognize a position. I also tend to sacrifice material so I'm in a position where I win in early checkmate/massive material gain, or lose, so I'm never really outright winning, and that has an effect on how I play. I know I have to deliver a staggering attack or go down, I'm probably losing if I don't deliver. 

That being said I usually get a fairly winning position relatively quickly, players in my rating range, <1800, don't defend well. But I'm already deep on a kinghunt by that point. All my games are very king-focused. I don't care about material so much, I care about position, in particular, I want your king. For example, this game, where I sacrificed several pawns (most were not accepted) and then a piece. https://www.chess.com/live/game/3455502410

None of black's queenside pieces moved until the bishop moved on move 31. Yeah I sacrificed a piece but black had no pieces around the king, no pawns, so the king was wide open. That game was the most thematically Ryder Gambit game I've ever played, that king structure in the middle is just the most prototypical way to keep white's king safe if black doesn't take on f3, often even if black does take on f3 it's the safest spot. I knew my king was safe in the middle and had planned to recapture on c3 with the b pawn the entire time because I love that structure. So the plan was simple: push my pawns and keep my queen on the board helping to move them up, get my minor pieces in whenever I need to. 

I recognized a great position: black has no cover for the king and the queenside pieces are garbage for a long time, I knew I had plenty of time to push the g and h pawns. What's more is, it's a hard to play position. I knew the sacrifice would be easily playable for white and hard to play for black. I knew it was probably better for black according to the computer, but impossible to play for a human as black. More important than recognizing that I had a good position because of the bishop sacrifice, is recognizing the plan for the position. I sacrificed the a pawn, the h pawn (not taken), the e pawn(immediately sacced back), and would've sacrificed the d pawn too.

But what was the plan?

Well, I knew what a win would look like on move 33, when I sacrificed the bishop on move 10. If the h pawn was taken it would look different, open h file would have made the game much quicker, so I didn't mind losing Harry at all. The plan was, keep queens on the board and push the g and h pawns. So in a very AlphaZero way of playing, I don't mind retreating my queen three times in 4 moves. She belongs behind the pawns anyhow, not in front of them, and black wasting queen moves instead of developing is good for me too. 

Patient improving moves, Karpov style, with absolutely no care for material, only position, Tal style, is the a0 way of playing, which I'm attempting to adopt. Recognize the plan is the first step: "I must keep my queen and I must push my g and h pawns." Next are the ideas: "Retreating my queen behind my pawnchain is great, I can move her back out soon behind the pawns and keep those pawns rolling, I never have to move my h rook, and the other rook is going right to g1 and never moving again." The plans and ideas were so simple in that game that the position really played itself with those things in mind. None of the moves were particularly hard to spot for white, black seemed to play natural moves but the position required incredibly accurate defense or doom.

Getting focused on "I'm winning" or "I'm losing" is equivalent to looking at the scoreboard in any other sport: don't do it if you can't keep your head, and it's particularly more brutal in chess than in other sports, as I'm sure you've found out or you wouldn't have posted this lol. Ideally you don't think about it at all and always make the same kind of "prevent tactics, take tactics my opponent dropped, improve my position, play tricky if it isn't losing" moves. When it comes down to it, you should play similarly whether you're winning or losing. Tactics come first, playing tricky as long as it isn't a bad move is good, and improving your position is great, doesn't matter if you're -10 or +10, that's all the same. Plans may change somewhat, the plan may be to secure a draw by repetition, so it is important to be somewhat cognizant of who's winning, but too much focus is obviously a problem for you right now, so I would stress de-focusing on "yay I'm winning!" until you've completely won. I choose to do so with a kinghunt in most positions to keep my focus going. 

Constantly improving the position and preventing your opponent's plans, being aware of their plans even, is a great way to really get by without much planning at all. If you don't drop tactics, and you pick up your opponent's pieces when they drop them, you win! There aren't than many real plans, it's more ideas of closing areas and opening others, and how to get your pieces involved. Even if you don't have an active plan, if you can make your pieces better and your opponents pieces worse, and you do that for 20 moves in a row, your opponent will almost always crack and you can pick something up. If you throw some good planning on top of it and recognize positions, you can see "Hey I'm about to be up 2 pieces in the area even after I sacrifice a bishop because black's queenside will be garbage forever" and you can easily sacrifice there because it's an easy position to play after black's king is completely opened up. If all 3 queenside pieces stayed on the start squares until move 31, two of them never moved, and the game ended on move 33, then if I had all of my pieces involved, I was down 1 piece, and they were down 3. I was up 2 pieces. That's easy to recognize because I've seen it a hundred times, and I knew the plan. Without plan knowledge, just constant improvement of the position and awareness of what your opponent is doing, stopping their ideas, is more than sufficient. 

Pianomaker

It's all right there in front of you. It's just a matter of seeing it (for whatever that's worth).

 

LionVanHalen

Do you make pianos friend?

Pianomaker
LionVanHalen wrote:

Do you make pianos friend?

Not anymore. I was a "case fitter" (finish carpentry) for "Mason & Hamlin Piano Co." up until last September.  Unfortunately, that company, while they produce one of the world's best pianos, is struggling very badly these days. I loved working there, but had to move on due to a stagnant wage, and other reasons.

      P.S. I have no chess rating on this site. I don't play games here, I only come to read the forums, so you will see no rating for me.

SeniorPatzer

Thanks Patrick Daly.  Great comment!

TheJazzSax

@PatrickDaly Thanks for your comment (and your time !)

Yeah i got quite some games where i launched a superb attack (my favorite one ,with a queen sac , unfortunately declined , concluded by a knight checkmate : https://www.chess.com/live/game/2700512228)

My concern is relied to the games where you are material up (so winning but not won as you said), where i think my problem is psychological , ex : here i defended a stupid attack with a lot of unnecessary sacrifices just to fall for a perpetual i would have spot miles away if i were my opponent : https://www.chess.com/live/game/3456503509 

Maybe i shoud respect more my opponents in that situation (i am very nice and never talk bad to my opponent of course) but i kind of feel like "Yeah i'm the best , i crushed you , you've never stand a chance against me bla bla bla " when i am winning.

B_Rook
TheJazzSax wrote:

@PatrickDaly Thanks for your comment (and your time !)

Yeah i got quite some games where i launched a superb attack (my favorite one ,with a queen sac , unfortunately declined , concluded by a knight checkmate : https://www.chess.com/live/game/2700512228)

My concern is relied to the games where you are material up (so winning but not won as you said), where i think my problem is psychological , ex : here i defended a stupid attack with a lot of unnecessary sacrifices just to fall for a perpetual i would have spot miles away if i were my opponent : https://www.chess.com/live/game/3456503509 

Maybe i shoud respect more my opponents in that situation (i am very nice and never talk bad to my opponent of course) but i kind of feel like "Yeah i'm the best , i crushed you , you've never stand a chance against me bla bla bla " when i am winning.

Yeah it's called immaturity man. 

B_Rook

Just don't focus on the 'what ifs' but instead focus on the position. Sometimes it's not easy to find the right win especially if opponent has counter play. 

islandification

Know what u mean, too easy to get distracted playing online with reading email, watching sports, answering phone or whatever.

DrSpudnik

The outcome is a coin toss.

TheJazzSax

@ghost_of_pushwood Oh yeah it was a pure coincidence ^^ If you take a look i was under 50% win for a long time and because i seldom play bullet and blitz i caught up little by little and the rest is history.

My last blitz game was pure luck : https://www.chess.com/live/game/3430384211 

TheJazzSax

Oh i do give advantage away in blitz too , but i blame it on the time, as i started to play serious chess very late (22 years old) i need time to figure things out.

TheJazzSax

The thing is that the problem is that i unconsciously do not concentrate as much in winning position, and  in rapid games you just end up losing your advantage, i need advices to remember to not relax in such position. I really think it is a psychological problem, and that i will find other weak spots in my games when i will face stronger opponent more regularly 

B_Rook
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

How (or maybe a better question is why) have you managed to keep a 50% score on the dot at both bullet and blitz?

Could you imagine if the draws were also on point how creepy that would be? lol

TheJazzSax
B_Rook wrote:
ghost_of_pushwood wrote:

How (or maybe a better question is why) have you managed to keep a 50% score on the dot at both bullet and blitz?

Could you imagine if the draws were also on point how creepy that would be? lol

Do not tempt me wink.png