Saturday, October 21, 2006

My real problems

Please all give a warm welcome to our newest Knights Keystor and Luckybobby.
May their rating rise by more than luck alone!

I tried the cute programviewer that DG has found. But it messed up my blog. Besides that it didn't interpret my pgn well and it showed no comments. I was plain lucky I could restore my blog! It's a pity because it looked very nice. So I'm back with

I don't know whether this game is interesting for you but it makes it very evident where my problems lie.

You find the game here.
Until move 12 things went pretty equal. But then I didn't know how to proceed.
My usual solution in this kind of quiet positions is to start thinking until I'm in time trouble. Without finding a satisfactory move.
Now I'm alert at time trouble, so I played a move that opened the position for my bishops, conform the advice of DLM (little plan: improve piece mobility).
But that turned out to be no solution either.

I can train tactics until the cows come home, but that will not help me here.
So what must I train to help me in this kind of positions?


  1. What to study? Simple. Strategy. It's waht you do when there are no tactics. You moved that Knight 3 times and you still had your light Bishop sitting at home. When you moved Nc6, it was easy pickings from there. He immediately saddled you with 3 pawn islands that are ripe targets. Your pieces end up being passive just trying to both defend them and try to mount an attack. Meanwhile, all his strength came from good pawns in the center. He had all the initiative.

  2. I've just started reading How to Reassess Your Chess again. I realised a while ago that I have had a lot of use of my past studies in strategy since I started studying tactics. Since I'm too tired at night to study any more tactics, I decided to once again take up strategy. It makes studying chess over all more fun and it still forces you to further develop your skill of visualisation.

  3. Jim,
    you are probably right.
    In other words, the saying that "chess is 99% tactics" is busted, not only at GM-level, but at patzer level too. Unless somebody finds a major tactic for black at move 12.

    So at least I must reassess my approach to training.

  4. Samurai,
    I already know how to study strategy the wrong way, given my experience in the past, so now I have to find the right way.

  5. "Samurai,
    I already know how to study strategy the wrong way, given my experience in the past, so now I have to find the right way".

    What's the wrong way?

  6. The wrong way is to stop by understanding in stead of converting understanding into skill. Take for instance this game. If I think about it long enough I probably come up with a good plan based on understanding. But that doesn't help me in an OTB game.

  7. So maybe repetitions of plan making in positions that are related to the openings you play might be beneficial? Or going over annoted games that are related to positions you play often?


  8. Tempo,

    Your position at move 12 is fascinating. There is no way I could play it correctly myself, but I have found some ideas that you might find interesting. First of all, f4 is not a threat by white. If white plays f4 he will over expose his king. This will become clear in the below examples.

    My instinct in your position is to play b5, challenging white's hold on the center and opening lines for the b8 rook and c8 bishop.

    Let's see what happens if white responds to 12. ... c6 with 13. f4

    13. ... Neg4+ 14. hxg4+ Nxg4+ 15. Kg1 Qf6 16. Nce2 Qh6 17. Rf3 Rxe4 18. Rd3 Bf5

    If white plays a quieter move on move 13 like Bb2, then black can play b5 according to plan. f4 is still not a threat for similar reasons. In these lines black is even better because he can play bxc4.

    I doubt that what I said actually helps you with your underlying struggle, but there is a strategic basis for it. If white over extends his space advantage, he will leave his king weak. As long as white stays restrained black can try to breakdown white's space gaining pawns with moves like b5.

  9. Tempo,

    Yeah, I came to that conclusion too. I think you always have to be aware of tactics but it seems to me that the tactics always end up coming out of good strategic positions.

    All your tactical training is still useful though. It's just time to take a different tack.

    Not to worry though - we'll all muddle through this yet!

  10. how about just pasting the pgns or at least the moves as text? I would always prefer my own viewer to any net based thing which I can't resize etc...

  11. Worm,
    I'm pretty content with
    I will add the pgn in future posts.