Yesterday we had our third session. We talked about trading pieces. There is a difference between the opening and the endgame when it comes to trading pieces. In the opening it is often usefull to keep the tension between pawns as long as possible, and trade only when you can do it at a favourable moment or when you have no other choice. In the transition to the endgame you have to determine which endgame you want to play before you can trade pieces. We both (the pupils) noticed a tendency to trade too mechanically without reason. Thus compromising our position.
Another issue that became clear is that my performance declines steeply at the moment that the transition to an endgame needs to take place. I usually protect myself by offering an early draw when that happens. The past 14 years my time trouble problem has protected me against this phase of the game, but now I have taken rigorous measures, that is no longer an issue. This means that I now have to learn to play the endgame.
My coach made it clear that I deprive myself from exercise when I offer and accept draws. Most of those draws are prompted by fear. As gm Donner put it so beautifully: I'm no coward yet timid. I'm more a study head than a fighter and I seek to solve my problems in the study room rather than over the board.
So we settled for an agreement that I will no longer offer or accept any draws. No quarter wil be given. No prisoners will be taken.
To be honest, it felt as a relief. It protects me against a major weakness which hinders my progress. I look forward to put it into practice. It makes life simple again!
The Curse of the Top Seed
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