Missing a pattern
Often a pattern is all too familiar, yet I miss it. A knight fork, a simple mate pattern, that kind of things. To be honest, I'm not too worried about that. It is caused by the fact that with CT, you must time and again acclimatize to a position. When I play a game at a slow tempo, I rarely miss these patterns. On the other hand, to become better at CT, I will have to fix this. I belief that should be perfectly doable. For the time being I focus my attention to fix a more nasty kind of error. Just for the record, I already explained that I don't belief that salt mine style exercises are of much help here.
From time to time, I bump into a position that confuses me. When the mind is confused, time usage grows exponentially. I don't miss familiar patterns in this case, I miss the patterns because they are not thoroughly familiar. The positions are always related with exchange sequences, and subtle intricacies concerning maintaining the initiative. I have written a few times about the initiative the past weeks, and I noticed that these posts generated very little page views, and almost no comments. I'm very surprised by that.
It is very hard to imagine that this isn't a major cause of errors for most readers of this blog. But maybe in positions that are different than the ones I show you here. With hindsight, it is hard to see why I had so much trouble to fully understand the following diagram. It has taken me hours to grasp the simple essence of the position, and I have written out the whole tree of analysis for that. The position exposed a few major flaws in my chess thinking. If you too think that the position is dead simple, you should look for positions where you are confused yourself. The timer of CT shows you the way.
|Black to move|
I played 1. ... Nxf3 here, which is wrong, and I was genuinely surprised to see that I should take with the rook here. What is the combination about? The heart of the combination is the duple attack 1. ... Rxf3 2. Rxf3 Bg4, which pins the white rook to the queen. Normally this shouldn't work, since the rook on f3 is twice attacked and twice defended, but due to the high value of the white defenders, black outnumbers white on f3. The first move is a preliminary move, which is designed to lure the rook into the pin with a capture. The reason why the black rook should execute the preliminary move, is that when the knight takes on f3 (1. ... Nxf3 2.Rxf3 Bg4) the white rook becomes a desperado, with a clear target on f6 and g6. When 1. ... Rxf3 2.Rxf3 Bg4, then the white rook has no such profitable target.
As said, the position is dead simple with hindsight, but it took me a few hours to iron out the confusion in my brain. Why was this position so confusing to me? Somehow I wasn't able to see what the pieces were doing in this position.