Saturday, September 09, 2006

I've a Long Way to Go ...

So I'm trying to play more slow games. I read on the Chessville forum how someone suggested taking baby steps towards longer games, because the main reason for playing so much blitz is because one only has time for a quickie.

I don't have two hours every night to spend playing a 60 15 game. So I've been seeking 20 5 games.

Last night I played a solid player.

I learned a few things:
  1. I need to pick an opening for black ... for a response to both d4 and e4. Then I need to practice and study a bit of that opening.
  2. In the middle of the game at some point, I'm at a loss for tactics and general stratgey. I arrive at a postion and I just simply don't know what to do.
  3. I need to continue to practice calculating all possibilities for my moves. For example, if I see a good move, I tend to think what my opponent would respond with ... but what I think he'll respond with and what he does are two different things ... this is because I didn't clearly think all the way through my calculations ... so I need to practice more of that and that can only be done in slow games.
  4. Last night's game was lost on a "sacrifice" that I didn't think all the way through. It worked a bit, but I didn't keep up the pressure. But my real 4th point is that I didn't miss any major tactics ... this is encouraging. What I did miss and lack was a solid game plan.

Anyway ... here is the critical (in my opinion) position that broke me last night.

I sacrificed my bishop at f2. I was able to flush his king out and put a lot of pressure on him. But like I said, I didn't think it all the way through.

I let Fritz analyze the game and here are some of the annotations he gave me:
"simply worsens the situation"
"Black crumbles in face of a dire situation"
"does not help much"
"doesn't do any good"
"is not the saving move"
"a fruitless try to alter the course of the game"
and my favorite "praying for a miracle"

So my que haceres (to do's) before my next game ...
  1. find, study a litte and practice a response for black to d4 or e4.
  2. continue to study and look for tactics in games (especially combos)
  3. determine a game plan early in the game
  4. calculate deeper before moving in a "critical" position, especially if it involves a sacrifice.
  5. saftey ... defend the king at all costs.

The answer to the previous tactic is Qxd8 Rxd8 followed by f4. Since the knight is pinned, all you need to do is drive off the extra defenders and you win the knight.

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