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Better than August, at Least…

August was a rough month for my chess studies and outcomes. I lost pretty much every game I played that month and documented those results more extensively here. Fortunately, the month of September has been much kinder to me.

Chess players of all skill levels experience winning and losing streaks. It might have something to do with the phases of the Moon, the tides, whether The Walking Dead is on its mid-season break, or any other of the countless variables that affect chess outcomes.

In the month of September I won 29 out of the 35 chess games I played in various modes on Chess.com and games not played online. By far, my favorite win of the month came in a slow-move game with a 24-hour time control against a player rated 1057. It was an excellent tactical battle throughout and at one point I thought I had been lured into a trap before I managed to avoid making a huge mistake on move 38. Here is the game:

In addition to this victory and the others, the losses I suffered were each a learning opportunity. Of course, every loss is an opportunity to learn something new, but many of the losses in August were simply beyond my ability to reason on and off the board. The game above was both fun and frustrating because I felt at times that I had it wrapped up and wanted my opponent to resign but then I would see another attacking line and the game would continue.

In addition to these games and the subsequent analysis I also started digging deep into the book Fighting Chess, which is a collection of GM Bent Larsen’s best games with his own annotations. Playing each of those games through on my travel board and reviewing them in Chessbase is a great way for me to learn about his opening methods, explore tactics, and create a comprehensive collection of games. This game, which is reviewed thoroughly in the book, is one of the best attacking games that I have ever seen. I hope to annotate it for a future post and/or Campfire Magazine:

I was also happy with the results of this month’s work largely because it concluded with the premier of Pawn Sacrifice. When I am losing badly at chess I have trouble concentrating even on chess movies and books so I was worried that a lapse in play advancement might ruin the movie experience. Fortunately this was not the case and going 29 out of 35 for the month was enough to maintain my confidence in learning and advancement. Here’s to moving on to October and starting a brand new month with brand new challenges both on and off the board.