I recently played an 86-move game that was simultaneously the longest and most frustrating game of my short chess career. In an effort to break out of my comfort zone and try something new, I decided to make this game the subject of my first-ever video analysis. Written analysis is provided below the YouTube video. I hope you enjoy it!
Sometimes I get so frustrated when I make a blunder that I simply give up and rage quit the game. Making a mistake in a chess game can often be as frustrating as being spawn camped by some n00b in Call of Duty. This is something I’ve been actively working on for the past few months: trying to stay in the game despite the apparent hopelessness of the position. Now, there are times when its important to realize that you have no chance of winning and you’re just delaying the inevitable. A lone King versus a Rook and a bunch of pawns comes to mind. But when most of the pieces are still on the board, there’s little reason to give up so quickly. Such is the case with this game where I had to make a painful sacrifice early in the middlegame but was able to turn things around in the end.
Today was rough all around. Network problems made my day job a challenge and I lost two daily chess games that I should have won. That’s not saying that my opponents didn’t deserve to win. They certainly played good games and came out on top, but there were so many ridiculous blunders today that have been so uncharacteristic of me lately. I managed, in extraordinary fashion, to blunder not one, but two Bishops today. Perhaps the analysis of these games is just a way of venting. I’m sure that I’ll bounce back…I always do. But wow, these are hard to stomach.
And shortly after that little gem was played, this happened…
I’ve lost quite a few disappointing games in the past couple of weeks, so this was a welcome and refreshing victory that gave me insight into some common problems I’ve been having. Given its (albeit brief) instructional value for myself, I felt it was worth a surface analysis and commentary. I hope you enjoy!
One of my favorite parts of playing daily chess is how the battles unfold over several days. There are some positions that go fast and others that seem to drag on forever. Then there are those moments where it seems that both sides are ready to lash out. I find myself constantly checking to see if I’ve received a notification that it’s my turn to move when there are tight positions and it’s all hanging by a thread. The game that follows is one such game that I recently played. It was a close battle for most of the game with blunders and mistakes on both sides, but ultimately, I pulled out a very nice win.
Since I returned to writing about and playing chess regularly, I’ve tried to center myself more on developing a comprehensive study plan and maintaining some sense of focus. Previously, I was obsessed with openings, but these days I’m trying to focus more on positional play and strategic level positions in the middlegame. I’m finding myself more able to find discovered checks and push my pawns forward with more momentum and purpose.
The game above was played against an internet opponent on Chess.com on the Daily Chess function. The time control was 1 move per day, but we finished it much sooner than that. I decided to annotate this game because while it’s filled with amateur mistakes, I believe it’s representative of my improvement in the middlegame and my growing ability to identify key moments that can turn a losing position into a winning steamroller. My opponent played hard, but I was fortunate that the chess gods shined their light on me for this one.
Have you ever set down to play a game against an opponent who seems hell bent on driving you completely insane with irrational moves? Maybe you’ve played against someone who insists on moving every single pawn forward before activating any of their back pieces. Sometimes, we meet an opponent who defies all traditional logic of the game but can be just as deadly as a precision player. I recently played against an opponent who embodied some of those traits. The first few moves of the game were infuriating and it led to a wild game where the balance tipped many times, but I managed to come out on top.
I doubt that the player himself was trolling me, but it certainly felt like it at times, especially in the opening. Of course, this is a very low rated game and sloppy as hell, but I am pleased with the result given the frustration that played out on the board. This was a daily chess rated game with a time control of one move per 24 hours.
I’ve been carving regular time out of my day to do chess studies and they have started paying off. Despite all of the mistakes and blunders, I believe that my fundamentals are improving steadily as a result. Here’s a solid game I played recently on lichess.org that I felt was worth annotating.
The following games were blitz games played on lichess.org in the past few weeks. I decided to annotate and share them because they show some of my continued progress (and regression) over the past few weeks. I continue to read, study, and play as much as possible, so I hope that these games reflect some improvement in my overall play style.
The first game is a very nice win with some cool tactical elements. There were moments where I felt like I just got lucky, but others where I felt like concrete principles were starting to sink in for me.
This next game is a devastating loss. It is no good for a chess player to only share his/her winning games. As Chess Coach likes to say: losing is learning. Well, this is a painful loss, so check it out:
Chess improvement can be a slow and grinding process. It has been a rollercoaster-like ride full of ups and downs (mostly downs) over the last few years. I am excited to be approaching the 1300 rating threshold after several setbacks over the past few months. Some of the losses this year have been brutal and some of the wins have been incredible, but learning to live with win and losses is one of the biggest challenges when learning the game.
This is a game I played last night that placed me within 2 points of the 1300 threshold. I have been too busy today to put my mind to another game, so I figured I would annotate this game and show some of the things I continue to learn on the long to road to chess mastery.