Monday, May 30, 2005

Umbrella's everywhere

Since my debacle at a tourney a few weeks ago I take lots of time for analysing my games to see where I actually fail. When I was outside in the rain for the first time in my life with an umbrella I was totally surprised to see how many people had an umbrella too. All those years without an umbrella I had never noticed this. So when you look at your games with a clear question in your mind, you are seeing things you didn't see before.

Next game against a higher rated opponent I annotated with this special question in mind, so the comments lead to really shocking conclusions. So please take the time to read the comments.
What attracts the attention is the amount of moves missed by both players.
I really didn't know that I missed so much. But since I am looking for it I see it in all my games (umbrellas everywhere).

Knowing this, I can tell which training will NOT be of much help to adress my problem.
This does not mean that there will not be a moment in the future that I will have to apply this training. But for now it simply cannot be of much help.
For instance, training openings can help you to start the middlegame with a slight edge. Completely missing an important move makes that this has no value.
All positional considerations can be thrown in the garbage can if you miss so much moves.
Because everytime to find yourself back in a position that you hadn't foreseen at all.
Of course your opponent has the same problems as you, so the outcome of the game has to do a lot with chance.

So the question is, what kind of moves am I missing over and over again?
What are the distinguishing characteristics of those moves?
  • The board looks always very crowded.
  • It can be a combination that I miss from the defensive side but not from the attacking side.
  • It can be an unusual combination.
Especially the last point is of importance.
An unusual combination does not mean that it seldom can happen at the board.
But makers of chesspuzzle-databases do not consider the combinations important or spectacular enough to include them. For instance the exchange of a piece against 3 pawns.
But since this can leave you with a total unexpected new situation, this kind of combinations are important to train.

So the question is now, is there a chesspuzzle-database out there which is specialized in overcrowded positions and non-spectacular combinations or even exchanges with no material advantage.
Do you know?


  1. Hi Tempo,
    Thanks for posting the game.
    I thought you had some pretty inventive moments.

    Why did you shift away from the Bellon Gambit? Did you think your opponent's preparation would be better than yours at the time? I know sometimes we don't have the time to review our own pet lines enough to feel secure in playing them. I'm guilty of this as well, but I now refuse to deviate from my systems. I just try and force myself to be better prepared.

    Doing stuff like this is why you will continue to improve.
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Sancho,
    Usually I stick to my petlines no matter what happens. But I'm experimenting with the Dutch defense. He has a higher rating, he knows the Bellongambit pretty well, he knows that I always play it and he knows a week in advance that he is going to play against me with white. So I thought it was a good moment to continue experimenting with the Dutch.

  3. >> So the question is now, is there a chesspuzzle-database out there which is specialized in overcrowded positions and non-spectacular combinations or even exchanges with no material advantage.
    Do you know?

    It sounds like what you are looking for are problems that are more positional in nature... Silman's books have exercises that are good for learning these ideas (when to exchange etc.)

  4. I see, you were in the middle of a repertoire change. Makes sense.

    I think Scitcat has the right idea, but I would look at games from the systems you play instead of looking for a chesspuzzle base. Just create your own. A lot of times I find myself wasting time looking for plans in equal positions. When I should already know the plan. I guess it is the price of moving up the food chain. That is why I'm locked away in my laboratory. When I emerge from the dungeon I know I will be a much stronger player.

  5. Tempo,

    Convekta has a whole series of middelgames they sell. I have 3 volumes of software that are specifcally middlegames. The good thing about it is that it is all positions you will routinely run into, so you will be able to learn the lines .

  6. Scitcat and Jim,
    Thx, I will have a look at it if it fits the bill.

  7. Although I am not a good endgame player - I think with best play, black can draw here. Particularly in rook endings like this.

    Anyway -

    I think in time, you will be able to see the board, and its possibilities more and more. Its just part of a natural progression of a players growth. So dont sweat this stuff. It will come one day(I think) =>

  8. Fritz 8 or Chessbase may be even better for seek out specific types of positions for analysis, Tempo. I think this is how a lot of GM's study, if I remember correctly. Playing with 3 pawns for a bishop is more of a strategical question than a tactical one.