Learn from my games

This page will be dedicated to positions from my games.

Here you can discover how to learn from each and every game you play.

Consider the following position (black to move).

This position I'm playing Black. It's a rapid game, taken from a tournament where I've already won five games in a row. To secure the win of the tournament, I'm trying to win this game as well.

My opponent just played 1.Rg1, threatening to capture my bishop.

Now what would you play if you played Black?

I have to admit I didn't find the best move.

I played 1....Bxe5. This saves the bishop and leaves me a pawn up. Usually this is enough to win a game.

Unfortunately time was already running out for the both of us and after some more moves I lost a pawn and a draw was agreed.

Immediately after the game my opponent asked me why I didn't play 1....d3!!

The idea is pretty simple. After 1... d3, there's the threat of taking the white queen next move and there's also the threat of 2... Qxc2 mate.  The c2-pawn is pinned so it can't capture the d3-pawn. If the Queen captures the d3-pawn, then the rook on d8 will recapture the queen.

White can try 2. Ba5 (or Bg5). This will create some problems, but eventually this would give me a bishop for a pawn and a winning endgame.

Did you find this move? I sure hope you did!

During the game, I didn't even consider this move.

Why didn't I find this winning move?

It's because I was focused on saving the bishop.

I noticed the threats (my bishop is under attack and there's also the threat of Qb5+) and so I searched for a way to prevent losing a piece.

This is usually the first step of the thinking process.

Now I didn't finish my thinking process.

I forgot to find out if the threats were real. I was so busy coping with the attack, I totally forgot to finish my own attack.

If I would have looked, I surely would have found 2...d3 (I have faith in my tactical abilities). I would have noticed that this blocks the white queen from reaching b5, so I would at least win a piece.

Maybe it was fatigue? Or maybe it were the multiple threats? Could be.

I concluded that, above all, I had to finish my thinking process (find out if the threats are real).

After this I played the final game.

This position is taken from the final game of the tournament.  It doesn't matter if I win or lose, first place is secured already. Ofcourse I try to win, but I don't feel any pressure.

I'm playing Black again and I've given a rook for the attack. Now I could have won material. Do you see how?

The idea is 1...Rxf2; followed by 2. Qxf2 and 2... Bd4;  winning the queen.

I looked at the idea during the game, but dismissed it. So why didn't I play it?

I couldn't find an answer. Maybe I was confused by the fact that after 2. Qxf2 my queen was under attack?. Or did I see other ghosts? Ofcourse it was at the end of the day and I was getting tired. But tiredness isn't  an excuse to overlook these relatively simple tactics.

Anyway, I didn't play this and eventually lost this game.

So what did I learn from this game?

I concluded that I had to work on pins and skewers. Now, even during time trouble (and after six hours of play), I will find these winning ideas in a split second.

What can you learn from these games?

Always replay the crucial moments of your games. Find out what you did wrong and how to improve. Then practice!

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