I am finally back to playing chess and writing about chess. For those that don't know, my wife and I just closed on our new home at the end of March and we have been busy moving and unpacking. Between that and work there hasn't been any time for chess. Well, these are the challenges that adults face when they are trying to improve at chess this late in life. Gone are the days of spending afternoons and nights at home with nothing to do except play chess.
I feel like the break in my study and play time was well timed. Before the move I was starting to feel like I wasn't improving and couldn't seem to pick up new concepts and ideas. I was struggling to win games or even hold drawing positions. So much so that I thought I had hit my max in chess. This wasn't anything to make me quit chess but it was enough to make me consider cutting back on my time investment into it.
After investing no time into chess I jumped right back into Tuesday Night Action at the Charlotte Chess Center. The first game I am going to show is the 4th round game I played against David Richards. Coming into this game we had played 4 times and I had won the last 3 times. Still, I know David is a tricky and competitive player so my task wasn't going to be easy. Without further ado here is the game:
So lots of lessons learned in that game and I thought I wouldn't have to deal with another highly tactical game for awhile but then I showed up to play round 5 and was proven wrong.
This next game is full of mistakes on my part that my opponent just didn't take advantage of. This was an opponent that I had never played OTB with other than casual blitz games. I didn't know what to expect but I didn't expect the kind of game that we had. Here is the 5th round game:
As these games showed, I have a lot of work to do if I want to make the leap to the next level. The biggest thing I failed to do was look for all of my opponent's best resources for defending and/or stopping my plans. Even though I won both games, I know that had my opponent's just taken a little more time to analyze they would not have allowed me to get away with lazy tactics.
I believe part of getting better is analyzing all of your games. If you win but it's a sloppy win then you should analyze that game and find the moments where your opponent could have saved themselves and figure out why you didn't see that during the game. Whether it is a pattern you are not familiar with or it was because you couldn't see the position clearly in your mind after calculating 5 moves ahead. This way you will still work on those areas instead of just being okay with the fact that you won the game.
I am glad to be back in the chess scene and look forward to seeing you at the Chess Center soon!