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  1. Subscriber GraemeK
    Beginner
    31 Jan '11 01:26
    Hi - I'm new to the forums and chess in general.

    I am going to download some of my games and build some information about what openings get me into good/bad games, understand serious mistakes that cause me to lose games, or get into trouble. Try to analyze them, find weaknesses and strengths and patterns of my play so I can make improvements. One thing I'd love to do is actually annotate some of my games like you see in the books written by professional players. So, my question: As a road to improvement do you annotate your games, and if so, how do you do it? Is there a method you follow? How do you verify that your analysis is sound?

    Sincerely, GraemeK
  2. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    31 Jan '11 01:59
    First off, I think you need to decide what the end point of your annotations will be. Unlike GM's who are either being paid or have a need to prove that they were "correct" us mortals typically annotate games with the purpose of learning so the process should reflect that.

    1) In CC, you should be keeping notes about your game as you go. Variations you considered, reference sources used etc. So the first step generally is to collect all the thoughts you had during a game and commit them to paper. The rule of thumb is your time analyzing should be about the same as however much time you spent on playing. This gives you ample time to really explore details and come up with ideas, conclusions etc. This period of time should be without a chess engine.

    2) Check your variations with an engine. Make notes where your engine suggests different moves. Spend time exploring the suggested variations- most likely you will get some stuff that might not make total sense to you.

    3) Take your game to a stronger player, get their general thoughts, plans etc. Chess engines don't plan and part of the process of improving is learning different ways to handle a position.

    4) Punch your notes into a database program like Chessbase so you can easily refer to them (or publish them).
  3. 31 Jan '11 03:46
    Originally posted by GraemeK
    So, my question: As a road to improvement do you annotate your games, and if so, how do you do it? Is there a method you follow? How do you verify that your analysis is sound?

    Sincerely, GraemeK
    I am not very good at chess, but I do like to annotate my games the reason being: It is fun to share things you are interested with others AND analysing your own mental processes during a game can be very helpful.

    The way I annotate my games is in three steps:

    First - Make it entertaining. Nothing is more boring than a dry old bunch of "15. d6 leads to equality" or "17. PxN NxP wins". You'll find that obviously bad lines (one or two moves deep) you will skip over when you become a bit better at spotting them.

    Hell: You might even give them your own pet names such as the "Hawkeye Pierce" where the line is so sharp you just have to laugh.

    Another thing I dislike is when people just dont put any comments in for a long section of moves (exception being end games). That is like baking a banana cake and not putting any icing on it.

    Second - Be honest.

    Nothing hurts more than making a terrible, terrible move. But sometimes making just a regularly bad move or even a dubious one is worth kicking yourself over in an analysis. Even better: Ask your opponent to comment that particular move because generally they might think you suffered a 'brain fart' which happens to everyone.

    Try to recognise positions you are bad at and either avoid them or get through them without a brain fart.

    Third - Talk to your opponent!

    Thats right. Try to get their perspective on a game and if you can get their analysis as well!

    You can be quite surprised when they come up with long long lines of a variation you simply dismissed as 'silly'.


    Anyway: Have fun and please post up a game with your commentary in this thread! I love reading annotations!
  4. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    31 Jan '11 13:00
    The way to chess improvement: Stop your opponents accumulating large advantages. Then stop them accumulating small advantages!

    On RHP you can annotate a game as you go along. From the game board - game history tab then "annotate this game" and add your notes to each move. No need for pen and paper, or a database programme and the temptation of its analysis engine. You could publish at the end of the game but you don't have to. An honest accurate record of what you saw AT THE TIME may help you and will mitigate against the tricks of memory...
  5. 31 Jan '11 13:21 / 1 edit
    Hi.

    Yeah, why not? Find a game you thought was interesting and
    had a few critical moments in it and noted it up.
    No need for a note after every move, just what you consider are the
    deciding moments and your thoughts.

    Pity you were on the wrong side of these two masterpieces.

    A double Rook sac here Game 7708765

    And here White breaks all the rules, 9 of his first 10 moves are pawn moves.
    When the game ends 31 moves later his QR, QN and QB are still on their
    original squares. Game 7657579

    You tend to lose gloriously.
    Looking forward to an interesting choice of game from you.

    You walked into a well known mating pattern in Game 7979496
    Here as Black you played...


    28...f6?? allowing one of the few ways two unaided
    Rooks on the 7th rank can deliver mate.

    28...f6 29.Rxg7 Kh8 30.Exh7+ Kg8 31.Rcg7 mate.


    So you have indeed learned something from that lose.

    Fighting against Rooks on the 7th can be a tiresome task,
    best not to let it happen.

    You can either dig in, which in my experience gives the whole
    board over to your opponent or fight like a rat.
    But again you are limited to how much fighting you can
    do due to the power of the Rooks on the 7th.

    If this was my game I would have hit him before the Rooks got
    too settled. A trick a day and another loss saved.

    If it fails, I'd trick and trap for a few more moves then resign.
    I'm not letting him practice his won endgame technique on me.
    My fault for allowing the stupid Rooks onto the 7th in the first place.

    A roll of the 'loaded' dice in that difficult postion was 28...Rfa8.

  6. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    31 Jan '11 13:55
    Originally posted by Ragwort
    The way to chess improvement: Stop your opponents accumulating large advantages. Then stop them accumulating small advantages!

    On RHP you can annotate a game as you go along. From the game board - game history tab then "annotate this game" and add your notes to each move. No need for pen and paper, or a database programme and the temptation of its analysi ...[text shortened]... rd of what you saw AT THE TIME may help you and will mitigate against the tricks of memory...
    I rarely disagree with Ragwort on anything, but it strikes me that improving is a lot more than stopping your opponent, but also in creating opportunities to win. Maybe Petrosian, Leko or such might have thought in such a manner but it doesn't strike me as quite right.
    idk.


    On the subject of using a database to store your games and such, maybe it is a matter of taste, but I save a tremendous amount of time having my games in database/openings book format. Also when I head to a tournament I don't have to drag a box of books with me to review between rounds, I can just grab my laptop and find a quiet nook to do prep or post game analysis.
  7. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    31 Jan '11 14:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by nimzo5
    I rarely disagree with Ragwort on anything, but it strikes me that improving is a lot more than stopping your opponent, but also in creating opportunities to win. Maybe Petrosian, Leko or such might have thought in such a manner but it doesn't strike me as quite right.
    idk.


    On the subject of using a database to store your games and such, maybe it is a m ween rounds, I can just grab my laptop and find a quiet nook to do prep or post game analysis.
    Hi Nimzo

    To be honest I saw this as another improvement thread and was waiting for someone to say "at your level you need to concentrate on tactics tactics tactics"

    I was just looking for a one liner that didn't take a snide pop at someone's grade.

    My OTB games - very imperfect as they are - are more in the cautious defensive mode than the cavalier attitude with which I play most games here so I guess I was bound to phrase it negatively however I thought the OP was interested in finding out why he lost. GP has had a dig through the OP's games of course. . .

    I think electronic databases are a convenient way to store games. Nowadays I find I am unable to remember detailed opening analysis (unless I did it 15 years ago or more) and thus I place less personal emphasis on trying to do so. Last week I had an OTB club league match where I achieved a position after 12 moves I had had against the same opponent five years previously. I did not recognise the position, and had completely forgotten my analysis, and contrived to lose the game a completely different way when I could have put him under a great deal more pressure.

    Actually the whole debacle could have been avoided by following the notion "Don't begin an attack until your queen rook is developed" instead of trying to wipe the opponent off the board with copious amounts of theory and preparation because I think he makes one small inaccuracy in his opening.

    And that is the kind of post game analysis that is most helpful now that I have reached an age where my memory works (sic) differently.
  8. Standard member nimzo5
    Ronin
    31 Jan '11 15:05
    Heya Ragwort!

    I wasn't entirely sure what the OP was going for with his question about annotations-

    Thinking about what you wrote as an alternative to "tactics, tactics, tactics.." I get your point now.


    I wouldn't overate memory, it is a far second to skill at handling positions. I regularly play the 1800-2200 crowd where you get somewhere about move 12-15 in theory and then the opponent plays something "new" and I am stuck with the clock ticking trying to figure out how to punish it. Usually, I wind up eating 20min and playing a second rate response...
  9. 31 Jan '11 15:10
    "GP has had a dig through the OP's games of course. . . "

    I always look at a new posters games. I enjoy it.

    I think what Nimzo is saying is that if you cannot see a way to take
    an advantage then find a way to stop your opponent from taking an advantage.
    Or at least try not to play a move your opponent can take advantage of.

    In what order you do this comes down to a question of style.

    "....I achieved a position after 12 moves I had had against the same
    opponent five years previously. "

    You have to post the games, no need to names names but it would be interesting.
  10. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    31 Jan '11 16:29
    I don't annotate, but do keep a database of RHP games which didn't end in timeouts (opening statistics get messed up if I don't eliminate them). The idea is that I get an objective indication of what opening lines I handle badly. I don't bother annotating games, but do go through finished games with Crafty to see what I missed, and if what I thought was a good idea really was. My fairly minimalist approach tells me most of the stuff I need to know about my game without giving me much work to do.
  11. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    31 Jan '11 16:59 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    You have to post the games, no need to names names but it would be interesting.
    OK. After the opening the following position arises:- (white to move)




    In 2006 I continued:



    Last week I chased faeries round the toadstool on a8 and the game went as follows



    Don't start an attack until your Queen's Rook is developed !!
  12. 31 Jan '11 19:30
    Originally posted by Ragwort
    ...On RHP you can annotate a game as you go along. From the game board - game history tab then "annotate this game" and add your notes to each move...
    I never noticed that before. Thank you for the heads-up. Rec'd for helpfulness.
  13. Subscriber GraemeK
    Beginner
    31 Jan '11 21:58 / 1 edit
    Pity you were on the wrong side of these two masterpieces.

    A double Rook sac here Game 7708765

    And here White breaks all the rules, 9 of his first 10 moves are pawn moves.
    When the game ends 31 moves later his QR, QN and QB are still on their
    original squares. Game 7657579

    You tend to lose gloriously.
    I really enjoyed your comments!

    In my defence I'm pretty new to chess having only started to play last April - I do lose gloriously and without any ego dent! I loved your 'annotations' here. Very valuable. All of the comments in these posts are very worthwhile so I will be sure to start annotating and perhaps even posting (if I can figure that much out)... oh, and I've figured out that Chess and Rum only mix to a certain point resulting in many of my losses due to really odd and erroneous moves.

    I'm wondering - is an annotation only your principle ideas and thoughts? As an lowly amateur it's difficult to be accurate with 'variations' etc... Perhaps this is where sharing and talking to others helps make your annotations more accurate. What is a good annotation, or am I thinking into this too deeply?

    Sincerely, GraemeK.
  14. 01 Feb '11 01:14 / 1 edit
    Hig Ragwort.


    Cheers.

    Looks like it came from a Pirc Austro Attack.

    White's OK here. He's a pawn up (not a big deal in this open position anything
    can happen) but it's on the 7th rank. It catches the eye.

    In both games you played Nb5 far too early.
    As you say in the 2nd game it was a real baddie.

    Game 2 after Nb5


    Moving bits twice in the opening, even when the Queens are off,
    while 4 pieces are undeveloped and a King sits waiting to be is castled
    is a schoolboy error.

    To justify Nb5 you have to to c7 and then a8.

    Looks like you know this, I'm just pouring in a wee bit of salt to make
    sure you don't forget it.
    Don't sulk, the stronger I think you are, the more venom I spit.

    Bc4 and 0-0 and try to work a trick in with f7 pawn. It has spent 4
    moves getting there. I want him to waste moves sorting it out and not,
    as in both games, to see it ignored till you Queened it.

    And never mind wasting time developing your a1 Rook before you
    go on the offensive. Get Castled and sac the thing.
    Black did not hesitate to sac his a8 Rook when you threw 3 tempo overboard
    to go chasing it.

  15. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    01 Feb '11 11:28
    Originally posted by greenpawn34
    Looks like you know this, I'm just pouring in a wee bit of salt to make
    sure you don't forget it. Don't sulk...
    Don't worry I won't

    I am discovering that it is much more fun to go out for the evening and become embroiled in positions like this, rather than sit through a night of dour and relatively risk free positional correctness. Finding the right way to go about maximising the chances can only add to the enjoyment - as would remembering it all if the position comes up again