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  1. 04 Apr '09 19:24
    Hi, I'm relatively new to the site but finally got rid of the provisional rating and I thought maybe it was time to join the discussion and ask for some advice.

    Basically I'm looking for advice in general on how to improve, so, if you have some free time, or are feeling particularly generous, play through some of my games and be as critical as you please.

    In the spirit of asking a specific question, I will post one of my recent games, in which I win pretty convincingly, but I think it's entertaining.

    Game 6041387

    I often have trouble finding a quick win once I'm ahead, do you see a faster win? Around 22. Qd2 I start being unable to see the logical next step.

    Here is a recent lost, in which I never really put up any struggle. Where did I go wrong? Maybe Nb8?

    Game 6050705

    Thanks.
  2. 04 Apr '09 21:56
    I'm sure you'll get much better advice from the strong players who contribute to this forum but I thought it might help to put down my thoughts as a fellow newbie and struggling-to-improve player.

    I had a good look through the first game that you posted and applied the only technique I know, namely looking for tactics. I know that almost everyone here keeps saying that to improve (at our level) you have to study tactics, tactics and more tactics but in my opinion they are right. In every game I've played here my opponent has (eventually) made a tactical blunder that's allowed me to win the game.

    In your game, I'd have played 10. Ng5. I can't see that black has any defence to this. I know it's going pawn grabbing before you've completed your development but I wouldn't hesitate (being the greedy pawn grabber that I am).

    I'd even snatch another pawn with 11. Qxd5 (rather than Nxd5). I know that the knight 'belongs' on d5 positionally but I go for tactics every time. I only play positionally when I can't see any advantageous tactics (and I spend an obscenely long time looking for them in my games here).

    I loved your 14. Bb6 but you can win his queen after this with 16. Nxb5+.
    (I keep reminding myself "when you find a good move, look for a better one." especially in correspondence chess where I have so much time.)

    I know just what you mean about 22. Qd2. When I reach this point in a game (especially with such a clear material advantage as you have here) I just trade off as much as I can to simplify to a won endgame. In this case I'd have tried for a queen exchange with 22. Qd5 and if that fails then you still get to grab more material. However, this is my style and I'm sure it won't suit everyone.

    Finally, I think 38. Qf2+ leads to a quicker mate but my tactical brain hurts too much now to be sure.

    We should play a game sometime!
  3. Standard member Yuga
    Renaissance
    04 Apr '09 22:30
    Originally posted by John is a Pawn




    I often have trouble finding a quick win once I'm ahead, do you see a faster win? Around 22. Qd2 I start being unable to see the logical next step.


    Thanks.
    Just throwing ideas off the top of my head:

    Game 6041387

    5.d5 releases the tension unnecessarily.
    10. Ng5 might be strongest. 10. Nxb5 also wins a pawn, if Nxe4 Bd5.

    Game 6050705

    6...c4 somehow seems premature, it seems to really restrict Black's opportunities for play, although I know that it is found in theory. 6...a5 maybe?
    7.Prefer g3 with the idea of Bg2 and Re1.
    15...B takes N and white's structure is worse.
    17...0-0-0 and Black is fine.
  4. Standard member SwissGambit
    Caninus Interruptus
    04 Apr '09 22:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by John is a Pawn
    Hi, I'm relatively new to the site but finally got rid of the provisional rating and I thought maybe it was time to join the discussion and ask for some advice.

    Basically I'm looking for advice in general on how to improve, so, if you have some free time, or are feeling particularly generous, play through some of my games and be as critical as you eally put up any struggle. Where did I go wrong? Maybe Nb8?

    Game 6050705

    Thanks.
    In the first game, you did fine finishing it off. You had a material advantage, so the natural thing to do is just keep developing your pieces and coordinating and centralizing forces.

    He attempted to confuse the issue with Ba6, but it only made things worse.

    On the 2nd game, I am no expert on the French Defense, but the move ...c4 does not seem like Black's best plan. Typically, Black leaves the pawn on c5 and tries to pile some pressure on the d4 pawn with Qb6/Nc6/Nf5 etc.

    The other thing you really needed to do was castle. You got destroyed because the King was stuck in the center. Also, the move ...f6 is generally not played until after castling. This allows the option of recapturing with the Rook if needed.
  5. Standard member clandarkfire
    Grammar Nazi
    05 Apr '09 02:56
    Hi. I haven't looked at the other games yet, but after looking at the first game, (in which, by the way, you did fine,) The following line jumped out at me:
    16.Nxb5....Ke8
    17.Nxd6....Qxd6
    18.Qxd6

    Sure, you won anyway, but seeing a line like that can save you lots of time afterward.
  6. 06 Apr '09 00:03
    Thanks for all the advice, Nxb5+ seems so obvious now, and I knew there had to be something better there.
  7. Standard member JonathanB of London
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    06 Apr '09 01:20
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    On the 2nd game, I am no expert on the French Defense, but the move ...c4 does not seem like Black's best plan. Typically, Black leaves the pawn on c5 and tries to pile some pressure on the d4 pawn with Qb6/Nc6/Nf5 etc.
    ... c5-c4 is a decent move. Not my preferred option but it fixes the hole on b3 so there's nothing actually wrong with it. The reason why Black normally plays as you say is because White normally hasn't played a3.

    As for the first game - 5. dxe5 looks good to me. Black either loses a pawn or has to put up with Qxd8+ Kxd8/Bg5 and then 0-0-0.
  8. Standard member JonathanB of London
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    06 Apr '09 01:22
    Originally posted by Yuga

    6...c4 somehow seems premature, it seems to really restrict Black's opportunities for play, although I know that it is found in theory. 6...a5 maybe?
    Don't see the point of 6. ... a5.


    ... Nh6 coming to f5 is my preference here.