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1. 23 Dec '11 18:02
I've noticed that in many games, I play rather aimlessly. I struggle to find a plan. I've been reading Silman's Reassess Your Chess and have been trying to incorporate his method (identify the imbalances in a position and use those to create a plan) into my thinking process. I have been analyzing a game I played in a recent USCF tournament. I've identified the following position as a critical one. Black has definite queenside play with control over the half-open b-file and the ability to challenge the c-file. I have a bit more central space, and my pieces are a little more active, but Black can challenge both with moves like Nb6 and Bf6. I also have a weak isolated pawn. After identifying these imbalances and staring at the position on my computer for several minutes, I couldn't figure out what to do. I'd appreciate any help, particularly in the thinking process you would use, on figuring out what to do.

I was white (1873) and my opponent was a master (2210). The time control was G/45

In the end, after wasting several precious minutes of time (I was down to 7 by the time I moved) I played Rc2 and Rfc1, doubling just for the heck of it since I couldn't figure out what I should be doing. This ended up being a real heartbreaker, because my opponent dropped a piece but in severe time pressure (I had 3 seconds plus 5 second delay when he dropped it) I blew it.

Thanks
2. 23 Dec '11 20:05
Comparing our ratings, I probably have nothing to teach you. But these are two ideas:

1) Move your f6 knight to g5 --> Nxe6 is a nice threat. The obvious answer fxe6 allows Qxe6+ and the black knight and bishop are both hanging.

2) Move your queen to e4 --> creates a mate threat with only reasonable answer g6. Followed up with Qh4, you have a kingside attack in the sleaves.

These ideas can be combined to destroy Blacks defense of the castled king. There is no winning combination yet, but it will require black to abandon his queenside somehow.

Summary:
- knight and bishop on d7 en e7 are hanging
- put pressure on the e6 pawn
- defense of the castled king is a bit too far away

Let me know what you think about it.
3. 23 Dec '11 21:03 / 1 edit
I appreciate the analysis. I actually did think about Ng5, but of course with the Be7 it's hard to get anything going there. I looked at Qe4 as well but couldn't find much after Nf6, which seems to defend everything nicely (plus there is the threat of d5). Later on in the game, after black played Nf6, I played Ne3-Ng4 to trade it off in the hope of weakening Black's king, but Black simply took and played Bf6, honing in on my d4 weakness.
4. 23 Dec '11 22:01
Well I took a look at the position and my first thought was white needs to play on the kingside as black doesn't have too many defenders there; then I checked for any unprotected pieces (a la greenpawn) and saw black's bishop on e7 so I wondered if there was anyway I could take advantage of that and came up with what I think is a plausible continuation

1. Qc2 (getting the queen out of the way without loss of tempo as she does not want to get caught on e7 if she takes the bishop)

1. ... Nf6
2. d5 e5
3. Nd4

and I think white has improved his position. I also thought white might have something on e6 but couldn't see anything. From the position arising after my continuation I would continue with the same kingside theme

so my thought process was essentially black is light on the kingside I should play there, using the undefended bishop as a short term hook to improve my position

hope this helps
5. 24 Dec '11 01:01
Originally posted by chesskid001
I've noticed that in many games, I play rather aimlessly. I struggle to find a plan. I've been reading Silman's Reassess Your Chess and have been trying to incorporate his method (identify the imbalances in a position and use those to create a plan) into my thinking process. I have been analyzing a game I played in a recent USCF tournament. I've identifi ...[text shortened]... e pressure (I had 3 seconds plus 5 second delay when he dropped it) I blew it.

Thanks
Hi,

I just looked at the position for about 5 min, so am certainly not suggesting I am any wise sage, rather just jotting down my thoughts for comparison with others.
Firstly from a pragmatic viewpoint, I guess a draw with white wouldn't be a disaster rating wise if I were you.

Longterm, white looks in trouble to me, if black is given enough time to stablise with ideas including possibly Nb6, Nd5 Bf6 etc as white has fixed weaknesses on d4 and b2.

Like you say, doubling rooks was the "obvious" move when not sure..... but ideally white needs to do something I would suggest. (by the way, after doubling, was the idea to maybe then play h4!? trying to loosen black on the kingside with either h5 or a timed Ng5?
Not saying it works, but did you consider d5!? with ideas of if e5 then Ne5. If black gives up his a6 bishop first, then e5, then maybe white can work his bishop to c6, hitting a4 and generally being a pest in black's queenside (with the added bonus of opposite coloured bishop potential?
6. 24 Dec '11 01:47 / 2 edits
Originally posted by chesskid001
I've noticed that in many games, I play rather aimlessly. I struggle to find a plan. I've been reading Silman's Reassess Your Chess and have been trying to incorporate his method (identify the imbalances in a position and use those to create a plan) into my thinking process. I have been analyzing a game I played in a recent USCF tournament. I've identifi e pressure (I had 3 seconds plus 5 second delay when he dropped it) I blew it.

Thanks
d5 struck me immediately... usually with this kind of pawn formation that is what white strives to do and if the position opens up white is controlling the open files. With an IQP you usually have to play dynamically and strategy goes out the window... go out and snag yourself a king for xmas.

1.d5 e5 (say)
2.Nd4 (threatening to go to c6 or f5 if he doesn't take your knight) exd4
3.Qxe7
7. 24 Dec '11 04:44
I appreciate the analysis everyone. The common sentiment seems to echo what I was thinking during the game-- black is better on the queenside, and white needs to get some central or kingside action going soon. I couldn't figure out how to do it, but multiple people have suggested d5, either immediately or soon. I think that's the right idea--White has a temporary advantage in space and activity and needs to open things up ASAP to take advantage of this, or black will consolidate his long term advantages. I had an inkling of this thought process during the game, but I didn't look hard enough for forcing ways to accomplish this, such as d5. As Silman says in RYC, you must follow what the board dictates, and here the board did not seem to dictate doubling on the c-file.

Thanks for the help, and hopefully this was an instructive exercise for you. It certainly was for me.
8. 26 Dec '11 18:24
Originally posted by chesskid001
I appreciate the analysis. I actually did think about Ng5, but of course with the Be7 it's hard to get anything going there. I looked at Qe4 as well but couldn't find much after Nf6, which seems to defend everything nicely (plus there is the threat of d5). Later on in the game, after black played Nf6, I played Ne3-Ng4 to trade it off in the hope of weakening Black's king, but Black simply took and played Bf6, honing in on my d4 weakness.
Oops, missed both replies to the moves I proposed. Was I really awake?