Following a recent up and down tournament, I reviewed my play and decided to make some adjustments to my study plan. Here is what I learned in my review. In a later post I will show how I decided to use that knowledge to adjust my study plan.
- Most players played ‘scheme’ openings against my 1.d4, such as the King’s Indian Defence, Queen’s Indian Defence, or Semi-Slav. Similarly, the 1.d4 players I played against tended to play scheme openings. I meet 1.e4 with the French, so that limits White’s options.
- I often didn’t know how to proceed against these scheme openings, only remembering vaguely that the standard Colle set-up is not appropriate for such-an-such a Black reply.
- Where I did know the opening lines, I saved a lot of time by simply playing them quickly. In a couple of games, after around 12 moves, I had more time on the clock than I started with (there was an increment), while my opponents had used more than 20 minutes.
- In some games I did not play accurately in a won endgame, but still won. Just more slowly.
- In some games I had a won endgame, but gave the advantage away and had to settle for a draw.
TACTICS/ BOARD VISION
- I allowed my opponents to set up tactical opportunities. That is, I did not foresee the threats.
- I did not always pay due attention to all of my opponents’ threats, sometimes only seeing some or one of their possible moves.
- In my Worst Game Ever Played, having won two pawns by move 15, I proceeded to hang two pieces in the space of five moves. This was due to poor board vision; in the process of giving away his pawns, my opponent decimated his kingside structure. This gave his queen free reign over his second rank, which in my mind’s eye was still covered by pawns.
- There were times in the middlegame where I was planless. In this type of situation I think having a pro-forma thinking process is a good idea.
- In two games I had tunnel vision on a certain plan or idea, then either missed the chance to win a pawn, or was not patient enough to convert a good position. Again I think a simple thinking process would have helped.