Games, analysis and discussion

Becoming a 2300 player (Part 3 of 3)

Rate this Entry
Part 3 – From En Passant #82; December 1986 pp. 12-14 (continued)
By the way, it was not until 1983 that many of my games were free from large mistakes, but even then almost all of my losses could be blamed on these alone. I recommend sorting your games in terms of types of mistakes. Early games are not worth analyzing beyond a certain point: adding up the obvious mistakes will often suffice. This gives an idea of where to put your efforts. The categories should initially be simple: “Lost due to a terrible blunder”, or “Blundered in time trouble”, or “Used desperate measures when passive defence should have drawn”. Each game is eligible for more than one category. When you think you have played one of your best games, don’t hesitate to subject it to thorough study. I have found that my own best games were not as good as I first thought. If such games represent best efforts, then it is not as easy to say that mistakes were “accidents”.
After my eleven tournaments in 1984 were finished, I had finally achieved a 2200+ rating. One of the more valuable events was the Toronto Closed, where I began to lock horns with masters in one round after another. If an expert can hold his own against masters, his rating goes up. In round robin events (where draws are not bad news), playing solidly is not a bad thing. The experience you gain in such a tournament is important. You will find your own efforts at the board are raised when constantly playing strong players.
One thing I can recommend as a confidence booster is to go through a complete games collection. It is important to see the high, low and average performances of a strong player to gain a certain perspective of chess at a higher level. If you read a best games collection, you will get a distorted view. Of course, you can also study any other aspect of either type of these important collections. You never know where stray pieces of good advice will crop up.
During the summer and fall of 1985 I decided to review the fundamental aspects of chess as a prelude to teaching some players in my home town. Around that time I met a 2300 foreign player whose simple advice was that teaching would force you to explain things clearly and precisely. Otherwise, an embarrassing question would force a specialized review, and perhaps highlight a latent deficiency on your part. This seemed a bit ambitious, but I tried it for six months. At the very least, it did not hurt my play. At the end of 1985, after gaining some additional experience against strong masters, my rating was 2222.
I began competitive chess in 1986 by playing in the Toronto Closed, which finally placed me at 2301. I started badly, playing the best two players first. Fortunately I had plenty of time to prepare for the players I hoped to score well against. My final score was 6 ½ / 11 in a strong field. I would like to think that my experience enabled the “accidents” to break even, because I had the confidence to spot my opponents’ mistakes without being overly respectful of their ratings.
For my final suggestion, here is a “live” example for your home analysis: the adjourned position after the 42nd move in the ninth game of the 1985 Karpov-Kasparov match (see EP #76).

I was puzzled by Kasparov’s choice of 43.hxg6+ since it releases vital tension, with one drawback being to free h6 for the Black K by way of 43. .. fxg6 44. Qc4 h5. After 43.hxg6+, the game fizzled out to a draw.
I try to investigate matters that cause me confusion. In Informant 40, Kasparov dismisses 43.Qc4 gxh5 (43… Bxe4? 44.Nxe4 Qxe4 45.hxg6+) 44.Nxd4 Qe5 =/+. I agree with the assessment (e.g. 45.Bc2 h4 (45… Qxd4?? 46.e5+)), but not with the assumption that 44.Nxd4 is best. I, like many others, looked at the adjourned position and preferred White’s chances. In my initial reckoning, White has the more active pieces and the makings of a K-side initiative. The extra Black P and two Black Bs will be meaningless in the event of a successful White offensive in the middlegame.
I had little trouble finding the short variations above, but I like White’s chances after 44.Bc2. Sometimes White gets action on the b1-h7 diagonal if e5 is allowed, and he also keeps some control over e5 by not moving the N/f3. The N/g3 (not to mention the White Q) often seems to be a killer, and the N/d8 can remain a liability. Readers interested in doing some home analysis should find this position (after 44.Bc2) a happy hunting ground. Don’t be over-awed wondering what Kasparov or others may have found; even the best can overlook a possibility. I wish you luck in this research, and I hope many of you become masters.

(Thanks to Christopher Mallon for transcribing this article for use in my blog)

Below are links to Parts 1 and 2:

Link to Epilogue (my becoming a 2400 chess player in 2010):

Updated 07-05-2018 at 08:06 PM by Kevin Pacey

Tags: None Add / Edit Tags
Becoming a 2300 player