Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Which games to analyze?

In my blogarticle Analyzing with an engine I mentioned that a lot of players consider analyzing as a necessary evil to score points or make progression. It is obvious that an activity which isn't pleasant, is restricted to the minimum. Therefore it is important to make a good selection which gives maximum return. Despite that I in contrary with the standard amateur-player like to analyse, I also have to make choices. It is simply impossible to check everything. 

A.f.a.i.k. there exists no consensus of what exactly is the best material to use for analyzing. Because analyzing is a bit like studying, I neither believe there is a best method for everybody. Therefore I don't want to write this article about what the best games are to analyze but I prefer to give a more personal insight of what I do daily as homework. Besides just being busy with certain positions will very likely already have a positive influence on your game.

I guess that today 80% of my analyses are made upon my own played games. The remaining 20% goes to gamepreparations, specific openings, input for blogarticles or just randomly found interesting positions. I doubt strongly if this is a good split but I don't care very much as optimal return isn't what I am chasing after as I am only an amateur. The motivation of this analyzing work can mainly be found in my vision of playing which is based on the scientific approach and the pleasure which I experience in investigating of what happened or could have happened on the board and more particularly in my own games.

As not every own played game is as interesting, it is clear that I don't put in every game as much analyzing work. Blitz or bulletgames I review seldom or never. An exception I make when a player manages to beat me several times with a certain system but even then I don't go deeper than just quickly checking with an engine and database the opening. On the other hand for serious games (in which time was available to record the moves manually) I use a much more thoroughly analyzing approach. I mean a system of analyzing which I explained in my blogarticle Analyzing with an engine.

I assume for most people such intensive analyses of own played games will sound incredible but today I can easily show my personal database of 650 own played games which are fully commented with a broad variety of different lines. Besides if you look to this blog with more than 100 articles which often contain very extensive analyses of own played games then one already can deduct that I reuse a lot of what I built long time ago. The oldest example on this blog dates from 1996, see chesscompositions which corresponds to the start of the digitization of my analysis.

So I am aware that my urge to analyse is rather an exception than the rule. A strong Belgian FM even admitted on this blog that he doesn't make his analyses that extensive, see his comment under my blogarticle an extensive repertoire for black. Also a known player from Zottegem once asked me the question if the chance isn't small that such games like a Dutch gambit repeat. Well as mentioned earlier in this article, I don't analyze purely for a maximum return which doesn't mean that I don't learn anything at all from the analyses. On this blog I've written already several articles which proof that one can harvest from earlier made analyses, see : an obscure line in the Viennathe boomeranga Dutch gambit and a Dutch gambit part 2. There is more to find on this blog but these are the most striking articles.

If you clicked on the links (or you simply still remember the articles) then likely you noticed that in a first meeting with the sidelines that I achieved a bad result (loss or draw against a much lower rated player). In this blogarticle I want to demonstrate that one can not only learn from bad results. So I go a step further with stating that one can learn from each seriously played game even if you won from an opponent much less experienced and played in a obscure sideline. To support this claim, I will show 3 games chronologically which i all won in a side-variation of the bishopgame which Linton considers inferior but at my opinion is somewhat undervalued.

The fist time that I met the line, was in 2003 in the Open of Le Touquet. I treated the opening in the same fashion as the standard mainline of the bishopgame but quickly experienced that white was a bit bitter. Only in the endgame I was able to beat my opponent thanks to some crafty moves.

In the previous clubchampionship of Deurne I noticed in my preparation (yes even against a 1700 rated player) that Bb4 instead of Bd6 is very interesting as a normal concept of Nc3-Bg5 becomes impossible. This time I came on top out of the opening but after some inaccuracies and likely too optimistic play I let the position slip. Again only after move 40 I was able to get a decisive advantage despite the big ratingdifference.

Finally I got in round 4 of the previous Open Gent again this line on the board and this time my opponent had bad luck as I still remembered the analysis very well. We got the same middlegame but this time I knew that I better first control the queen-side before to engage any other actions. This knowledge-advantage together with the big time-advantage made it obviously an unfair battle.

In the 3 games I achieved the same result but the way how was totally different thanks to the continuous improvement of my knowledge based on analyzing the own played games. It is widely known that analyzing your own games is important but few know that also from won games something can be learned. Also if you don't learn anything from your won game, you can be sure your opponent will do. Analyzing won games is also a method to stay a step ahead of your opponent Of course if one lacks time then one should give priority to the lost games but I see often that time isn't the real reason as chessplayers often prefer to do something different than going over their own played games which lets us return to the introduction.

Brabo 

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