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.
[Event "Open Le Touquet 1ste ronde"] [Date "2003"] [White "Patel, L."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "2090"] [BlackElo "2298"] [PlyCount "126"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. exd5 cxd5 6. Bb3 Bd6 $5 {(Bd6 is the standardcontinuation after Bb3 but as white swapped the move-order, black now has some interesting alternatives: Bb4, Nc6 and Bg4.)} 7. Bg5 d4 $5 {(A year ago I already studied this position and considered d4 as best but today I am not so sure anymore. Now with better software and hardware I believe black has some serious alternatives: Nc6, Be6, Qa5, Nbd7 and Bg4.)} 8. Nbd2 O-O $5 {(H6 to force the bishop to make a decision, must also be considered.)} 9. Ne4 $5 {(Immediately castling short is at least as interesting because white can use the open e-file and put quickly pressure on e5. Also white has the option to increase the pressure afterwards with Nc4.)} Be7 $146 {(I still found 1 grandmastergame with this positon in which the inferior continuation Bb4 was chosen by black.)} 10. Qe2 $5 {(White chooses for a quiet setup but it is impossible that white can achieve any openingadvantage in this way. A more critical path is taking on f6 after which black can complicate by retaking with the g-pawn.)} Nc6 $5 { (Exchanging on e4 is also possible and can lead to a transposition unless white takes on f6.)} 11. O-O Bg4 $5 {(Nxe4 is still possible.)} 12. h3 $5 {(Bd2 to prevent the exchanges, is recommended by the engines but I can not find any advantage anyway.)} Bxf3 $1 {(This leads to a favorable general exchange of pieces so black can grap the initiative.)} 13. Qxf3 Nxe4 14. Bxe7 Nd2 15. Qe2 Nxe7 16. Qxd2 Ng6 17. Rae1 Qd6 18. g3 Rae8 19. h4 Kh8 20. h5 Ne7 21. f4 Nd5 22. Bxd5 Qxd5 23. fxe5 Rxe5 24. Rxe5 Qxe5 25. Qf4 Qxh5 26. Qxd4 b6 27. Qd6 Kg8 28. Qf4 h6 29. g4 Qd5 30. a3 Re8 31. Qf3 Qe6 32. c3 Qg6 33. Qf5 Re3 34. Qxg6 fxg6 35. d4 Re4 36. d5 $5 {(Kf2 would have made the defense must easier. Now a complicated endgame ensues in which white must play carefully to draw.)} (36. Kf2 $1 Rxg4 37. Ke3 g5 38. d5 Rf4 {(Black must give a pawn to transfer the king to the center. )} 39. Rxf4 gxf4 40. Kxf4 Kf7 41. c4 $11 {(Whites king holds blacks free pawns while black does not the same with the white pawns.)}) 36... Rxg4 37. Kh2 Rg5 38. c4 Rf5 39. Re1 Rf4 40. b3 Kf7 41. Kg3 $2 {(White centralizes the king which is a normal reaction in the endgame but here i find it superfluous as on this square the black pawns can only march quicker forward. Stronger seems e.g. d6 after which white can infiltrate and create its own counterplay by creating free pawns on the queen-side. After the textmove white gets into problems. )} (41. d6 $1 Rd4 42. Re7 Kf6 43. Rxa7 Rxd6 $44 {(White has excellent counterplay on the queen-side and therefore good drawing chances.)}) 41... g5 42. a4 Rd4 43. Kf2 Rf4 44. Kg3 h5 45. a5 Rd4 46. axb6 axb6 47. Kg2 Rd3 48. Re5 Rxb3 49. Rxg5 g6 50. Re5 Rc3 $2 {( A loss of time as white was anyway planning to play the rook to e4 to which he can easily support the d-pawn via Rd4. Therefore better is Kf6 and likely black has a won position.)} ( 50... Kf6 $1 51. Re4 g5 52. Rd4 Rb2 $1 53. Kg1 Ke7 $1 54. Re4 Kf7 $1 {(Black can respond on d6 with Ke8.)} 55. Re5 Kf6 56. Re8 Rb4 57. Rf8 Ke7 58. Rh8 {(On Rg8, black takes on c4 after which taking on g5 is punished immediately by Rg4.)} h4 59. Rg8 Kf6 60. Rf8 Kg7 $19 {(White can not create sufficient counterplay with solely the rook. )}) 51. Re4 g5 {(Kf6 is just too slow because of Kf2 with the idea of Ke2 after which the d-pawn runs too fast.)} 52. Kf2 $2 {(White will place the king on e2 to prevent Rd3 after which the d-pawn can march forward without any problems. However as black already played g5, black can quicker push his h-pawn which makes that white is a fraction too late. Therefore, more precise are drastic measurements with Re6 and it is unclear if black can win this position.)} (52. Re6 Rxc4 $5 {(Rb3 is also possible but it is impossible to analyze everything in detail.)} (52... Rb3 $5 53. Rh6 $1 h4 54. Kh2 $1 Rc3 55. Rxb6 $1 g4 56. Rh6 $1 Rc2 57. Kg1 h3 58. d6 Rxc4 59. d7 Rd4 60. Kf2 Rd3 61. Rh8 Ke7 62. d8=Q Rxd8 63. Rh7 Kf6 64. Kg3) 53. Rxb6 Rd4 54. Rh6 h4 55. Kh3 Rxd5 56. Kg4 {(Black has 2 pawns more but white has a fortress.)}) 52... h4 $1 53. Re6 $5 {(Only now white notices that Ke2 fails due to h3. Black threatens with Kf6-Kf5 to infiltrate so this explains whites choice. However here it is less trong as white does not possess anymore about the fortress with Kg4.)} Rxc4 54. Rxb6 Rf4 55. Kg1 $5 {(Kg2 is more exact but is also annihilated by the manoeuvre Rg4-Rg3 after which whites king can not reach the critical square g4 and black can win the d-pawn.)} Rf6 $2 {(Very short of time, I miss that white can push the d-pawn here to d7. Correct is Rd4 which stops the d-pawn and the remaining endgame must be won.)} 56. d6 Rf5 57. Rb4 $2 {(White misses his chance to complicate the situation as he was playing on my timetrouble. I do not see after d7 how black can make progress.)} (57. d7 $1 Rd5 58. Rb5 $1 Rd1 59. Kg2 Kf6 60. Rb6 Kf5 (60... Ke7 61. Rb5 g4 62. Rh5 h3 63. Kg3 Rg1 64. Kh2 Rg2 65. Kh1 {(The pawn on d7 can not be taken as otherwise white has a rook which can check forever but I can not find any other decent winning try.}) 61. Rb5 Kg4 62. Rb4 Kh5 63. Rb7 {(Friz as Shredder do not manage to win this with the black pieces. Probably the d-pawn is too far advanced.}) 57... Rd5 58. Rb6 Ke6 59. d7 Kxd7 60. Rg6 Ke7 61. Kg2 Kf7 62. Ra6 Re5 63. Ra4 Kg6 {(With less than a minute left on my clock, I blitzed the remaining of the game and managed to give mate with a few seconds on the clock left.)} 0-1" />
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.
[Event "Klubkampioenschap Deurne r8"] [Date "2013"] [White "Viaene, J."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "1780"] [BlackElo "2336"] [PlyCount "96"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. exd5 cxd5 6. Bb3 Bb4 {(10 years ago I chose against Patel in Open Le Touquet for Bd6 and was able to win that game after a tough struggle. In my preparation I noticed that Bb4 is an interesting alternative which I wanted to try out. )} 7. c3 Bd6 8. Bg5 Be6 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 h6 12. Bh4 Qc7 {(Till about here went my preparation. A complex position is on the board with chances for both sides.)} 13. Qe2 Rfe8 14. Ba4 {(I thought very long, probably too long to carefully rate the complications after Bxf6 but white almost responded instantaneous with an interesting alternative.)} (14. Bxf6 $5 Nxf6 15. Nxe5 {(Probably c4 is better here.)} Bg4 {(A5 is also interesting here with the intention to play a4-a3 but during the game I only looked at Bg4.)} 16. Nxg4 Rxe2 17. Nxf6 gxf6 18. Rxe2 {(After taking on h2 it is not clear who is better. D4 is a typical computermove with the intention or to destroy the pawnstructure or after c4 to limit the mobility of the white bishop.)}) 14... Nh7 $5 {(I prepare f5, followed up with g5 but I do not succeed. More critical seems Nh5 and white must be very careful not to land in a bad position.)} 15. Bg3 Bg4 16. Qf1 f6 17. Bb3 Be6 18. Qe2 a6 19. Nf1 Rad8 20. Ne3 Qc6 21. Nh4 Nc5 22. Bc2 Bf8 23. c4 $6 {(White plans an interesting gambit for which objectively he gets probably not enough compensation. More precise is therefore d4, a move which was even stronger a bit earlier in the game. )} d4 24. Nd5 a5 25. Qd2 Ra8 $6 {(I prefer to play on safety but the engines recommend the sharp b5 after which black can create better chances.)} 26. f4 exf4 $2 {(To accept the pawnoffer with Bxd5 is the lesser evil but it is clear that white gets good compensation for it.)} 27. Nxf4 Bf7 28. Nhg6 $2 {(I was mainly afraid of Nf3 during the game and indeed engines confirm that black has serious problems with his weak d-pawn.)} Bd6 29. Qf2 Bxg6 30. Nxg6 Bxg3 31. Qxg3 Qd7 32. Nf4 Rxe1 33. Rxe1 Re8 34. Rxe8 $5 {(This was afterwards criticized by my opponent but I can already not find an advantage anymore for white.)} (34. Nd5 $5 Rxe1 35. Qxe1 Qe6 36. Qxe6 Nxe6 37. a3 Nhf8 38. b4 axb4 39. axb4 Ng6 $11) 34... Qxe8 35. Qf2 Qe5 36. Ne2 Ne6 37. a3 Nhf8 38. b4 axb4 39. axb4 b6 40. Ba4 Ng6 41. g3 Qd6 42. Qf5 Ne7 43. Qb5 Kh7 {(Nc7 is the normal move but I want to win so I take some calculated risks.)} 44. Qd7 Qe5 45. Kf1 Nf5 46. Bb3 $6 {(The position is still within the boundaries of a draw with Ke1 or Bc6 but white is probably tired and does not succeed anymore to find a good defense. )} Ne3 47. Kg1 $2 {(With Kf2 white could defend still much tougher but after this blunder the game finishes immediately. )} (47. Kf2 $1 Ng4 48. Ke1 Nxh2 49. Qd5 Nc7 50. Qg2 Ng4 $15) 47... Ng4 48. Bd1 Qe3 0-1" />
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.
[Event "Open Gent 4de ronde"] [Date "2013"] [White "Passchyn, M."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C24"] [WhiteElo "2012"] [BlackElo "2344"] [PlyCount "48"] 1. e4 {(In 2 earlier confrontations I had white so nice to have once the colors reversed.)} e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Bb3 d5 5. exd5 cxd5 6. Nf3 Bb4 7. c3 Bd6 8. Bg5 Be6 9. O-O O-O 10. Nbd2 {(Not even a month ago, I had looked in detail to this opening cause of my clubchampionshipgame against Jan Viaen. Then Jan played Re1 in this position. )} h6 11. Bh4 Nbd7 12. Re1 {(We have transposed back to my game against Jan which permitted me to win a lot of time on the clock contrary to my opponent.)} Qc7 13. Nf1 {(Jan played Qe2 but this Nf1 looks more natural.)} Rfe8 14. Bg3 a6 15. Ne3 b5 16. Nh4 g6 17. Qd2 Qc6 18. h3 Kg7 19. Rf1 $6 {(To play f4 at some moment and create counterplay but in this position this is too optimistic. The dry Nf3 was a better way to organize the defense. )} Nc5 $6 {(I prepare d4 but probably a little bit more precise is anyway a5 to concur maximally space on the queen-side, limiting whites options. )} 20. Bc2 $2 {(After the game I immediately recommended Bd1 to leave c2 open for the knight which was confirmed by the engines. )} d4 21. Nd1 $6 {(The engines pull the emergence break with Ng4 which means a gambit.)} Rad8 22. f4 {(Desperation which easily is refuted.)} Nh5 23. cxd4 Nxg3 24. Re1 Be7 0-1" />
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.


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