I also plan to use some of this down time to fill in some gaps in my opening repertoire. I haven't been one for doing much opening study, but now that I have a some games to go on, I can see what the most common positions I find myself in and try to expand my knowledge there. I'm struggling against the Nimzo as White and c4 as Black. With White, I'm most frequently encountering the QGD/Slav/Semi-Slav complex, and equal amounts of King's Indian and Nimzo Indian, although I'm also encountering lots of gambits and oddball responses to the Queen's Gambit like the Chigorin. I almost feel like I'd be able to cut down on my study if I played e4 aiming for the Spanish. With Black, it's ~85% e4 players with a small advantage to mainline Caro vs advance Caro. In fact, I've seen c4 more than I've seen d4 in OTB tournament play. Including online play, I'm seeing a little bit more d4, but not much.
Before I get started on the games, I wanted to briefly discuss the idea of "2000 basic tactical patterns" you need to store. And before we get into that discussion, here's a puzzle I did with my coach a few months ago.
And he asked me a simple question: "Can Black save his knight?" And I dove in looking at a bunch of knight moves to see if there was a sequence of checks and threats that would allow him to save his piece. And after a couple minutes I replied no. After I made my answer, he had us play the position out, with me as White. And after his simple move, I felt silly that the answer was so trivial. He then went on to talk about the idea of those basic 2000 tactical patterns being composed of simple ideas like this one that you can apply in your games. He had the same reaction when he saw the solution, but it happened to him OTB. It's one of those things you see and never forget.
Now onto the games. The following games were played during a June Swiss at one of my many chess clubs.
Another game where I missed a chance at getting a won game right out of the opening.
This next game could be the 1st in a series titled "SilentKnight gets a winning position against someone 400-500 points higher and loses anyway".
A frustrating loss, but I was so encouraged at my ability to get a good position against a class A player OTB, that I decided to play up in my next tournament. I've won games against much higher rated players on ICC, and this game made me feel like I could do the same OTB. And those games will be the subject of my next blog post...
The piece reorganization idea starting at move 23 for Black reminded me of my 1st time trying to do that puzzle above; it's a simple idea, but if you haven't seen it before it's easy to overlook. Well if I ever get a chance in a game to reorganize my pieces into a mating battery, I have some idea of what to look for.
Attacking the king is a major hole in my game. I've been on the receiving end of some all out attacks on my king, but it's never something I'm doing in my games. I need to remedy that but I'm not 100% sure where to start. Sounds like a good question for my coach.