Lately I have come to realize that there are two issues that are the main cause of my stagnation for the last couple of years.
In order I believe them to be comparative analysis and evaluation of the resulting positions.
Here is an example from one of my games at the US Open. Take a look at this position, with Black (me) to move.
Here I became fixated on the idea of 24…Nxd5. I was looking at the idea of 25.exd5 e4
I was thinking that I would wind up with a much better position after something like 26.Qd2 exf3 27.gxf3.
The problem though was that I didn’t look at any other moves. So I became fixated on this one idea and it became far too east to convince myself that it must be good since it was the only thing I was looking at.
But let’s go back to this:
The problem is that White has a nice intermezzo. Can you find it? It’s at the bottom of this post.
Had I been looking at other candidate moves and comparing them I would have also considered moves such as 24…axb4 or 24..Rc8, etc.
Perhaps I still would have miscalculated and played 24…Nxd5, but I would have had a more open mind. (For the record the real blunder came a few moves later in the game…)
My other issue is evaluation of the resulting positions. Far too often I can’t tell when a position is even versus slightly better or slightly worse.
By “slightly” let’s say like 1.0 in engine evaluation. Of course that can mean a swing of nearly 2.0 on any given move. Let’s say that I have a position that’s 0.00 and one move is +.75 in my favor while the other is -.75 against me. That’s 1.5 in difference.
Sure, most obvious moves I will at least catch. If there is some glaring issue I do tend to notice those. For instance the doubled isolated f pawns resulting in the line I calculated above which my opponent avoided with the zwischenzug. It’s the more subtle things that I need to work on.
I am becoming convinced that the road to 1900 and beyond will be paved with learning to always look at multiple candidate moves.
In order to break 1800 I had to force myself to look at tempo moves all of the time. This seems to be the next step on the path.
Time will tell.
Til Next Time,
The intermezzo I missed was