Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Reviewing my games

Tonight, I entered my losses from the Father's Day Tournament from Saturday. It is kind of painful going over these games, and I've never been really consistent about analyzing my games, but I know that if I want to improve, I need to understand what I need to improve. I have faith that working to understand my mistakes and then working to correct and improve them will pay big dividends over time.

This brings up the concept of deliberate practice that I first learned about in Geoffrey Colvin's book Talent is Overrated. It's a great book, which mainly proposes that one can achieve expertise through specific hard work. I've read the book several times, and I've come up with a simple flow chart to explain what deliberate practice - a term referring to this type of specific hard work needed to produce expert performance - is:

I encourage you to get the book to learn more about it. It talks about chess a bit, as the original researchers who coined the term deliberate practice studied the rise of great chess players, including Bobby Fischer. The book also mentions the Polgar sisters. I have found it very insightful in my own search for ways to improve chess and other parts of my life.

Back to the games: I'm going to try to note all of the thoughts at the key points of the game, including whether I used a lot of time on the moves. In the next couple days, I plan on using the computer to help me pick out my tactical errors and in general try to look for the types of errors I'm making - for example, a couple I've noticed just in reflecting on the games as I entered them:

1. Making moves impulsively without calculating the tactical consequences.
2. Spending too much time thinking on simple moves.
3. Failing to develop counterplay.
4. Inactive pieces.

I'm sure I'll find a few more as I analyze the games. After this analysis (plus any games I play between now and then), I want to come up with a few training methods to tackle the areas I feel are most holding me back. My goal is to get this analysis done in the next week. I'll share any interesting positions or insights that I discover.

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