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How to win!

I have been reviewing our games in the league and we have done fantastically. There is great hope for the future as most us have started from zero and are on a very rapid upward curve. Taking Andrew out of the picture (just for a moment), we have younger players than most other clubs, so while most of the opposition will be flat-lining, ours should be soaring.

So, as we are fast learners, let me share some of my thoughts – and ignore them if you wish:

1.     Almost all of the games are won or lost by big mistakes – and not great opening preparation, violent kingside attacks, refined positional play or endgame expertise. My guess is that when you made a blunder, you knew the second you picked up the piece and groaned. So you have to find a strategy to avoid playing automatic moves. There are loads of strategies which I am happy to share – but just ask yourself before playing a move “how could playing this move ruin my evening?” And sit on your hands!

2.     Develop a drill when considering your next move. Like, “what’s changed? – are there any checks or captures I’ve not considered – are there any loose/unprotected pieces in the position – what is my opponent up to – and before playing it – is there a better move? Remember, you have loads of time, but playing a bad move will take up all your time.

3.     When you don’t know what to do, just improve the position of your worst piece. Remember, you don’t always have to do something to win, sometimes your opponent will just hand you the win!

We can learn about how to play against hanging pawns, Lucena’s position, Zwischenzug etc. but actually the most important thing is to stay in the game!

Just one other

thing! This is an extra and a bit more advanced. When there is the possibility of an equal exchange of pawns or pieces – do NOT exchange unless you have a really good reason to do so. Most players exchange automatically but it helps their opponent more than them. Just hold the position and let them exchange – conferring the initiative to you! This won’t win the game but it might help you gain the initiative and get on the front foot!

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