Hard Truths


In Wednesday’s game, Rhett offered me a draw after I had missed completely winning tactics. The final position is still winning for White, as he was going to play ..Nc5, but then instead of Bd4+ (still winning), I was going to blitz out Re3, and after the reply …e4 Black is better.

He had 7 minutes remaining, and I had 3 minutes. I was missing all of the tactics where I had blitzed out my last moves.


Thursday’s game was more of the same, except that it was an all-time low for me. I missed 50..Bb1+ winning his bishop. This is made all the worse because I planned this exact tactic when I had played ..a5, setting it up. At this point I had only 15 seconds on my clock and my opponent was blitzing out his blunders. All I was thinking on this move was where to put my pieces without dropping them and was mortified in the post-mortem to learn that I had reached this position without realizing it in the time-scramble.

He played 52.Rf2 to stop the …Bb1+ followed by …Bc2+, but now Black simply has 52…Bb1+ 53.Ka1 Bc2+ winning the Ba4 anyway, or 53.Kb3 Re3 mate.

67.Rc4?? And now instead of playing the winning 67…Rh5+!, I foolishly play a line I had thought would draw, but did not calculate it far ahead enough to see that it was losing, with of course 2 seconds on my clock and only a 5 second delay.

Quite a frustrating week due to poor time-management and rusty tactics skills.

On the tactics front, I now realize or at least agree with the notion that tactics problems need to be memorized. Have to know them to the point that they can be “solved” in a flash.

I would go so far as to say that if you have to solve a tactic, then you don’t know what you are doing on some level, but you may figure it out given enough time. One has to “know” tactics, not merely solve them.

Besides simply “memorizing” tactical positions, the key to tactics is to visualize the position from the minds-eye, and not by physically looking at the chessboard. The reason for this is because the mind can comprehend concepts in the minds-eye, and exact positions, but just looking at the board is a lot like looking at eye-candy.

I am going to attempt to solve again, and this time memorize the answers to the 1100 odd tactics problems from the Combination Challenge book. At a sudden-death time-control, it is ultimately and extremely important to be able to blitz out tactics, there is simply no way to understate this fact; especially as one can easily lose on time or board trying to blitz out a long endgame versus finding a tactical blow earlier on in the position.


One thought on “Hard Truths

  1. I am not on my computer, so can rely only on my analysis.
    Wednesday – I am not sure that was winning – 22… Nc5 23. Bxd4 Ka8 24. Re3
    Thursday – I would be upset too, missing Bc2.
    67. Rc4 Rh5+ 68. Kb3 – what next – Ke3?
    I do not think, frankly, that leaving a few seconds to find tactical solutions even with a tactical training is a good way to go, you still need a time to calculate the line(s), better is to play in steady tempo, but I can’t convince you to do that, 🙂

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