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just watched the "exchanging bishops" video and played a few games

I just played white against the French and followed the few moves I could remember (I had prepped for the Sicilian; he wanted to try something new against much-lower-rated me).  I got to this position and wanted to trade my dsb but Stockfish hated it - https://lichess.org/5LBQQLrj/black#19  I eventually got a crushing advantage (!) but gave it back and ultimately lost.  Was my thinking correct that my dsb was bad, but my execution off?

The rematch was my horrible attempt to defend against 1.d4.  I got to this position where I thought it would be good to defend my K with my lsb and trade if he wanted to - https://lichess.org/HntdT6lm/black#18  Again, the computer evaluation was horrible in my opponent's favor, and got much worse with that move.  What was wrong with my thinking?  His thinking turned bad a bit later when he blundered the initiative and I found the win. :-)

I understand that the two-bishop advantage exists.  Should I not have been thinking of exchanges in these games?

Chess is hard work

Chess is hard.

All of us work to improve our game. We work on tactics, openings, endings, classics, planning, visualization, and intuition. We also work on psychology, fitness, nutrition, endurance and yes, keeping the right mood!

Chess is hard.

To help us improve, we buy books, video series on openings, middle games, and endings. We buy software for storing files, have computers check for blunders and novelties, and hire coaches to help us fix our weaknesses and improve our strengths.

Chess is hard.

Anyone who has been around ChessMood for any time, knows that I have chosen to climb the mountain on a path no one has yet traversed. A year and a half ago, at the age of 46 and rated 1700 USCF (about 1600-1650 FIDE), I chose to start the path to Grand Master. I knew when I started, it was not going to be easy. If it was easy, it would of already been done. (Those that have achieved the GM title after 40 were all expert/master in their teens)

Chess is hard.

The first 6 months went very very well. I jumped to over 1800 very quickly, and was winning many games against 2000+ rated players using ChessMood openings. But then I hit a wall. I started losing odd games vs players much lower rated then I was. I would win a nice game against a CM, then the very next game lose to a 1500. 

Chess is hard.

I grew very discouraged. I still woke up every day, ready to hit the books, study my openings, watch the streams and work towards my destiny, but I started to fear playing. I would get on the streams, and get 90% of the answers correct, know all the main lines of our openings, and see the plans clearly while Coach Avetik was playing, but I couldn't do it when I was playing. 

Chess is hard.

I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I would play the openings we are taught, and would almost always get an advantage coming out of the opening. I would continue to build on the advantage, but somewhere along the line, I would miss a tactic or blunder away my advantage. It became difficult to keep a good mood, and made me even more fearful of playing. I was also embarrassed that I stopped improving, so stopped being as active in our community, which is the worst of all, because there is no better place for support then right here at ChessMood.  

Chess is hard.

Despite all these feelings of despair and failure, I kept working. I followed the plan laid out for us by Coach Avetik. When I found the courage to play, I would check the games against my opening files, which continued to grow, as well as checked for blunders (Which were numerous). I looked for patterns and worked to correct my mistakes, but kept losing to simple tactics or just hanging a piece. 

Chess is hard.

So to fix my problem I started working on tactics. LOTS of tactics. Anytime I had a few minutes, I would open my phone to the chesstempo app and do a tactic. I would spend 2 hours a day minimum on tactics. I was improving my tactics rating slowly, but I was excited to be working on my weakness and seeing an improvement. I gained almost 300 rating points on tactics in about 3 months (I know I am not setting any records) and thought I had to have improved in my games for sure! But alas, I was still losing to simple tactics and hanging pieces.

Chess is Hard.

But I continued to work. I started to work with a partner, Abhi, as we both are focused on improvement. We worked on blindfold chess, middle game ideas, books we are both reading, as well as analyzing ending together. As we were studying, he kept saying how he couldn't believe how fast and accurate my calculation was, or how he wished he could see as far ahead as me. (For the record, Abhi is much better at this the even he believes, and is easily my equal if not even better then I am) Then in middle of an analysis, I would look at a move and totally miss one of my pieces hanging, or overlook a simple reply by my opponent. 

Chess is hard.

It is at that time, Abhi helped me realize my true issue. I don't have a tactics problem. When presented with a tactical opportunity, I can usually see the idea very quickly. He helped me see my problem is really what we decided to call "Blind Spots" In the middle of analyzing, I suddenly become blind to a piece or a square. I just completely don't see it. We had a position today, where I said if we move our knight, we will discover an attack on our opponents unprotected piece, so we looked at Nh4 for a couple minutes and decided it wasnt quite working and moved on to other moves. Then we started looking at Ne5 (same knight) and I said that wont work, he will just capute and move his other piece away from our pawn that recaptures. He politely reminded me that the opponent wouldn't be able to save both his bishop attacked by our pawn and the piece we discovered an attack on when we moved our knight. I was suddenly totally blind to what I had just seen and known a couple minutes before.

Chess is hard.

I have heard of players, even top GMs, that have these blind spots on occasion, but never to the extent I seem to have them. As I have gone back through a ton of my games, the pattern has suddenly sprang to light with complete clarity. Blind spots. And just as suddenly I have renewed confidence, as I now know what to be working on.  

Chess is not hard... Chess is hard work.

We all face difficulties as we work to improve. We just need to remember, when we hit a wall, don't continue banging your head into it, waiting for it to fall down, it would instead be more beneficial to have a partner or coach show you the doorway through. Thank you Abhi for helping me see and diagnose this problem of blind spots, it is the doorway for my to cross through the wall I have faced for a long time!

Chess is hard work.

Now I go to work on fixing the problem of blind spots in my game. If anyone out there knows how to overcome this issue, or has had the same issue and has over come it, please share with me the way to cure my ailment. And if anyone else has this issue, and is also looking for a solution, let us work together to overcome it! 

Thanks to all of you who took the time to read all the way though this lengthy post, and I hope it turns out to be helpful to all in some way.

GM Jay 

PRO Members

Study Partner!
  • . I am currently working on 3 classics book with 2 training partner and I am glad they are super serious about learning and improving their skills to the next level and everyday they are thirsty to learn something new and grasp new ideas. I want to work on books which I shared in the bottom of  For improving positional skills and Endgame If you have burning desire and are serious about learning something new from classics analysis then don't miss to join my study training. But I hate excuses, yeah if they are genuine then it's ok. I don't wanna lazy partner. Only serious and strong players can contact me. The reason behind joining strong player so that I can also learn from them. Another thing is that I just started working on analysis of classics so I need supportive partner who can help me to see the lines well.

    About me:

    I am Abhishek Yadav. I am an Indian. I have 1465 FIDE rating and online is around 2100 on lichess new account and old account had 2180. I have burning desire to learn something that's why I am here to learn from Chessmood Family. Hope to see you soon!

    Right now I am working on:

    1) Morphy Move by Move book with Devansh

    2) Petrosian Move by Move with Devansh.

    3) Capablanca’s Best Chess Endings” by Irving Chernev  with Jay Garrison

    For improving positional skills and Endgame

Rubinstein’s Chess Masterpieces: 100 Selected Games” by Hans Kmoch

Grandmaster Chess Strategy: What Amateurs Can Learn from Ulf Andersson’s Positional Masterpieces”by Jurgen Kaufeld and Guido Kern

Anatoly Karpov’s Best Games by Anatoly Karpov

Benko Gambit Main Line


Where I made mistake? I could not figure it out.I think I almost played opening correctly and even the plans. Can anyone help me out?

PRO Members

Daily Puzzle link in page footer

The daily puzzle links to an old puzzle - https://chessmood.com/daily-puzzle/17.09.2020

It'd be great if you'd fix it so I could get my daily fix with just one click!  By the way, I finally solved one today.