Chess Psychology

Special lecture by Ish Ramdewar

Chess Psychology- It's all in the mind! 

Or

How Not To Play Chess

by Ish

I did an analysis on all my games this season, and I found that when I lost, it was mostly because of something wrong in my thought processes. Usually, I just got lazy! This is the number one reason I dropped points or half points! I trusted to instinct what I could have worked out. In no game did I drop below 5 minutes on the clock at any point, and only once below 10 minutes.

I concluded that work on my thought processes and approach to the game would improve my chess as much as technical work.

I hope what I've learned will be of value to you. If not, perhaps you'll be entertained by some of my most humiliating defeats!

All games here:

[Event "'Get me a FIDE rating'"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.12.21"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Foley, Phil"]
[Black "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B32"]
[WhiteElo "94"]
[BlackElo "113"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "108"]
[TimeControl "40/600:40/600:40/600"]

{400MB, Rybka.ctg, ISHMAEL B32: Sicilian: Löwenthal and Kalashnikov Variations
} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 a6 6. Nd6+ Bxd6 7. Qxd6 Qf6
8. Qxf6 Nxf6 {last book move} 9. f3 d5 10. Bg5 dxe4 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. fxe4 Be6
13. Na3 (13. Bd3 Rg8 14. O-O Ke7 $11) 13... Nb4 (13... Rd8 14. c3 $15) 14. b3 (
14. c3 Nc6 $11) 14... Ke7 (14... Rd8 15. c3 Nd3+ 16. Bxd3 Rxd3 17. O-O $15) 15.
c3 $11 Nc6 16. O-O-O Rac8 17. Kb2 Bg4 18. Rd2 Rhd8 19. Bd3 (19. Rf2 b5 $11)
19... Rd7 (19... f5 20. Nb1 f4 21. Bc4 $15) 20. Re1 Rcd8 21. Re3 $4 (21. Kc2
$142 $11) 21... f5 $1 $19 22. Kc2 $6 (22. exf5 Bxf5) 22... f4 (22... fxe4 $142
23. Rxe4 Bf5 $19) 23. Re1 $15 h5 24. Nc4 Be6 25. Nb2 f5 (25... b5 26. Red1 $17)
26. Red1 (26. Rf2 Kf6 $11) 26... Kf6 (26... Rc7 27. Kb1 $15) 27. exf5 $11 Bxf5
28. Bxf5 Rxd2+ 29. Rxd2 Rxd2+ 30. Kxd2 Kxf5 31. Nc4 Kg4 32. Nd6 (32. Ke2 $142
$5 $11) 32... f3 $17 33. Ke3 (33. h3+ $142 $5 Kg3 34. gxf3 Kxf3 35. Nxb7 $17)
33... fxg2 $19 34. Kf2 Kh3 35. Kg1 Ne7 36. Ne4 Nd5 37. Nf2+ Kh4 38. Kxg2 Nxc3
39. Kf3 (39. Nd3 Nxa2 40. Nxe5 Nc1 $19) 39... Nxa2 40. Ke4 Nc1 41. b4 Na2 42.
Nd3 $2 (42. Kxe5 Nxb4 43. Kd4 $19) 42... Kh3 43. Nxe5 (43. Kxe5 h4 44. Kf4 Kxh2
$19) 43... Nxb4 44. Kf4 (44. Nf3 a5 45. Kd4 Kg2 46. Nh4+ Kxh2 $19) 44... a5 45.
Kg5 (45. Nc4 a4 $19) 45... h4 (45... a4 $142 $5 46. Nc4 Nc2 47. Nd2 $19) 46.
Nc4 a4 47. Na3 Nd5 48. Nb5 Ne3 49. Kf4 (49. Kh5 $19) 49... Nc2 50. Kf3 a3 51.
Nc3 b5 52. Ke2 b4 53. Na2 b3 54. Nb4 a2 (54... a2 55. Nxa2 bxa2 $19) (54...
Nxb4 55. Ke3 b2 56. Kd4 b1=Q 57. Ke5 a2 58. Kd4 a1=Q+ 59. Kc5 Qe5+ 60. Kb6 Qg6+
61. Kb7 Qa6#) 0-1

[Event "Met Office v Exeter"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2008.04.15"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Black "Gillard, Lee"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B14"]
[WhiteElo "113"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[TimeControl "1800"]

{B14: Caro-Kann: Panov-Botvinnik Attack with 5...e6 and 5...g6} 1. e4 c6 2. d4
d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. Nf3 Be7 7. Bf4 $6 (7. cxd5 Nxd5 8. Bd3
$14) 7... O-O $11 {last book move} 8. Qd2 (8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nc6 $11) 8...
Bd7 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Bd3 Re8 11. O-O Nc6 12. a3 Bg4 13. Ne5 Bd6 $6 (13... Be6
14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Rfe1 $14) 14. Rfe1 (14. Bxh7+ Nxh7 (14... Kxh7 15. Nxf7 Bxf4
(15... Qe7 $2 16. Nxd6 $18) 16. Qd3+ g6 17. Nxd8 Raxd8 $16 {With a double
edged position: black has three active pieces for the queen and two pawns.})
15. Nxg4 Bxf4 16. Qxf4 Qg5 17. Qxg5 Nxg5 $16) 14... a6 (14... Be6 15. Nb5 Bb8
16. Nxc6 bxc6 17. Bxb8 Rxb8 18. Nc3 $14) 15. Nxg4 (15. Bxh7+ $142 Nxh7 (15...
Kxh7 16. Nxf7 Bxf4 $16 17. Qd3+ g6 18. Nxd8 Raxd8 19. Rxe8 Rxe8 20. h3) 16.
Nxg4 Rxe1+ 17. Rxe1 Bxf4 18. Qxf4 $16) 15... Nxg4 $4 (15... Rxe1+ $142 16. Rxe1
Nxg4 $14) 16. Rxe8+ $18 Qxe8 17. Bxd6 Nxd4 (17... Nf6 18. Re1 Qd8 19. Be5 $18)
18. Bxh7+ Kxh7 19. Qxd4 Nf6 (19... Qe6 20. Bf4 $18 (20. Qxd5 $2 Qxd5 21. Nxd5
Rd8 $16)) 20. Nxd5 {The simple way to win.} (20. Be5 $5 Qe6 (20... Nd7 $5 21.
Bxg7 Qe6 22. Nxd5 Rg8 23. Bf6 $18) 21. Bxf6 Qxf6 22. Qxf6 gxf6 23. Nxd5 f5 $18)
20... Nxd5 21. Qxd5 Rd8 22. Rd1 Qe2 23. Qd3+ Qxd3 24. Rxd3 g6 (24... f6 25. f4
$18 Kg6 {At least keeps the king active.}) 25. Kf1 f5 (25... g5 26. Rd2 $18) (
25... Rd7 26. Ke2 f6 27. h4 $18) 26. Ke2 Kg8 (26... Rc8 27. Bf4 b6 28. Rd7+ Kg8
29. Kd3 $18) 27. Bf4 (27. Bb4 Rc8 $18) 27... Re8+ 28. Kd2 Re7 29. Rc3 Kf7 (
29... Rd7+ 30. Kc2 $18) 30. Rc7 1-0

[Event "Jamboree"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2008.01.20"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Black "Bower, Scott"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C01"]
[WhiteElo "113"]
[BlackElo "139"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "103"]

{768MB, Rybka.ctg, ISHMAEL C01: French: Exchange Variation} 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5
3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bg4 {last book move} 5. Be2 Bd6 6. O-O Ne7 7. Nc3 c6 8. Re1
O-O 9. Bg5 (9. Nh4 Bxe2 10. Qxe2 Na6 $11) 9... Qc7 10. h3 Bh5 11. Bxe7 Bxe7 12.
Ne5 Bxe2 13. Nxe2 Nd7 14. Nc1 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Rad8 16. Qg4 Rfe8 17. Nd3 Bf8 18.
f4 (18. Re2 d4 $11) 18... c5 19. e6 c4 (19... Bd6 20. exf7+ Qxf7 21. Rab1 $11)
20. exf7+ Qxf7 21. Ne5 (21. Rxe8 Qxe8 22. Ne5 h5 $11) 21... Qf6 22. Re2 Bd6 23.
Rae1 Bxe5 (23... Bc7 24. b3 $11) 24. Rxe5 $14 Rxe5 25. Rxe5 (25. fxe5 $5 Qb6+
26. Kh1 $14) 25... d4 $11 26. Qe2 (26. Re6 Qf8 27. Qg5 d3 28. cxd3 cxd3 $11)
26... d3 $15 27. cxd3 Rxd3 $4 (27... cxd3 $142 28. Qd2 h6 $15) 28. b3 (28. Qe4
Rd8 29. Re8+ Rxe8 30. Qxe8+ Qf8 31. Qe6+ Kh8 32. Qxc4 h6 $16) 28... b5 (28...
Qd6 $14) 29. Rxb5 (29. Qe4 $142 Rd8 30. bxc4 bxc4 31. Qxc4+ Qf7 32. Qxf7+ Kxf7
33. Ra5 $16) 29... Qxf4 $4 (29... Qd4+ $142 $5 30. Kh2 Qxf4+ 31. Kh1 h6 $11)
30. Qe8+ (30. Qe6+ $142 Kf8 31. Rf5+ Qxf5 32. Qxf5+ Ke7 33. Qxh7 Rd1+ 34. Kh2
cxb3 35. Qxg7+ Kd8 36. axb3 $18) 30... Qf8 $16 31. Qxf8+ (31. Qe6+ $142 $5 Kh8
32. Rf5 Rd1+ 33. Kh2 Qb8+ 34. Qe5 Qxe5+ 35. Rxe5 $16) 31... Kxf8 $11 32. bxc4
Rc3 $2 (32... Ra3 $142 $5 $11) 33. Ra5 $16 Rxc4 34. Rxa7 Rc2 35. h4 h6 36. Kh2
Rc3 (36... Rc4 37. Kh3 $16) 37. g3 (37. a4 Rc4 38. Kg3 Rc3+ 39. Kg4 Rc2 $18)
37... Kg8 38. Kh3 Kh7 39. h5 Rd3 $2 (39... Rc5 40. Kh4 $16) 40. a3 (40. a4 Rd1
$18) 40... Rd4 $2 (40... Rd5 $142 41. g4 Rd3+ 42. Kg2 Rd2+ 43. Kf3 Rc2 $18) 41.
a4 Rc4 42. g4 (42. a5 $142 $5 Rc5 43. g4 Rc3+ 44. Kg2 Rc4 $18) 42... Rc3+ 43.
Kh4 (43. Kg2 $5 Rc2+ 44. Kf3 Rc3+ 45. Ke4 Rc4+ 46. Kf5 Rc5+ 47. Ke6 Rg5 $18)
43... Rd3 44. a5 Rc3 45. a6 (45. Rd7 $142 Ra3 46. Rd5 $16) 45... Ra3 $11 46.
Ra8 Rb3 $2 (46... g5+ $142 47. hxg6+ Kxg6 $11) 47. Rc8 (47. a7 Ra3 $18) 47...
Ra3 48. Rc6 Kg8 49. Rg6 {White prepares the advance g5} Kh7 50. g5 Ra4+ 51. Kg3
hxg5 52. a7 1/2-1/2

[Event "Frome Congress Major"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2008.05.10"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Black "Bartlett, S."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B33"]
[WhiteElo "113"]
[BlackElo "146"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[TimeControl "40/600:40/600:40/600"]

{512MB, Fritz10.ctg, ISHMAEL B33: Sicilian: Pelikan and Sveshnikov Variations} 
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8.
Na3 b5 9. Nd5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. c3 O-O 12. Be2 Bg5 13. O-O Ne7 14. Nc2 Nxd5
15. Qxd5 Be6 16. Qd1 d5 17. Bf3 dxe4 18. Bxe4 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Rad8 20. Nb4 Rxd1+
21. Rxd1 Rd8 22. Rxd8+ Bxd8 23. Nxa6 Bxa2 24. Nb4 Bc4 25. Bd5 Be2 26. b3 (26.
Nc6 Bc7 $11) 26... Ba5 $15 27. Na2 Kf8 (27... Bd3 28. Bc6 e4 29. Nc1 Bxc3 30.
Nxd3 exd3 31. Bxb5 $15) 28. Nc1 Bd1 29. b4 Bb6 30. Bc6 Ba4 31. Nd3 Ke7 32. Nb2
Kd6 33. Be8 f5 34. c4 Bd4 35. Nxa4 bxa4 36. Bxa4 Kc7 37. Be8 Bc3 38. b5 Bd4 39.
Kf1 f4 (39... Kb6 40. Bd7 $14) 40. f3 $16 1/2-1/2

[Event "Exeter Club Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2008.05.13"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Black "Pope, Sean"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C78"]
[WhiteElo "113"]
[BlackElo "138"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "124"]
[TimeControl "40/600:40/600:40/600"]

{512MB, Fritz10.ctg, ISHMAEL C78: Ruy Lopez: Archangelsk and Möller Defences} 
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O b5 6. Bb3 Bc5 7. c3 d6 8. Re1
Bb7 9. d4 Bb6 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bh4 g5 {last book move} 12. dxe5 $5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5
$6 (13. Bg3 $142 $11) 13... dxe5 $17 14. Bg3 Nxe4 $2 (14... Qxd1 15. Rxd1 (15.
Bxd1 Nxe4 16. Bxe5 Bxf2+ 17. Kf1 f6 $1 18. Bh5+ Ke7 19. Re2 fxe5 20. Bf3 Bb6
21. Bxe4 Bxe4 22. Rxe4 Rhf8+ $19) 15... Nxe4 16. Bxe5 Nxf2 17. Rd4 $17 f6 $1
18. Bxf6 Rf8) 15. Bxe5 (15. Qf3 $142 $1 {I dismissed this move becasue
psychologically, I didn't want to place my queen on the bishop's diagonal. In
reality, this poses him problems, not me!} Qd7 16. Nd2 $1 Nxd2 17. Rxe5+ (17.
Qxb7 $1 O-O (17... Rd8 18. Rad1 O-O {Transposes into purple line.}) 18. Rad1
Rab8 (18... e4 19. Rxd2 $3 Qxd2 20. Qxe4 Rae8 21. Qg6+ $16 Kh8 22. Qxh6+ Kg8
23. Rf1) (18... Rad8 19. Re2 $1 Nxb3 20. Rxd7 Nc5 21. Qf3 Rxd7 22. h4 $16) 19.
Rxd2 Qxd2 20. Qe4 Qd6 $8 21. Bxe5 Rbe8 $8 22. Bxd6 (22. Qf5 Rxe5 23. Rxe5 Kh8
$14) 22... Rxe4 23. Rxe4 cxd6 24. Re7 $16) 17... Kf8 18. Qxb7 Nxb3 19. axb3 $14
) 15... Qxd1 (15... Bxf2+ 16. Kf1 Bxe1 17. Bxh8 Bf2 $17) 16. Bxd1 (16. Rxd1
Nxf2 17. Rd4 f6 18. Bxf6 Rf8 $17) 16... O-O (16... Bxf2+ $142 $5 17. Kf1 f6 18.
Bh5+ Ke7 $19) 17. Bd4 $15 Bxd4 18. cxd4 Rad8 19. Bf3 Rxd4 20. Nc3 f5 21. Rad1
Rfd8 22. Rxd4 Rxd4 23. Rd1 (23. b3 c5 $17) 23... Rxd1+ $19 24. Bxd1 Nxc3 25.
bxc3 Kf7 26. f3 Bd5 27. a3 Ke7 28. Kf2 Kd6 29. g3 Kc5 30. Be2 Bc4 31. Bd1 a5 (
31... f4 32. Bc2 $19) 32. Ke3 Kd6 33. Bc2 Be6 34. Bd3 Bd7 35. Bc2 c5 36. Kd3 (
36. f4 g4 $19) 36... Be6 (36... f4 37. Kd2 $19) 37. Bd1 (37. f4 $142 $19) 37...
b4 38. axb4 cxb4 39. cxb4 axb4 40. Kd4 (40. f4 Kc5 41. fxg5 hxg5 42. h4 $19)
40... b3 41. Kc3 Kc5 (41... Ke5 $142 $19) 42. f4 $17 gxf4 43. gxf4 Bc4 44. Bxb3
$2 (44. Bf3 $142 $17) 44... Bxb3 $19 45. Kxb3 Kd4 46. Kc2 Ke4 (46... Ke3 47.
Kd1 Kf2 48. Kd2 $19) 47. Kd2 Kxf4 (47... Kf3 48. Ke1 Kg2 49. h4 $19) 48. Ke2
Kg4 (48... Ke4 $142 49. Kf2 h5 50. Ke2 $19) 49. Kf2 (49. Ke3 h5 50. Kf2 $19)
49... h5 50. Kg2 Kf4 51. Kf2 Ke4 52. Ke2 f4 (52... h4 $142 53. Kf2 Kd3 $19) 53.
Kf2 f3 54. Kf1 Ke3 55. Ke1 Kf4 56. Kf2 h4 57. h3 (57. Ke1 $19) 57... Ke4 58.
Kf1 Kf5 59. Ke1 Ke4 (59... Ke5 $142 $1 {Triangulation wins as white cannot
match the triangulation due to lack of space.} 60. Kd1 (60. Kf1 Ke4 61. Kf2 (
61. Ke1 Ke3) 61... Kf4) 60... Kf4 61. Kc2 $19) 60. Kf1 Ke3 (60... Ke5 $142 61.
Ke1 Kf5 $19) 61. Ke1 f2+ 62. Kf1 Kf3 1/2-1/2

[Event "'Get me a FIDE rating'"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.12.20"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Black "Daley, Eugene"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B78"]
[WhiteElo "113"]
[BlackElo "81"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "44"]

{B78: Sicilian Dragon: Yugoslav Attack, 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 0-0-0 Rc8} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3
d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7
10. O-O-O Rb8 11. h4 {last book move} h5 12. f4 (12. Nxc6 bxc6 13. Bxa7 Rb7 $14
) 12... Nxd4 $11 13. Bxd4 b5 14. Bxf6 Bxf6 15. Bb3 (15. Be2 Bg7 $11) 15... Bg4
$15 16. Rdf1 e6 17. g3 (17. Nd1 a5 18. a3 b4 $15) 17... Bg7 (17... a5 18. a3
$17) 18. f5 exf5 19. exf5 Bxf5 20. Rxf5 gxf5 21. Qf4 (21. Nd5 $5 $17) 21... Qf6
$19 22. Rf1 $4 (22. Qf3 $142 $19) 22... Bh6 0-1

[Event "Exeter Club Championship"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.11.20"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Regis, David"]
[Black "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B10"]
[WhiteElo "167"]
[BlackElo "113"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "65"]
[TimeControl "300"]

{512MB, Fritz10.ctg, ISHMAEL B10: Caro-Kann: 2 d3 and 2 c4} 1. c4 c6 2. e4 d5
3. exd5 cxd5 4. cxd5 Qxd5 5. Nc3 Qa5 {last book move} 6. Bc4 Nf6 7. d4 e6 8.
Nf3 Be7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Nc6 11. Ne5 (11. Be3 Rd8 $11) 11... Rd8 12. Nxc6
bxc6 13. Qd3 Bb7 14. Re5 Qxe5 (14... c5 $1 $17) 15. dxe5 $11 Rxd3 16. Bxd3 Ng4
17. Bf4 Rd8 18. Bc2 (18. Rd1 g5 19. Bg3 c5 $11) 18... g5 (18... Bc5 19. Ne4 Bd4
20. Rd1 c5 21. Rd2 $15) 19. Bg3 Rd2 20. Rc1 Bc5 $4 {Will f2 fall?} (20... c5
$142 $11) 21. Ne4 $18 {Nope!} Bxf2+ (21... Rxc2 22. Rxc2 Bb6 23. Nxg5 $18) 22.
Bxf2 Re2 23. Kf1 (23. Bd3 $142 Rxb2 24. Bd4 Rxa2 25. Nc5 $18) 23... Ba6 $11 24.
Kg1 Kg7 $4 (24... Bb7 25. Bc5 Nxe5 $18) 25. Bd4 (25. Bxa7 $142 Nxe5 26. Bd4 f6
$18) 25... Rxc2 (25... Ne3 26. Bxe3 Rxe3 $18) 26. Rxc2 Bd3 27. Nf6 (27. Rxc6
$142 Bxe4 28. Ra6 Kg6 $18) 27... Bxc2 28. Nxg4 a6 (28... Bb1 29. a4 Bc2 30. a5
$18) 29. Kf2 Bb1 30. a3 Kg6 31. Ke3 h5 32. Nf6 h4 33. g3 1-0

[Event "Frome Congress Major"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2008.05.10"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Whitfield, Craig"]
[Black "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B32"]
[WhiteElo "141"]
[BlackElo "113"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "29"]
[TimeControl "40/600:40/600:40/600"]

{
512MB, Fritz10.ctg, ISHMAEL B32: Sicilian: Löwenthal and Kalashnikov Variations
} 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 a6 6. N5c3 Nf6 7. Bg5 {
last book move} Bb4 8. Bc4 Qa5 (8... h6 9. Bxf6 Qxf6 10. O-O $11) 9. O-O (9.
Bxf6 gxf6 10. O-O Qc5 $16) 9... O-O (9... Be7 $5 $14) 10. Bxf6 $16 gxf6 11. Nd5
f5 $4 (11... Qd8 $142 $16) 12. Qh5 $18 fxe4 (12... Qd8 13. exf5 Kh8 $18) 13.
Nf6+ Kg7 14. Qg5+ Kh8 15. Qh6 (15. Qh6 Qxa2 16. Qxh7#) (15. Ne8 Rxe8 16. Qf6+
Kg8 17. Bxf7+ Kf8 18. Bb3#) 1-0
[Event "'Get me a FIDE rating'"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2007.12.19"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Meaton, Arthur"]
[Black "Ramdewar, Ishan"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D02"]
[WhiteElo "1480"]
[BlackElo "113"]
[Annotator "Rybka 2.3.2a 32-bit  (180s)"]
[PlyCount "79"]

{D02: 1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 sidelines, including 2...Nf6 3 g3 and 2...Nf6 3 Bf4} 1. d4
Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 {last book move} 3. h3 c5 4. e3 e6 5. c3 Nc6 6. Nbd2 cxd4 7. exd4
Bd6 8. Bb5 O-O 9. Bxc6 (9. O-O Qc7 $11) 9... bxc6 $15 10. O-O c5 11. dxc5 Bxc5
12. Nb3 Bb6 (12... Bd6 13. Bg5 $15) 13. Ne5 (13. Bg5 h6 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 $11)
13... Ba6 (13... Ne4 14. Be3 $17) 14. Re1 $15 Ne4 15. Be3 Bc7 16. Nc6 $4 (16.
Nd3 $142 $15) 16... Qd6 $19 17. f4 Qxc6 18. Nd4 Qd7 19. Qg4 (19. Nf3 Rab8 20.
Qc2 Bd6 $19) 19... f5 20. Qf3 Rf6 21. g3 (21. Kh1 Rb8 22. b4 Rg6 $19) 21...
Raf8 (21... Rg6 $142 22. Bf2 e5 23. fxe5 Bxe5 24. Rxe4 fxe4 25. Qg2 $19) 22.
Kh2 e5 (22... g5 $142 23. Nb3 Rh6 24. Qg2 $19) 23. Ne2 (23. Nb3 exf4 24. gxf4
Qe7 $19) 23... Bxe2 (23... Rh6 $142 $5 24. Ng1 $19) 24. Rxe2 exf4 25. gxf4 g5
26. Rg1 (26. Rd1 Qb5 27. Rg2 Rg6 $19) 26... Rg6 (26... g4 $142 27. Kh1 Rg6 28.
Qg2 $19) 27. Reg2 (27. Rd1 Qe6 28. Bd4 gxf4 $19) 27... Qg7 (27... g4 $142 28.
Qf1 Rh6 29. Rg3 $19) 28. Kh1 gxf4 29. Rxg6 (29. Bxf4 Bb6 30. Rf1 d4 $19) 29...
hxg6 30. Bd4 (30. Bxf4 Bxf4 31. Qxf4 g5 $19) 30... Qh6 31. Bxa7 (31. Rg2 Bb6
$19) 31... Ra8 32. Bd4 Rxa2 33. b4 (33. Rb1 $19) 33... Ng3+ $4 (33... Kh7 $142
34. Rg2 Ng5 35. Rxg5 Qxg5 $19) 34. Rxg3 $15 Rh2+ {
The isolani on h3 becomes a target} (34... Kh7 35. Rg2 Ra3 36. b5 $15) 35. Kg1
$11 fxg3 36. Qxd5+ Kf8 37. Bc5+ Ke8 $4 (37... Kg7 $142 38. Bd4+ Kf8 39. Bc5+
Kg7 40. Bd4+ Kf8 $11) 38. Qe6+ Kd8 39. Be7+ Ke8 40. Bg5+ (40. Bg5+ Kf8 41.
Bxh6#) 1-0

Know Thyself!

  • Are you good in open/semi-open/closed positions?
  • Do you like tactics, or positional play more?
  • Do you have certain positions to avoid? (e.g. Closed positions with a lot of manoeuvring)
  • Do you have certain positions to aim for? (e.g. Isolated Queen's Pawn)
  • Consider doing a self-analysis. Look through as many of your games as possible, and root out the weak points and make note of what you do well.

Know Thy Opponent!

  • Ask the same questions of your opponent! Try to make life as uncomfortable as possible!
Of course, there are times when you don't know anything about your opponent. In this case:
  • Ask someone else who has played them for advice.
  • Consider their age! Usually young opponents are tactically on the ball, and are weaker in closed positions the endgame. Older opponents can be a bit slow tactically and tire more easily, so try all else being equal, go for a more unclear position! This tip will work for most opponents, not all: be careful!
  • Look at their choice of opening. If they are playing Caro-Kahn or the French, they're probably solid. Choose a variation that they probably won't like as much (e.g. Panov-Botvinnik in Caro-Kahn)
Ramdewar-Gillard 1-0
  • Ramdewar I. - Gillard L. [D42]
In this game, I was playing the in-form Lee Gillard who was ungraded but won the first 6 games of the season (this was his seventh), from the Met office. I played sensibly and got my opponent out of book very early (3. c4 was the extent of his knowledge). I improved my position and eventually my opponent cracked and blundered a piece. The endgame is a good example of taking the easy path to a win (see later).
  • If they play something really aggressive like the Grob (1.g4) or the King's Gambit, consider playing solidly, and giving back any gambited material in order to obtain an equal(ish) quiet position that they probably won't want.
Ramdewar-Daley 0-1
  • Ramdewar I. - Daley E. [B78]
In this game, I was playing an England junior with a bogus grade of 81. I knew him to play the Sicilian Dragon, and saw him play excellently in similar positions to what we had in the game. So what did I do? You guessed it! I gave him his ideal kind of position! He uncorked a novelty on move 10 and I was out of book (this must be the longest line I know!) and he out played me whilst still in book. I sacrificed the exchange and gave myself some chances (though he was objectively winning). I then relaxed and proceeded to blunder the game away in fine style!

Taking on 'Weaker' Opponents (Rabbits)

Meaton-Ramdewar 1-0
  • Meaton A. - Ramdewar I. [D02]
In this game, I was playing Arthur Meaton, a senior who I've seen play often, and had beaten in rapidplay. I outplayed him from the outset, then relaxed and didn't look for his threats (in fact, I had seen the threat much earlier and forgot, and played an instant move in a game which was Fischer timed and I was getting 30 sec/move added to my clock! The resulting postion was drawn by perpetual check, but I pig headedly tried to escape, and was duly punished!
  • Know thyself and thy opponent and play according to strengths/weaknesses as shown above. A weaker player by grade will often still have some pronounced strengths! Don't dismiss them (seeing them as a 'rabbit' can be dangerous!)
  • Everything else being equal, most stronger players will outplay a weaker player positionally, especially in the endgame.
  •   Consider playing a more quiet opening than you may be used to (1. c4, 1.g3, 1.d4, 1.b3 come to mind.) Often something like 1. b3 will knock a weaker player, at least psychologically. They may think you are very strong in this line, and unfamiliarity can make them that little bit more uncomfortable.
  • Don't set a trap and assume a weaker opponent will fall into it because they are 'weak'. Only set a trap if it improves your position by doing so. Assume your opponent will see your trap, and ask yourself whether it's still a good move! The one exception is completely lost positions.
  • Remember that all of our opponents have ideas. Always ask yourself what the threats are, what pitfalls you can fall into and take your time.
Foley-Ramdewar 0-1
  • Foley P. - Ramdewar I. [B32]
In this game, I kept it simple against Phil Foley, a slightly weaker player than myself who I didn't know much about. Even though I didn't play my best, the simpler nature of the position suited me more than it did him, and the win was eventually assured.

Taking on 'Stronger' Opponents (Heffalumps)

Regis-Ramdewar 1-0
  • Regis D. - Ramdewar I. [B10]
In this game, I was taking on Dave Regis, the current club champion, and a man graded more than 50 points above me, so I knew I had nothing to lose! I went in to try and produce an upset. I was marginally outplayed for the opening, but in another IQP position managed to outplay my mighty opponent for a short period and obtain a better middlegame with black. I was then offered an endgame and saw it as better for black (wrongly) and went for it, but didn't even consider keeping the middlegame! I blundered in an even endgame and that was that.
  • Believe you can win, and play for it!
  • Don't go for the draw from the off- make them beg you for it!
  • Know thyself and thy opponent (as usual)!
  • All else being equal, make the position strange and tactical. Most of the time, by definition, you will lose to a better opponent. However, a very tactical position greatly increases the chance they have to mess up!
  • Stronger players are likely to beat you in positional play, and often are stronger endgame players. Try and keep a complicated middlegame position.
  • Don't give up! Strong players make mistakes!
Ramdewar-Pope 1/2-1/2
  • Ramdewar I. - Pope S. [C78]
Sean Pope is known as a very solid (if occasionally boring) player. His style really is not suited to me, and I tend to struggle against Sean more than the stronger (at least by grade) Simon Waters or even Dave! In any case, I managed to keep setting my opponent problems in a very difficult endgame, and was simply enjoying watching him squirm! I was just trying to make his win as tough as possible. He avoided one draw pitfall, but missed the triangulation  (probably due to tiredness) he needed for the full point, and I walked away with a juicy half-point!

How to Play 'Winning' Positions

  • If the time comes when you are winning, or significantly better, don't take a draw unless that's all you need to win a tournament or match. This applies especially against strong opponents where we feel a draw is a 'good' result. Again: make them grovel for it- make them prove they can equalise and draw.
  • A 'winning' position is only winning if you play the best moves! Stay alert!
  • Remember that all of our opponents have ideas. Always ask yourself what the threats are, what pitfalls you can fall into and take your time.
  • Don't force things. The win will come to you if you keep playing the best moves!
  • Go for the simple win. If you need to give up material to extinguish counterplay, do it!
  • When ahead, trade down, simplify. 3vs1 is much better than 12vs10!
  • Be careful of traps! Even bad positions often contain hidden resources. Play hard and focus, even when it seems easy!

How to Play 'Drawn' Positions

  • Don't assume it's drawn! Often 'drawn' positions have alot of play in them! Look closely before deciding the position is drawn.
Ramdewar-Bartlett 1/2-1/2
  • Ramdewar I. - Bartlett S. [B33]
Having rejected a draw-offer against an opponent graded 30 grades above me on move 33 in a position with bishops of opposite colours, I felt obliged to offer a draw 7 moves later as I saw no way of making progress. In fact, the final position which looks drawish  due to bishops of opposite colours has a lot of life in it, and I could have gone for it!
  • Basically the most important thing to do in a drawn position is to look for ways for your opponent and/or yourself to go wrong, if you can avoid losing plans, the draw will be assured.
  • If your opponent makes a mistake, it's your job to prove their mistake costly.
  • Play slowly, and let small advantages accumulate. The only way to win a drawn position is for your opponent to make mistakes: several small ones or a couple of big ones!
  • Keep your eyes open, and perhaps you'll get that extra half-point. People get tired and lazy (remember Ramdewar-Pope?), the endgame is the place that strong players can really show what they're made of!

How to Play 'Lost' Positions

  • When you're losing, knuckle down! Don't lose an opportunity for a swindle!
  • Simon W is an excellent case of a good swindler. He plays very hard in lost positions, and his strength in the endgame skill wins him many points and half-points. But how?
  • At some point, the position gets so bad that it's no good to play the 'objective best move'. What you need is to set up ways for your opponent to go wrong.
  • Constantly solving problems is tiring. The more problems you can set, and the more difficult they are, the harder you make your opponent's job.
  • It may be that even though you're 'lost', your position contains a plus point, which if your opponent ignores could lead to a result other than he is expecting! Sometimes it's better to play aggressively with this than to passively defend and get ground down. An example of this could be a queenside pawn majority. Play for a break to stretch your opponent. Try to give them ways to go wrong.
  • Remember, the worst that can happen is that you lose. But even if you improve your score by ½ a point in a season, that's still a tangible improvement!

What to do When You Blunder

  • We all know that we should be avoiding blunders, but sometimes they happen. A nasty tactical fork can easily devastate your positionally principled move. If so, what to do?
  • When you make one mistake, it's very easy to be shaken. Usually, you missed your opponent's reply. Step one: stay clam!
  • Get up and have a 2-minute break. Get a drink.
  • It's usually worth spending some time completely re-evaluating the position. Be as objective as you can.
  • Sometimes you'll be losing after your blunder. If so, take the advice above on playing lost positions.
  • If you were winning, your 'winning' plan probably doesn't work anymore, so you'll need to make a new one. Be flexible. Don't continue as before, like me!

Whitfield-Ramdewar 1-0
  • Whitfield C. - Ramdewar I. [B32]

In this game, I played a dubious move (8...Qa5) and decided to make it stick no matter what, when objectively, it's probably best to bring the queen back to d8 to defend. I played pig-headedly throughout and was obliterated, and rightly so! Sometimes we have to accept we've done something silly, play the position properly, according to a good plan, not our old poor one and fight like a devil!

When Your Opponent Blunders

  • Check whether it's a real blunder. It may be a trap!
  • If you can't see a reason not to take advantage of the blunder, do it! Even strong players make mistakes, and if we don't pounce on them, we will get crushed!
  • Don't trust your opponent's analysis! Their sacrifice may well be unsound! Analyse for yourself. Even grandmasters make terrible moves from time to time!

Tying it all Together

  • Work out your strengths and weaknesses (i.e. know thyself). Play to your strengths, and try to root out your weaknesses away from the tournament board!
  • Make life difficult for your opponent. Fischer said “Chess is like war on the chessboard. The object is to crush your opponent's mind!”
  • Aim for positions which exploit your opponent's weaknesses.
  • When winning or playing a weaker opponent, keep focused. Simplify into an easy win instead of going for a brilliancy.
  • When losing, or playing a stronger opponent, complicate things!
  • Most 'drawn' positions still have ways to lose! Keep your eye on the ball!
  • If you make a mistake, re-focus and take extra time. Get up from the board for a minute, get a drink. Look at the position as if for the first time. In short start again.
  • If your opponent blunders, make sure it's a blunder then punish him!

Good luck!

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