Sunday, 8 April 2018

April 2018 Update: Defensive woes, I could be +8 and if my opponent gets any chances... I often implode!

When I played Hampstead a couple of months ago, I dropped a won game against a higher rated opponent. I have not had the chance to play another congress, but I decided to play some Rapid games online and take them extremely seriously.
Out of 6 rapid games, I won 3 (vs average rating 1700) and lost 3 vs average rating 1860 or so. Two of my lost games happened due to mishandling pressure by my opponent. As soon as my opponent gets any sort of serious counter play / pressure, i crumble - i seem to misjudge positions where my opponent is getting any sort of active play.
After taking that knight with my bishop, my opponent had the initiative and i slowly, failing to find good moves... lost the game.
A few moves earlier I could have won a second pawn and had a great position, but I didn't go for it even though I saw the line seemed good for me, I thought it'd be greedy and I should consolidate what I have, but dxc5 was the best move and I had two or three moves to take it!
Before analysing with a computer i annotated the games and caught all my mistakes... so i know... i know what the problems are, and despite practicising calculation... I go wrong!
I'm thinking of working through the following books (once I can get them on Chessable)
Grandmaster Prep Attack and Defense by QC.
Practical Chess Defense by QC.
Secrets of Chess Defence by Gambit.
If any one has any recommendations on a set of exercises that can teach me to withstand pressure I'd gladly take some tips and try to bring it to life at Chessable! :) I've dropped countless games from +1, +2, +3, and sometimes even more, simply because my opponent is getting play and under pressure , despite calculating some lines, i fail to go for the best defence!
I am aware of trading pieces, removing my opponents best piece, and other principles, but sometimes that's not possible and I guess I just don't have enough experience when my opponent applies such pressure. If the pieces could be traded, I'm good, but what if they can't!!
I need more defensive calculation, desperately. Am i missing any other books? Looking for some advice, and once they are on Chessable, I'll get to it.
My other plan is to solve more tactics, simple tactics, complex tactics, work on my calculation. Of course, all within Chessable. Currently I'm working through:
Oh, and here is that woeful game... yuck!

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