Hello everyone! Today we will discuss probably the most important topic in chess training, how to analyze your games. This makes the difference between strong players who never stop to improve and normal people at chess. Why? Because those people who can learn from their past mistakes, tend to avoid them in the future. Note that this may be applied to chess as well as to life.
By strictly observing Botvinnik’s rule regarding the trough analysis of one’s own games, with the years I have come to realize that this provides the foundation for the continuous development of chess mastery.Garry Kasparov
If you search for how to analyze your games on Google, you will find thousands of chess articles explaining many different ways to do it, which at the end will probably cause you a problem because you will have a lot of information but won’t really know how to apply all of them. My purpose here is not to overload your brain with that, I prefer to give you a guideline that you can use immediately after reading this post to analyze your games and consequently improve your chess.
1. Analyze your chess games with a coach (or at least with a friend).
Analyzing your games with a coach is the best that you can do if you really want to improve. A chess coach often notices mistakes that you didn’t even know you made. That’s because they have long experience in chess games and tournaments. Here in Academia de Ajedrez Tres Reyes we have a list of top chess coaches who might help you.
2. Use the chess engine ONLY after analyzing the lines that you calculated in the game.
The first thing you must to do after a chess game is to write all the lines and concepts you thought during the game, after this, you can use the chess engine to verify those lines and see if you overlook something important in the game. If you after a game open the chess engine immediately and check the lines that it suggests you without writing the lines you calculated, you will never know if you calculate well during the game.
3. Give a human understanding to the lines that the chess engine suggests to you.
This is the most important thing on the list. You have to understand what the chess engine gives you in somehow. If you don’t give a human understanding to the engine, you will never be able to correct your mistakes and will think in the same way in your next games. That is why most people analyze their games and still make the same mistakes.
4. Make the conclusions of the game.
You should write at least 3 conclusions of the game, write about what you did wrong, how you might have avoided it, what you must have thought, etc. This will also help you to retain the information in your brain. The more critical you are writing, the better your understanding will be.
Here is an analyzed game that I played some time ago. This is what your analysis should look like:
Here are the conclusions that I learned from the game:
- In the opening, I should develop pieces. That’s why moves like
21…Bg4were better options.
- The first thing I have to do when it is my turn is to make a list of possible candidate moves and do not just calculate one. In that way, I would have found
- When I am defending a position, I should consider counter-attacking moves, they are a good option if they work. I should think about aggressive possible moves.
5. Train what you must!
If you have been making mistakes in the endgame, there’s no reason why you are studying openings. You can find your weaknesses by analyzing your games, that’s great, but you also have to train these weaknesses, otherwise, you will not improve at all. One way to realize if you are really training what you must is to analyze your future games, if you are making the same mistakes you are not training well obviously.
If you follow this guideline to analyze your games you will improve a lot, but if you even want to do it more, here are some additional tips that have helped me.
- Are you a chess player who spends too much time thinking? Write the time you think to make a move: You can have a goal, for example, not to think more than 5 minutes per movement. This will also help you figure out which stage of the game you spend the most time on.
- Analyze the opening: Analyze the opening you played and try to do it better in the next game.
- Analyze ALL your games: ALL the games are great to analyze, classical, rapid, blitz and even bullet games! You don’t have to pay the same attention to a classical game as a bullet game obviously. But in a bullet game you can analyze the opening you played and maybe you will use that analysis in a classical game in the future. That is why you can learn from ALL your games. Do not forget the games where you win, you also make mistakes in them.
That is all! There is much information about how to analyze your games but if you follow this guideline with the recommendations, nobody will stop your progress.