Many players neglect the importance of evaluating the position after every move in a match. Knowing where you stand should always affect how you decide to play the game. In previous articles I discussed aspects of positions and how to evaluate them. You should put that knowledge to use.
It is not good enough to know whether you are winning or losing, you need to know by how much as well. If your position is really in shambles, you need to take some risks to try to recover or land a quick mate. Being only slightly behind might force you to maneuver conservatively and wait for your opponent to make a mistake.
This week's featured game is one that I played online. I have included the lines and variations which I investigated in the postmortem. You will benefit from playing through this game and evaluating the position at every branch of the tree.
The move 9.d5 is far too premature. I wished to delay castling as long as possible, and this move is dangerous with my king still in the center. Better was 9.0-0 h6 10.Be3 b4 11.Nb1 c5 12.Nbd2 a5 when black is still better, but only slightly.
Thunder missed his chance to take over the game with 16...Qa5! The continuation would have been 17.0-0 Qxa2 when black is eyeing the b2 pawn, too.
I knew I was losing the position and would need to act fast when the middlegame came. My attack was coming together nicely and with the help of 24...Na4? I could have won with 30.Qg3! Black might respond 30...Qc8 31.Nxf5 Rxf5 32.Rxf5 Qxc2+ 33.Rg2 Qc3 34.Qh4 with the killer threat of Qxh7+ and Rh5#.
I had one final chance to salvage a victory with 38.Ne8+ Rg7 39.Rxg7+ Qxg7 40.fxg7 Rxe8 41.Rh8+ Kxg7 42.Rxe8 Kf7 43.Re4 when white stands a chance of winning.
Unfortunately, after 43...e1=Q+, I am dead lost.