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I was cat's meat tonight!
Just to thank you folks for your comments on the apastapawn game. Unfortunately I have just resigned another game to an Expert. I hoped to make a catfight out of it but unfortunately I ended up with a right mauling and became nothing but nice, tasty catfood to my opponent. I have publicly annotated this game with Heinzkat and any feedback will be much appreciated.
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Playing over your game I felt white was playing overly passive and without a plan. Maybe you had a plan I am not seeing. But, looking at the game it seems the plan should be to play e4 at some point. With this idea I would have played 5. Bg5 to put pressure on e4.(playing BxN) lessens blackes control of e4. When you played f3 I thought you may play e4 at some point but never did.
Thinking about how you played the rest of the game, I suspect you played f3 to avoid allowing black to get a knight in e4. However, you also need to be thinking about where are the best places to put your own pieces. White's dark square bishop seemed confused. I moved 3 times only to find itself passively placed behind a wall of its own pawns. You also should realize that moving your f pawn can often do more harm than good. It weakens the castled position....creating a diagonal leading to the king, which became evident later in the game when your rook got in trouble.
I think you need to invest some time in studying the middlegame. You seem to like to play very passive. Its possible to play passively but you need to learn it to do the right way. Study Nimzovitch's my system. He will teach you how to overprotect key squares. Then study Petrosian's games. Petrosian perfected nimzovitch's theory.
However, if you are playing passively(like many players) it is because you are not sure what else to do, then maybe a different book is in order. Soltis' "Pawn structure in Chess" shows the relationship of pawns and pieces in the different types of pawn structures. "Understanding pawn play in chess" is a similar topic by Marovic.
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What jstack said. It looks to me like you were playing to avoid losing, not playing to win. Especially as White, you want to be thinking about how to take control of the position and go on the attack.
Honestly, I think you might want to seek weaker opposition. One potential downside to playing much stronger players (and also strong computers) is that they are likely to find the flaw in anything you try. Playing passively seems to be "safer," in that you may last for more moves if you force them to come to you, but it just creates bad habits for the long run. Someone rated say 1800-1900 or so would still be almost certain to beat you, but being less completely overwhelmed should make it easier to understand what's going on.
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Having someone that can find (and most likely explain) flaws in anything you try is not necessarily a bad thing.
I did notice that passive play is an unfortunate weakness in the game, and I agree with jstack that Nimzovitch's "My System" will lead to a better understanding of how to create effective mid-game strategies. Practice is the key way to improve, though, and challenging yourself with more experienced opponents will certainly do you well.
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Playing experts is not a bad thing, unless that is all you are doing. You do need to play people nearer to you skill level, else it can be counter productive. Banging my head against the wall on occasion may knock some sense into me; but banging my head against the wall constantly will likely give me brain damage.
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You are not alone. I generally feel like I am cat's meat every time I play; hopefully my opponents' think I am serving steak. (I really have no idea as if my game is considered too passive, too agressive, weak or moderate (I'm pretty sure no one considers it real strong.)
I have recently limited myself to tournaments and team matches - so I am taking whatever is directed my way.
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I am not just playing Experts
Hi Lighttotheright (Ken), if you had a look at my past games/active games profile you will see that I am playing a wide mix of players. I am not just playing Experts. I am also playing players in the 1500-1800 bracket and am getting mixed results. To date the highest rated player I have beaten was 1587 and the highest rated player I drew against was 1687 so maybe the results are getting more encouraging. Some are from the Coaching Club, others are from the Sneaky Knights Club and some are buddies. I am trying to get out of this passive rut but it may take time.
Hope that helps.
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That's good Joanne. For now. If I were you, I would not play anybody above 1700 for a couple months. 1800 is still a little high for you.
Once you get a string of wins behind you, play another expert. Then maybe you might be ready to play that 1800 player, maybe not. It depends upon your progress at that time. Don't be afraid to play rated games. That rating helps you determine who you should be playing.