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Old February 22nd 07, 11:25 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Default Blunders are killing me

My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to
brain-dead one move blunders. Traditional wisdom seems to be that
tactics training is the answer. Well, I've done quite a bit using
software like CT-Arts and the Chess Tactics Server. Perhaps it has
helped a little but it doesn't feel like it. How many thousands of
problems do I need to do before I stop making one move blunders?

Does anyone have suggestions? Doing many more computer tactics
problems is not really an option since I suffer from a repeative
strain injury. Perhaps buying a tactics problem book would help. I
wonder if the problem is something fundamental in my thinking
process. When I read chess books I really have a problem
visualizing the variations without using a board. Also, the idea of
me ever playing blindfold chess seems absurd. I just can't imagine
remembering positions well enough to play more than a few moves.

Attached are a few of my recent games. Thanks in advance for any
advice or encouragement.


[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.01.17"]
[Round ""]
[White "Me"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "1260"]
[BlackElo "1520"]
[ECO "B07d"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Be2 O-O 6.O-O c5 7.a3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 e5
9.Nf5 Nc6 10.b4 b6 11.Bb5 Bb7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bd7 15.Qd3
Bf6 16.Qe4 g6 17.Nxd6 Qc7 18.Nc4 Bf5 19.Qe2 Rac8 20.Ne3 Bxc2 21.Nxc2 Qxc2
22.Qxc2 Rxc2 23.Be3 Rd8 24.Rad1 Ra2 25.Bc1 a5 26.bxa5 bxa5 27.f3?
{I wanted to prevent e4 and keep the black bishop bad.}
27...a4 28.Rfe1 Rc8 29.d6 Rcc2 30.Be3?
{I don't remember my thinking too well but I guess I thought the f2
square needed to be controlled.}
30...Rxg2+ 31.Kf1 Rxh2 32.Rc1 Rh1+ 33.Bg1 Rh3 34.Re2 Rxa3 35.Rc8+ Kg7 36.
Rd2 Raxf3+ 37.Kg2 Rhg3+ 38.Kh2 Rh3+ 39.Kg2 Rfg3+ 40.Kf2 Bh4 41.d7 Rd3+ 42.
Ke2 Rxd2+ 43.Kxd2 Bg5+ 44.Kc2 Rg3 45.Bb6 Rg2+ 46.Kb1 Rg1+?? 47.Ka2??
{Horrible.}
47...Rd1 -+ *

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.10"]
[Round ""]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1526"]
[BlackElo "1294"]
[ECO "A00"]

1.e3 e5 2.d3 d5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Be2 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d4 e4 7.Nfd2 O-O 8.c3 Bg4
??
{I had decided that it would be good if I could trade off my bad
bishop for his good one. Somehow I completely missed the fact that my
bishop was twice attacked and only once defended.}
9.Bxg4 1-0

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.17"]
[Round "-"]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1675"]
[BlackElo "1307"]
[ECO "C22"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.e5 Ng4 6.Qe4 d5 7.exd6+ Be6 8.
dxc7
{I was referring to an opening book up to this point (a practice that
is allowed on the site I was playing on but something that I don't
always do). I was pretty sure I was better even though I was down
material.}
8...Qxc7 9.Be2 Nxf2?
{A poor move since black doesn't really get enough of an attack.
Still, I thought it would be more fun to play a wild game and lose
rather than get slowly crushed by a much stronger player. I was
hoping that he would get overly ambitious.}
10.Kxf2 Qb6+ 11.Ke1 O-O-O 12.b3 Bb4+ 13.Bd2 f5??
{I seriously considered playing Rd4 but in the end, decided that f5
was better. I analyzed lots of variations but somehow I never
saw Qxe6.}
14.Qxe6+ 1-0


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Old February 23rd 07, 02:30 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
Ron Ron is offline
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: May 2006
Posts: 475
Default Blunders are killing me

Before we talk about specific games, maybe what you need to think about
is your mental process. Sometimes it helps to me very methodical about a
conscious process with respect to what you're doing. EG, say to youself,
"Okay, what is he attacking here?" Make a mental list - and actually say
it to yourself. "Okay, his queen is attacking my bishop which is
protected by the pawn."

Then, after you decide on your move, look at every possible downside of
your move. "That diagonal to my king is now open." or "My bishop is no
longer protected."

You'll feel stupid being this methodical about things, but after a while
it'll become second nature, and intuitive.

Now, a few specific comments:


Attached are a few of my recent games. Thanks in advance for any
advice or encouragement.


[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.01.17"]
[Round ""]
[White "Me"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "1260"]
[BlackElo "1520"]
[ECO "B07d"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Be2 O-O 6.O-O c5 7.a3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 e5
9.Nf5 Nc6 10.b4 b6 11.Bb5 Bb7 12.Bxc6


Why? I guess I could say the same thing about your queenside expansion,
as well.

First of all, this bishop belongs on c4, where it controls d5. Secondly,
why swap it for a N which isn't doing anything. Thirdly, your queen
bishop belongs on g5 (again, helping to control the key square d5).

You need to have a plan. You're fairly impatient, here. Don't exchange
just for the sake of exchanging.

Bxc6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bd7 15.Qd3
Bf6 16.Qe4 g6 17.Nxd6 Qc7 18.Nc4 Bf5 19.Qe2 Rac8 20.Ne3 Bxc2 21.Nxc2


I'm not sure why you're exchanging here. You've lost the pawn. All
you're doing know is accellerating his rook's infiltration into your
position.

Qxc2
22.Qxc2 Rxc2 23.Be3 Rd8 24.Rad1 Ra2 25.Bc1 a5 26.bxa5 bxa5 27.f3?
{I wanted to prevent e4 and keep the black bishop bad.}
27...a4 28.Rfe1 Rc8 29.d6 Rcc2 30.Be3?
{I don't remember my thinking too well but I guess I thought the f2
square needed to be controlled.}
30...Rxg2+ 31.Kf1 Rxh2 32.Rc1 Rh1+ 33.Bg1 Rh3 34.Re2 Rxa3 35.Rc8+ Kg7 36.
Rd2 Raxf3+ 37.Kg2 Rhg3+ 38.Kh2 Rh3+ 39.Kg2 Rfg3+ 40.Kf2 Bh4 41.d7 Rd3+ 42.
Ke2 Rxd2+ 43.Kxd2 Bg5+ 44.Kc2 Rg3 45.Bb6 Rg2+ 46.Kb1 Rg1+?? 47.Ka2??
{Horrible.}


Eh. This sort of thing is easy to miss. Yes, you should have caught it.
Once again, slowing down will help you. I suspect you simply didn't even
look that hard, because you were focused on something else. But being
methodical, asking yourself what all your choices are ... that'll help
here.


47...Rd1 -+ *

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.10"]
[Round ""]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1526"]
[BlackElo "1294"]
[ECO "A00"]

1.e3 e5 2.d3 d5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Be2 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d4 e4 7.Nfd2 O-O 8.c3 Bg4
??
{I had decided that it would be good if I could trade off my bad
bishop for his good one. Somehow I completely missed the fact that my
bishop was twice attacked and only once defended.}
9.Bxg4 1-0


Just out of curiosity, how long did you spend on that move?

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.17"]
[Round "-"]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1675"]
[BlackElo "1307"]
[ECO "C22"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.e5 Ng4 6.Qe4 d5 7.exd6+ Be6 8.
dxc7
{I was referring to an opening book up to this point (a practice that
is allowed on the site I was playing on but something that I don't
always do). I was pretty sure I was better even though I was down
material.}
8...Qxc7 9.Be2 Nxf2?
{A poor move since black doesn't really get enough of an attack.
Still, I thought it would be more fun to play a wild game and lose
rather than get slowly crushed by a much stronger player. I was
hoping that he would get overly ambitious.}


In other words ... you were intimidated. Don't be intimidated. You have
a fantastic position here. And for crying out loud you're not playing
Gary Kasparov. He's a sub-1700 player.

Being aggressive is good. Being foolish is bad. Nf6, Bd6, and 0-0 give
you an excellent position with strong attacking chances against his
king. Castling queenside into a weakened position (thanks to your
missing c-pawn) ... not so exciting.

Instead of having a strong position where he's under lots of pressure,
by sacrificing unsoundly you put the pressure on you. And,
unsurprisingly, under pressure, you miss something simple.

Most blunders, in my opinion, happen when a player is under pressure.
Keep the pressure on him and let him blunder.

10.Kxf2 Qb6+ 11.Ke1 O-O-O 12.b3 Bb4+ 13.Bd2 f5??
{I seriously considered playing Rd4 but in the end, decided that f5
was better. I analyzed lots of variations but somehow I never
saw Qxe6.}


Being methodical about your thinking process like I described above will
help. But also notice how you put yourself in a desperate situation. You
have to attack all-out or you'll love.

Generally that's a bad idea. His king is stuck in the center, sure, but
yours is also vulnerable - and having an exposed king is the sort of
thing that makes you hang pieces.

14.Qxe6+ 1-0

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Old February 23rd 07, 03:32 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Feb 2007
Posts: 1
Default Blunders are killing me


"Neil" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to
brain-dead one move blunders. Traditional wisdom seems to be that
tactics training is the answer. Well, I've done quite a bit using
software like CT-Arts and the Chess Tactics Server. Perhaps it has
helped a little but it doesn't feel like it. How many thousands of
problems do I need to do before I stop making one move blunders?

Does anyone have suggestions? Doing many more computer tactics
problems is not really an option since I suffer from a repeative
strain injury. Perhaps buying a tactics problem book would help. I
wonder if the problem is something fundamental in my thinking
process. When I read chess books I really have a problem
visualizing the variations without using a board. Also, the idea of
me ever playing blindfold chess seems absurd. I just can't imagine
remembering positions well enough to play more than a few moves.

Attached are a few of my recent games. Thanks in advance for any
advice or encouragement.



Whatever the value of tactical training, I don't think it has much to do
with blundering.

Are you attentive throughout the entire game, or does you kind wander
when it's not your move?
Do you become over-confident when playing lower-rated opponents, or
despair easily against stronger players?

Make a mental note of undefended pieces, pins, or one-move attacks on
your king or queen. These often lead to tactics when combined (one
element isn't enough, but two can lead to something).

Also, if you find yourself in lousy, defensive positions, you'll blunder
more often. Sooner or later, the pressure will get to you. Turn the
pressure on your opponent.

-T


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Old February 23rd 07, 08:35 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Nov 2006
Posts: 38
Default Blunders are killing me

Neil wrote:
My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to



Neil,
You don't play 'real chess' - You play 'hope chess',
as Dan Heisman says in 'Novice Nook'.

Read Heisman's very good articles for us patzers!
Start here ('The Most Common OTB Mistakes'):
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman70.pdf

Manuel Wehrmann, Germany


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Old February 23rd 07, 10:22 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Nov 2006
Posts: 38
Default Blunders are killing me

Manuel Wehrmann wrote:
Neil wrote:
My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to



Neil,
You don't play 'real chess' - You play 'hope chess',
as Dan Heisman says in 'Novice Nook'.

Read Heisman's very good articles for us patzers!
Start here ('The Most Common OTB Mistakes'):



.... and then read Dan Heisman's

THE 10 BIGGEST ROADBLOCKS TO IMPROVEMENT
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman23.pdf

MW


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Old February 23rd 07, 10:27 AM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Nov 2006
Posts: 38
Default Blunders are killing me

Manuel Wehrmann wrote:
... and then read Dan Heisman's

THE 10 BIGGEST ROADBLOCKS TO IMPROVEMENT
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman23.pdf


If the link doesn't work go to
www.chesscafe.com
archives
The Novice Nook
The 10 biggest ...


MW
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Old February 23rd 07, 02:30 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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First recorded activity by ChessBanter: Oct 2006
Posts: 323
Default Blunders are killing me

On Feb 22, 6:25 pm, Neil wrote:
My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to
brain-dead one move blunders. Traditional wisdom seems to be that
tactics training is the answer. Well, I've done quite a bit using
software like CT-Arts and the Chess Tactics Server. Perhaps it has
helped a little but it doesn't feel like it. How many thousands of
problems do I need to do before I stop making one move blunders?

Does anyone have suggestions? Doing many more computer tactics
problems is not really an option since I suffer from a repeative
strain injury. Perhaps buying a tactics problem book would help. I
wonder if the problem is something fundamental in my thinking
process. When I read chess books I really have a problem
visualizing the variations without using a board. Also, the idea of
me ever playing blindfold chess seems absurd. I just can't imagine
remembering positions well enough to play more than a few moves.

Attached are a few of my recent games. Thanks in advance for any
advice or encouragement.

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.01.17"]
[Round ""]
[White "Me"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "*"]
[WhiteElo "1260"]
[BlackElo "1520"]
[ECO "B07d"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 Be7 5.Be2 O-O 6.O-O c5 7.a3 cxd4 8.Nxd4 e5
9.Nf5 Nc6 10.b4 b6 11.Bb5 Bb7 12.Bxc6 Bxc6 13.Nd5 Nxd5 14.exd5 Bd7 15.Qd3
Bf6 16.Qe4 g6 17.Nxd6 Qc7 18.Nc4 Bf5 19.Qe2 Rac8 20.Ne3 Bxc2 21.Nxc2 Qxc2
22.Qxc2 Rxc2 23.Be3 Rd8 24.Rad1 Ra2 25.Bc1 a5 26.bxa5 bxa5 27.f3?
{I wanted to prevent e4 and keep the black bishop bad.}
27...a4 28.Rfe1 Rc8 29.d6 Rcc2 30.Be3?
{I don't remember my thinking too well but I guess I thought the f2
square needed to be controlled.}
30...Rxg2+ 31.Kf1 Rxh2 32.Rc1 Rh1+ 33.Bg1 Rh3 34.Re2 Rxa3 35.Rc8+ Kg7 36.
Rd2 Raxf3+ 37.Kg2 Rhg3+ 38.Kh2 Rh3+ 39.Kg2 Rfg3+ 40.Kf2 Bh4 41.d7 Rd3+ 42.
Ke2 Rxd2+ 43.Kxd2 Bg5+ 44.Kc2 Rg3 45.Bb6 Rg2+ 46.Kb1 Rg1+?? 47.Ka2??
{Horrible.}
47...Rd1 -+ *

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.10"]
[Round ""]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1526"]
[BlackElo "1294"]
[ECO "A00"]

1.e3 e5 2.d3 d5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Be2 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d4 e4 7.Nfd2 O-O 8.c3 Bg4
??
{I had decided that it would be good if I could trade off my bad
bishop for his good one. Somehow I completely missed the fact that my
bishop was twice attacked and only once defended.}
9.Bxg4 1-0

[Event ""]
[Site ""]
[Date "2007.02.17"]
[Round "-"]
[White "White"]
[Black "Me"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "1675"]
[BlackElo "1307"]
[ECO "C22"]

1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 Nc6 4.Qe3 Nf6 5.e5 Ng4 6.Qe4 d5 7.exd6+ Be6 8.
dxc7
{I was referring to an opening book up to this point (a practice that
is allowed on the site I was playing on but something that I don't
always do). I was pretty sure I was better even though I was down
material.}
8...Qxc7 9.Be2 Nxf2?
{A poor move since black doesn't really get enough of an attack.
Still, I thought it would be more fun to play a wild game and lose
rather than get slowly crushed by a much stronger player. I was
hoping that he would get overly ambitious.}
10.Kxf2 Qb6+ 11.Ke1 O-O-O 12.b3 Bb4+ 13.Bd2 f5??
{I seriously considered playing Rd4 but in the end, decided that f5
was better. I analyzed lots of variations but somehow I never
saw Qxe6.}
14.Qxe6+ 1-0


Hi Neil,

All good suggestions so far from the troops here.

Are you 'playing chess' or just going through the motions online while
you are watching TV or listening to Music or doing 'other' work?
Unless you are a good player (good being Cat A or better), it is
difficult to multi-task like that, and you should not.

A book that I find useful is "How to choose a chess move" by Soltis,
but your problem may be a conceptual one. Have you read Silmans'
Reassess Your Chess? Start with all the freebie online stuff; then
when you find out most of it is garbage (you will) move on to Silman's
books.

And - yes - to get good at tactics, you need to practice thousands and
thousands of positions. Tactics is all about pattern recognition and
you need to see those patterns repeateadly to ingrain them in your
chess mind. There are more tactics puzzles books out there than
nervous sheep in Scotland so you should have no problem finding them.
Peruse eBay and get them on the cheap. At your level, ANY book will
help, but one that I think will help you immensly is Seriawan's
Winning Tactics book. It outlines the basic tactics in chess and gives
you a good thought process on how to recognize them during your games.
It's written for you!

Good Luck, keep playing, and don't get discouraged.

Regards,
Mark

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Old February 23rd 07, 04:58 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Posts: 2,598
Default Blunders are killing me

Neil wrote:
My high blunder rate is really depressing me. I have a hard time
getting motivated to play games when I usually end up losing due to
brain-dead one move blunders. Traditional wisdom seems to be that
tactics training is the answer.


Tactics training is trying to run before you can walk. At the moment,
your main problems, as you say, are the brain-dead one-movers: you
hang pieces and don't notice when your opponent has hung pieces.

The cause of hanging your own pieces is carelessness; I'd wager that
the cause of the second is the assumption `My opponent's move must be
good or he wouldn't have played it.' All I can suggest is that you
take more time over your moves. Always ask yourself if your
opponent's move was safe or if he's just hung a piece. Always ask
yourself if the move you're considering hangs a piece. In time this
will become natural and won't need to be done explicitly.

Perhaps a good way to practice this would be to get a book of tactical
problems and, first, for every one, ask yourself which moves hang
pieces (both in the sense of moving a piece onto an under-protected
square or moving a piece to leave another piece under-protected).
That's just an idea that came into my head so I can't guarantee it'll
work! But it does have the advantage that, once you've sorted out
your piece safety problems, you can use the book for its intended
purpose.

I'm guessing that, since you mention being allowed to use opening
books, you're playing on a correspondence site. Here, time control
shouldn't be too much of an issue: you should always have at least
five or ten minutes to consider every move. If you don't have that
much time, you're playing too many games for your current ability. If
you're playing real-time games, try to play at longer time controls to
give yourself more time to think.


Your description of your frustration suggests that you care quite a
lot about the results of your games. But some of the blunders you
make suggest that you don't care all that much about the individual
moves. Is it because you're playing chess while you're tired or
distracted? I went through a period of playing blitz on the internet
when I was too bored and tired to be bothered doing anything else and
-- guess what? -- my rating plummeted. If you care about your chess,
you should only play when you're feeling mentally sharp.


When I read chess books I really have a problem visualizing the
variations without using a board. Also, the idea of me ever playing
blindfold chess seems absurd. I just can't imagine remembering
positions well enough to play more than a few moves.


Again, this is trying to run before you can walk. Visualizing
variations requires you to hold the position in your head for a few
moves; playing blindfold chess requires you to hold the position in
your head for a whole game. Your problem at the moment is that,
sometimes, you aren't even managing to hold the position in your head
for one move.


You're bright enough to be quite self-analytical about this and ask
the right kinds of questions. There's no reason you can't fix your
blunders by applying yourself to the games while you're playing them
and practising a bit, too. Of course, you'll never manage to
eliminate them totally -- nobody does -- but you should be able to
dramatically reduce the rate of blunders. Then you can start applying
yourself to the other weaknesses you've noticed in your chess, all the
while gradually improving.

I hope some of that was helpful.


Dave.

--
David Richerby Laptop Book (TM): it's like a romantic
www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~davidr/ novel that you can put on your lap!
  #9   Report Post  
Old February 23rd 07, 05:12 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Posts: 7
Default Blunders are killing me

I find that if I'm playing someone rated below me, I put extra
pressure on myself because I 'should' win.
If I'm playing someone rated above me, I'm mentally digging in for the
draw.

I saw a little bit of that in some of your writing.

These days, I don't ask my opponent their grade before playing. Its
working much better for me.
Its important to play in a way thats comfortable for you and don't
allow external factors to push you into positions you aren't happy
with.

Phil.




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Old February 24th 07, 04:34 PM posted to rec.games.chess.analysis
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Default Blunders are killing me

Ron wrote:
1.e3 e5 2.d3 d5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Be2 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.d4 e4 7.Nfd2 O-O 8.c3 Bg4
??
{I had decided that it would be good if I could trade off my bad
bishop for his good one. Somehow I completely missed the fact that my
bishop was twice attacked and only once defended.}
9.Bxg4 1-0


Just out of curiosity, how long did you spend on that move?


Probably a minute or two looking for constructive moves. After I
didn't find anything else, I spent only a few seconds analyzing the
results of Bxg4.

Thank you for your comments.

Neil
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