Last week was probably my best ever week of chess. But as Newton would agree what comes up must come down.
I defeated 3 players rated 2554, 2266 and 2112. In my last 5 games against 2000+ rated players in blitz, I’ve had 3 wins and 2 defeats. I felt that as a 1720 ranked rapid/1600 blitz player I was finally on the cusp of greatness in chess.
Recent results against players rated between 1500 and 1700 are often inconsistent. I will go from winning in 17 moves with 95% accuracy in one game to making multiple blunders in the middlegame.
Playing differently against lower rated players is a problem
I need to figure out how to replicate my mindset against the higher rated players, against lower rated opponents. Subconsciously I may play more positionally against higher rated players. Whereas I’ll find myself opting for basic attacks and threats against the lower rated players. Now that I think about it, adopting a more positional style could be handy for me. My chess.com statistics show me that my middlegame accuracy is severely lacking. It also shows that I’m worse at positioning the heavier pieces (rooks and queen).
Though my time management skills are improving, I often spend too much time thinking against lower rated opponents. I’m always looking for tactics, which means I capitalize on most of my opponent’s errors. There are 2 main issues with this.
The first is that too much time is used, which allows the lower rated opponents to gain a foothold on time.
The second is that I occasionally blunder by following through on an attack that does not work. Underestimating my opponent’s defensive capabilities leads to my downfall.
Some statistical analysis
My accuracy in the opening has been sound recently. I usually opt for the bishops opening or the scotch game as white, with the aggressive bishops opening leading to my highest win rate.
I’ve also discovered that playing as black against 1. e4 the Scandinavian defense is my best win rate, probably due to the simplicity. Against 1. d4 I’ve had success with the queens gambit decline transposing into the Slav defense or Semi Slav defense. This defensive approach against 1. d4 can lead to parking the bus as there aren’t many ways for black to break through. Time management is key in this scenario to make sure I don’t run my clock down due to lack of options.
What is the one main thing that needs to improve to become more consistent?
Time management in chess is the effective allocation of mental resources
Time management is so critical to my performance. Historically I’ve lost a lot of games on time. Time management isn’t just about moving faster, it’s about allocating energy and resources.
Effective time management also requires the scope of focus to subconsciously narrow. Paired with sound intuition, this allows you to analyze only what needs to be analyzed in a blitz game.
It’s a bit different in classical or longer format rapid games where every square, possibility and combination can be calculated. However, thinking systematically should greatly improve the efficiency of determining and calculating candidate moves.
A reduction of time wasting and being able to avoid tying to wish combinations into existence should greatly improve consistency.