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Saturday, 20 December 2014

The art of the blunder #1

We all know that feeling , that exciting feeling paired with an elevated heart rate , paired with the thought this move is winning!! Picking up the piece with bravado and putting it down on the board with a little more determination than you usually would've. This is one of the best feelings in the world , but sometimes it is followed by a sinking feeling , when you realise you missed a line.....

Everything is lost , you either play out the game or resign and go somewhere quite , with no ambitions of post game analysis. This is the blunder...

Whilst your emotions are in turmoil , the question remains... How did I miss that? I'm sure my position was better. Maybe I should just quit! However you pick yourself up , dust yourself off and go to get seated for the next round....

So what causes the blunder?

Well it is not an exact science , but here are a few things that I have found in my game.

1. One of the most obvious causes of blundering is time pressure , those few moments just before time control or a complicated position with limited time to analyse the position.

2.On the other hand on the odd ocassion , one party's time trouble , disturbs the other players playing rythm and causes the player with the time on the clock to blunder

3. Nutrition...I always found that I had to eat atleast an hour and a half before playing , hence I rarely play tournaments with more than three rounds on one day. I also don't eat any sugary treats , but other players do. Finding what works for you , is the best. As too high or too low blood sugar causes concentration to dwindle and hence blunders follow.

4. Fatigue , this can be the result of numerous factors , be it illness , lack of sleep or a long demanding game in a previous round. I remember being on 5/5 in an 11 round continental tournament , illness struck and I ended on 6.5/11 , I played well , but just didn't have the edge to concentrate when the games passed the 2.5 hour mark. Although fatigue can be caused by unforseen events , propper sleep can be achieved with planning. Fatigue also causes a lack of concentration or a lack of tenacity for finding the best lines , i.e. lazy calculation...

5. Lack of knowledge , some blunders happen , because you just didn't know any better at the time. In hindsight the mistake might look silly. For example , you might place you king on the wrong square in an endgame and go from winnign to losing , but you might not have known the theory of tiangulation or the opposition at that time. This happens more to novice players than amateurs or 2000+ players , but it might still happen from time to time. The fix for this is to go through theory and play through endgame and middle game books. No quick fix here , only time and effort will help.

6. Only looking at your own plan , many a time players are so blinded by their three move mate or tactic , that they miss their opponents obvious tactic which can be much faster or block the player from following through with their tactic.

I will follow this post up with another one later on. I really hope this helps , as these were the reasons most prevelant in my own game. Feel free to add comments as to what causes you too blunder

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