Analyzing your games is one of the main ways of improving in chess. During this procedure you will be able to pinpoint your typical mistakes, as well as weaknesses & strengths. Your games are your business card in the world of chess.

Each person has their own approach to game analysis. Nevertheless, there are some common traits. When communicating with other chess players, I often learn new interesting ideas. The article offers some of the methods for you to consider.

There are two types of analysis – preliminary and deep. The first type is performed right after the game has been played, before the next round. The second one takes place after the end of the tournament.

Preliminary analysis

After the game has been played, it is useful to discuss it with the opponent. Nowadays this tradition is becoming less popular for a number of reasons. One of the common arguments is “why should I care what the patzer thinks, if I can go home and have the engine show me the right options?”. This snobbish reasoning doesn’t make much sense, because we humans learn by exchanging ideas and comparing opinions. If you understand why your partner made a good/bad move, it will help you much more than if you just take a look at the line suggested by your engine. Also, computers don’t give practical advice (“here you had weak light squares, so I decided to trade bishops and fix your pawns on certain squares to attack them in the upcoming endgame”). An interpreter is required to explain the ideas behind computer’s moves. At the recent Grand Prix in London you might have seen the world’s leading players hold post-mortem discussions. Notably, men are more likely to analyze games together than women. Of course, it is important not to overdo. For example, if you are playing in a demanding tournament (many rounds, 2 games per day), you might need to save yourself some time and energy. Try to find the right balance.

Second round: preliminary analysis at home (hotel room). Optimally, you should have a chess engine and a coach/second/friend to discuss the game with. Sometimes you can skip the post-mortem with your opponent, but this second round is a must. Don’t get too carried away: at this stage your goal is to fix some critical mistakes (bad time management, forgotten opening lines, poor tactics vision, etc.) in order to avoid them in the following rounds. Important: you have to review ALL the games. Some people think that if they won quickly, then there is nothing to look at – everything was great. Or, another shortcoming, some people don’t want to review their losses, because it depresses them. A strong chess player should be merciless towards himself, but in a constructive way: don’t blame yourself, just try to perform better next time.

How does one analyze? There are many options. Some people write down their emotions and plans that they had in mind during the game. Others simply jot down the main lines they had been calculating. It depends on your working style and on the amount of time that you have at your disposal.  Also, you should assess your emotional state before and after the game. This will help you see the whole picture. As you all know, psychology plays a vital role in chess.

After a preliminary analysis you should leave the game alone and start preparing for the next round. Don’t waste your energy on things that don’t matter anymore: “could I have saved that endgame?”, “what if I played c5 instead of e5 on move 1?”, “is there a middlegame plan that could have helped me trick the opponent?”. Also, don’t get too upset about losses/missed wins. What’s done cannot be undone. You can’t change the past, but you can affect the future.

Deep analysis

When the tournament is over, you can start working on increasing your chess mastery by correcting the weak spots in your game. Again, there are numerous ways of doing it. For example, you can start by analyzing the game yourself and then check your ideas with the chess engine. If you are lazy or don’t have enough time, you can analyze with the chess engine right away (not recommended for sub-master level). Performing some sort of automatic analysis is a strict no-no (some chess engines have those seemingly appealing modes – “the computer will take 30 seconds to review each of your moves and offer recommendations”). Your brain will degrade if you rely too much on computer evaluations. Remember that a PC won’t be at your fingertips during the tournament, so you have to learn to make choices on your own, without the guidance of our electronic assistants. Also, like I have already mentioned, we have to enhance our experience and knowledge by understanding certain principles and game situations, while computers have a unique solution to each particular situation. We can’t afford to follow in their footsteps, because our calculative skills are much worse.

During deep analysis you should find new ideas, the right continuations, outright blunders and hidden inaccuracies. Also, like a doctor, you should come up with a diagnosis: how the game proceeded, why, what “medicines” you should self-prescribe. Of course, having a coach is also helpful, because not all of us have the required expertise and objectivity.

By comparing your preliminary and deep analysis you can arrive at the right conclusions on what was going on, what you did wrong and why. Reminder: apart from the moves, ponder your psychological and physical states. Sometimes there are trivial matters that greatly affect the playing strength: you were nervous after being late for the game and having to run from the hotel room to the tournament hall; you didn’t eat well enough; your opponent won three games against you before, so your brain mentally gave up in advance, etc.

Chess is a complicated game, so even a deep analysis can sometimes include mistakes. For example, you might remember how the readers of Garry Kasparov’s “My great predecessors” books used to send him their suggestions and improvements which were included in the later editions. However, while perfection knows no limits, studying your own games carefully is the key to becoming a better player.


Mar 01, 2017

Anna Muzychuk or Tan Zhongyi will be the new Women’s World Champion

In under a week 27-year-old Anna Muzychuk (she has a birthday on 28 February!) or 25-year-old Tan Zhongyi will be the new Women’s World Champion

Anna Muzychuk and Tan Zhongyi will play a 4-game match starting Monday to decide the new Women’s World Champion after an incredible three days of semifinal action. Alexandra Kosteniuk collapsed and lost in two games against Anna Muzychuk after letting a winning position slip in the first.

Harika Dronavalli put up stunning resistance in the other semifinal but it was Tan Zhongyi’s nerves that held best in the end as she came through in Armageddon for the second time in Tehran.

Tan Zhongyi, meanwhile, can keep the title in Chinese hands for the next couple of years, since the Champion is set to play a World Championship match against Chinese no. 2 Ju Wenjun early next year. Tan Zhongyi’s route to the final has been vastly longer, featuring no less than 28 games. Despite the accumulated fatigue that no doubt means, you suspect the longer the match goes on the better her chances will be.

It can’t be an accident she’s twice come through matches that went to Armageddon here and also won an earlier Chinese knockout tournament that went to Armageddon. This is one final you won’t want to miss! The four classical games start on Monday, and you can again watch all the action on chess24 from 12:30 CET.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24
Nov 09, 2022

FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships Dec. 26-30

The FIDE World Rapid & Blitz Championships will be held December 26-30, 2022 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The International Chess Federation confirmed the dates and the host city on Monday in a press release.

Traditionally, two of the most exciting events on the chess calendar are held in the last week of the year, and this year will be no different. Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, once again the world rapid and blitz championships will be held. This time, the host city is Kazakhstan’s largest metropolis, Almaty—10 years after the event was held in the capital, Astana.

The main sponsor of the event is Freedom Finance, an investment company that is a part of Freedom Holdings (Nevada, U.S.) which is engaged in investment banking, asset management, and capital markets services. The company owns the Kazakh bank Freedom Finance, the online store Freedom24, and the Kazakhstani broker Freedom Finance JSC among other assets.

FIDE’s Director General Emil Sutovsky confirmed to that the format of the two tournaments will remain unchanged. This means that the world rapid championship will be a Swiss system with 13 rounds for the open tournament and 11 rounds for the women’s tournament, played over three days. The world blitz will be a Swiss system as well with 21 rounds for the open tournament and 17 rounds for the women’s tournament on the last two days.

Last year, the events were held in Warsaw, Poland, where GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov won the rapid tournament and GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave won the world blitz. In the women’s sections, GM Alexandra Kosteniuk won the world rapid and IM Bibisara Assaubayeva the world blitz.

The world rapid and blitz championships have used this format since 2012. In the open sections, the rapid was won three times by Carlsen, in 2014, 2015, and 2019. The Norwegian GM won the world blitz four times, in 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019. GM Hikaru Nakamura, who recently won his first world title at the Fischer Random championship, hasn’t won gold yet in either the rapid or blitz but is always among the top favorites. So far, names of participants haven’t been announced yet.

Feb 25, 2017

Sharjah FIDE World Chess Grand Prix 2017: No Change at the Top

Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, the two leaders of the Grand Prix in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, drew their games in Round 6 on Friday, which was enough to keep them in the lead. But the group chasing them grew as Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia won.

There are now five players – Nepomniachtchi, Alexander Grischuk and Dmitry Jakovenko, who are also Russian, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, and Michael Adams of England – who each have 3.5 points and are half a point behind the leaders.

The Sharjah Grand Prix is the first in a series of four tournaments that will be held throughout the year. The other locations are Moscow, Geneva and Palma de Mallorca, Spain. The series includes 24 of the world’s best players, 18 in each tournament, who are competing for one of two slots in the Candidates tournament next year to select a challenger for the World Championship.

Each Grand Prix has a prize fund of 130,000 euros, with 20,000 for first place. The series is being organized by Agon, the company that holds the commercial rights to the World Championship cycle, under the auspices of the World Chess Federation, also known as FIDE, which is the game’s governing body.

Nepomniachtchi’s victory, his first of the tournament, was over Li Chao b of China. It was a short, brutal game. Nepomniachtchi had White and opened with 1. e4 and Li chose the Petroff Defense. The Petroff has a justified reputation for producing a lot of draws, but when something goes wrong, it can unravel quickly. The players followed known ideas until move 12, when Nepomniachtchi played a new move that seemed to help Li as it drove his queen to a square where she wanted to go. But Nepomniachtchi was clearly well prepared as he continued to move quickly and, three moves later, he sacrificed a bishop, ripping open Li’s kingside defense. Li, clearly caught off-guard, responded well at first, but he quickly went wrong. Nepomniachtchi’s attack proceeded fast and furious, not even slowed when Li managed to exchange queens. Facing mate, Li resigned after only 29 moves.

There was one other decisive game on the day: A victory by Richard Rapport of Hungary over Alexander Riazantsev of Russia. It was Rapport’s second win of the tournament and, coupled with two losses, brought him back to even score at three points. For Riazantsev, it was his second consecutive loss, coming one round after he lost in just 19 moves to Jakovenko. This time, he lasted 78 moves, most of it in a long endgame where he was always on the defensive. That is almost a worse way to lose – to have expended all that time and energy and still come up short.

Though it ended in a draw, there was a remarkable game on Friday between Nakamura and Grischuk. It was a wild game arising out of the Sicilian Defense in which neither king was able to castle and spent the entire game exposed and constantly on the run. At one point, Nakamura, who had White, had exchanged both his rooks for three pieces. Grischuk then sacrificed one of his rooks for one of Nakamura’s pieces, but Nakamura then sacrificed one of his pieces so that his king could find shelter. That proved to be a smart decision as he was able to begin to push his kingside pawns, supported by his remaining bishop, which had taken up a commanding post on e5. Grischuk was definitely in trouble, but Nakamura misplayed the position, giving up a pawn in the evidently mistaken belief that his other pawns could then move forward more easily. In the end, neither player could escape a possible perpetual check and the game was drawn.

See also:

  • Official website
  • All the games with computer analysis on chess24

Article source