An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

10 reasons to analyse your old chess games

I already made a few posts about the benefits of analysing your own games; one of the suggestions is that you’d analyse the game pretty soon after you played it. That way you can reflect on the thoughts you had during the game, and incorporate them into analysis. But there is also plenty of reasons to analyse your old games too! Here are a few:

  1. Even if you looked at that game in great detail 10 years ago, computer engines would have made significant progress, so you’ll spot a few new tactical details that you never realized you missed. Expect a few surprises!
  2. Similarly, you may have not had a proper database at the time at all, so you may have not analysed the opening part of it properly.
  3. Even if you did check the game against a database back then, that was a long time ago! You will see if any new games have been played in the opening since you played that game in 2002.
  4. Old games may be still very relevant to your opening repertoire. Moreover, you may have given up on a certain opening because of a tough loss. Was that loss really the result of an opening problem? Or is it worth resurrecting those old variations that you had spent weeks studying?
  5. You may notice some strategic plans that never occurred to you at the time when you played a game. You may have learned about them already after playing that game. Seeing how they could apply to familiar positions should re-enforce that learning experience.
  6. Looking at several of your older games at once – gives you a better perspective of the trends in your games. Are endgames really your strength? Or does every endgame you play contain 2-3 big mistakes?
  7. If you want to study bishop endgames, you may have not played any of them recently. Old games are then a great study/analysis material! You’ll notice that Mark Dvoretsky often uses his old games even in newer books, and likes to add details to his old findings.
  8. Some games you may have not analysed at all (e.g. you did not have time immediately after the tournament, and only looked at 2-3 games that seemed most interesting). But even simple games can have a lot of instructive details in them!
  9. Several years later, you’d be more objective in analysis, and look for improvements in parts of the game that you would have avoided looking at otherwise (e.g. it is not fun to look at an emotional loss)
  10. In addition to reviewing your moves in the actual game, you’ll have a chance to review your old analysis, which reveals your understanding of the chess!

Given how few tournament games I play right now, I used positions from my old games for a lot of my blog entries, here are a few examples:
Game from Canadian Chess Junior Championship 2002 – video
Three rook endgames, three choices, three blunders, three videos
Analytical mistakes – bishop against knight
Most Complicated Pawn Endgame I Ever Played
Bishop endgame (Wright-Jiganchine, 1999)

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