Why should we analyze our games?

Remember the last time you tried to cook something and ended up screwing it?

How did you figure out what went wrong? It was easy for me to find this out the last time I made such a mistake, even my neighbor knew it and my pet cat. Good that no one called the Fire department.

You don’t need any contemplative thinking to figure out the obvious, but many times, what happens in our games remain a mystery and stays hidden forever.

Take this position for example:

The white player, imagining that his position is helpless, resigned here.
What would you have done? Think about it. There are great counter-attacks and interesting complications to be found. (Why don’t you post your findings in the comment section and we can discuss it?)

I find that all chess games have some stories to tell. But are we trying to listen to them?

Well,., if you want to dig a hole, you’ll need a shovel. Similarly, analysis is a tool, just like how a shovel helps you dig a hole in the ground, the process of analysis can help you dig deeper into your games and find out the story there is to be found.

What am I trying to say? Am I suggesting we all hit that shiny “Analyze” button after every game?

No, not so soon! And there’s a reason why I’m saying this. You’ll also come to the same conclusion as you continue reading this blog.

The by-products of analysis:

Well, it’s obvious what the first benefit is – You get to learn about your mistakes; What I call “Self-awareness” about your decision-making process. This is something only analysis can teach you.

If you’re going to dig a hole in the ground, you not only get a hole in the ground, but also a truckload of sand, dust, and whatnot, then you get water out of nowhere, some lucky peeps get random treasures. But we didn’t start digging for those, we only wanted a hole to start the construction of our house, right?

Similarly, The second interesting “by-product” of analysis is the development of your capacity for logical, structural thinking, or I could simply say “Your calculation skills”

Here’s an example:

White to play. Is there a win?
It was a tournament game and my opponent (white player here) was a ten-year-old kid with a ponytail. I think if my opponent knew how to analyze her game, she would have bragged about “Missing a win” against a 2100 player, and I’d have become more famous by now.
My opponent played a3 and missed the opportunity. You’ll find the full game below. Try this out as a simple analysis training task and see if you can find the two turning points – 1. The initial position, where there’s another move which could have changed the fate of the game. 2. Missed draws by my opponent.  (I’ll wait till you find the answers. You can always post in the comment section below )

Now, how was the experience? Did it feel like unearthing a treasure?
Tell me, who plays your tournament games, is it you or your computer? I’m sure most of us will answer “Me, of course, what does this guy want?”. The problem is when we run computer analysis to find mistakes, we miss these amazing “treasure hunting” opportunities, the feeling of discovering something new by researching deep into your own games. And we also miss out on the learning that this process has to offer if we hit the shiny “Analyze” button.
It’s not to say that computer analysis is useless, but we need to learn to use it as a tool to help us and amplify our learning efforts. What I would suggest is to use computer analysis after performing your own analysis of your games. That way, you will also understand the level of accuracy your calculation has.

Happy analyzing your games! We hope you found this blog useful. Do share it with your friends if you like it.
At Forward Chess, we are committed to providing the best learning experience through our interactive e-books from the best chess publishers out there. There’s a little trick on our website which I don’t think many know. You can see all the books from our library sorted by the most sold over the years. This helps you narrow down your next fantastic tool to sharpen your calculation! Happy hunting.
Instructions in the screenshot below, or I copied the link to that page, which you can find by clicking on this icon.

Arun J

Content & Marketing @Forward Chess