In my last three posts here, I analyzed the first three tournament games of my life, as a new unrated player in 1980:
- I lost the first upon being attacked effectively in the middlegame.
- I won the second in a very uneven game in which both players simplified quickly and reaching an endgame which I won only because my opponent blundered into an obviously lost King and Pawn endgame.
- I drew the third after bumbling into an advantageous endgame but not knowing how to win, and allowing simplification to a draw.
My fourth game (my opponent was rated around USCF 1550) is interesting because for the first time in the tournament, I actually had a clear middlegame attacking plan in a blocked position, and correctly followed through on it, castling Queen side and attacking on my opponent’s vulnerable King side with an obvious Pawn break as well as activating my pieces toward that side of the board. For the first time in the tournament, really, I displayed an active search for an initiative in the middlegame.
Unfortunately, a few moves before forced mate, I apparently did not realize the strength of my position and mysteriously simplified repeatedly, into an endgame with a useless Pawn up, and a draw resulted. The irony is that my opponent allowed me at two points the opportunity to trade my Bishop for his Knight, in which case the Pawn-up King and Pawn endgame would have been an easy win for me. Apparently my knowledge of King and Pawn endgames was still very limited, illustrating yet again how important it is to master these basic endgames.
The classic pattern I see in these early games is that of unwarranted simplification in advantageous middlegames and endgames, probably a result of the early emphasis on “counting points” of material, and not realizing that an active piece is worth more than a passive piece.
The complete annotated game