Sloppy Wins

It happens sometimes . . . You have a won position, your opponent doesn’t yet resign, and your concentration wanders. When it does, it can mean a lost game.

In the game below, I missed two immediate mates. (OK, I missed the same mate twice.)

I can’t blame my mental lapse on time trouble. It was a 30m + 5s game, and I still had plenty of time on my clock. It was my last game of the night. Not an excuse, just a factor.

I was “concentrating” on not outright blundering. Playing “not to lose” can lead to oversights. It can be a form of “tunnel vision.” That’s something we improving players need to guard against.

Playing “not to lose” is risky. Anytime you give your opponent a chance to stay in the game, you run the risk that a weak move or overlooked opportunity will completely reverse the game.

Playing inefficiently becomes more of an issue as you get older. As I near my mid-50’s, I better appreciate how much sustained mental and physical energy competitive chess requires. Over a tournament weekend, if you miss winning opportunities and have to work harder for your wins, you increase the likelihood that fatigue will cost you a half-point, maybe even a full point.

Glenn Mitchell


Author: Glenn Mitchell

I'm Mitch. I'm not a titled player. I'm not a coach. I just an intermediate chess player who's trying to improve at chess. I have a blog at with my thoughts, reviews, and links. You can also find me on Facebook under the same name, Improving Chess Player. Cheers!