Last week we looked at part 1, highlighting the study plan of Nicolas Celedon Hernandez, aka coriollis. In this post, Nicolas explains his five-step method for creating takeaways. The inspiration for his method came from our game analysis post and Natalia Pogonina’s game analysis post. His method uses Chess.com premium features.
The rest of the post is from Nicolas. Please let him know on chess.com or in the comments below if you like his method (Nicolas’ Beginner Study Plan).
How I Analyze my Games
I will use my most recent game as an example of how to use some of this site’s features. The game was not very good, and I’m a bit embarrassed by it, but that should make it useful for study, right?
As a premium feature, as soon as a game ends a green button that says Game Report appears. When you click it a new window will open and the website’s engine will analyze the game for you. The green bar on the left will indicate this analysis’s progress, and you’ll be shown a screen like the following:
Maybe the colors and the position (or other small things) might be different, but the essential elements will be the same. In this section, we will do our work.
Step 1: Moments (first review)
- As soon as possible after the game, go to the Key Moments section, or the Moments tab (they’ll take you to the same screen). In that section, you’ll be shown
- Your last book move (the last popular move, or the last move after which you left opening theory)
- Your brilliant moves (no one gets those too often, don’t worry)
- Critical moments (moments in which you had only one good or important move and you made it, or moves where your opponent made a mistake and you took advantage of it)
- Inaccuracies (weak moves)
- Your mistakes
- Your blunders (your very bad mistakes)
- Retry your mistakes and blunders. Think a bit before moving, try to figure out why each move was bad, and find a better one. If you can’t find it after a couple of tries, or you can’t figure out why yours is bad, don’t worry and move on to the next one for now.
Step 2: Write down your thoughts
- Go to the Analysis tab. You’ll see your game written down, and some moves will be colored depending on how bad they were (good moves don’t get special colors). Go through the game move by move, and look at how the computer gives each move a description (book, best, excellent, good, mistake, blunder). Putting special attention on your last book move, on your mistakes and blunders, and moments you remember being confused about what to do, right-click on important moves and click on Comment after, and write down what were you thinking when you made that move.
Step 3: Review your mistakes in depth
- Focus on your bad moves. Why were they bad? You might know already why some of them were mistakes from the moments review. For those, using the same method write down briefly why were they bad, and in the board input the way your opponent could’ve punished your mistake (if he didn’t in the game). A variation will appear next to the move in question, and you can add comments there too. If you’re not sure why a move is a mistake, check in some depth the moves the engine recommends, and try to find out why it is saying those are the top moves (you can enter your own ideas and see if the computer likes them or how does it refute them).
- Also, make sure you see how you could’ve punished your opponent’s mistakes and make variations and notes for those as well.
- When you’re done annotating, go through the game again, and try to remember the ideas in each annotated position.
- If you really can’t figure out why a move is good/bad, don’t worry. As you study, solve tactics, get more experience, etc., you’ll start to get why some moves you previously thought were good are in fact bad (or the other way around).
Step 4: Moments (second review)
- Review your key moments again. After studying your game carefully, you should be able to find better moves for each position more easily and understand the nature of your mistakes.
Step 5: Summarize Takeaways
- Write in simple sentences some good takeaways from the game, both from good things you did as well as things you have to work on.
And that’s about it! The longer the time controls, the more effort you should put into analyzing your games, but try to do it as often as possible.
Oh, and don’t forget to click on Save in the analysis tab when you’re done. You’ll want to take a look at your games later.
This is, of course, my best attempt. A titled player would probably cringe when reading my analysis (or watching my game, for that matter), but hey, gotta trust the process.
- Not the first time I allow knights to get too close in the opening or advanced pawns to get to the 7th rank and cause trouble.
- I allowed my emotions to convince me to play for tricks (even though it worked because I got lucky)
- For some reason, I stopped checking for enemy captures in move 7. I got distracted thinking about the knight advancing.
- I should end games as soon as possible when in a crushing position. It is not nice to toy with my opponent.
- Managed to swindle my opponent, though. That’s an important skill to have.