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How Chess Helps Quicken Decision Making!

by Elan

Introduction:

Many days, I am short on time and therefore, like to play chess games that are short on time for each side, about 5 minutes. My opinion is 5 minute chess games are actually more beneficial than I realized when I have to learn to make decisions very quickly. In fact, I sometimes have to make decisions that are split second in nature in order to avoid outcomes such as potential car accidents and slip/falls. So how does chess help quicken decision making?

The Nature of a 5 Minute Chess Game:

In a 5 minute chess game, you simply cannot take a long time to make a move because otherwise, you would get into time pressure which could result in you losing the game on time, even when you are winning against your opponent! In order to be successful in a 5 minute timed chess game, you need to anticipate what might happen several moves deep in 20-30 seconds. This takes a lot of skill and to be honest, took me years to master.I still lose many chess games timed at 5 minutes because I took too long to think about 1 move. Here is an example of a chess game where the opponents are playing 5 minutes each side and the opponents only have 5 seconds to make a move: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrcVNBf_4qY

The Link Between the 5 Minute Chess Game and Stronger Decision Making Skills Under Pressure:

I have found through personal experience, that the more I am in situations similar to the video I shared, the better I am able to come up with a decision and not be stuck in analysis-paralysis. I remember once I got into a near fender bender and I had seconds to make a decision to avoid an accident. Thankfully I was able to avoid an accident but I attribute this to me playing 5 minute chess games on a regular basis as many times, I would only have seconds to think before a critical point hit me. I would have been in a car accident if I didn't train myself to think so quickly. I came across an article from vanseodesign that summarized this point very well "Whatever your situation when faced with a decision, choose the path that improves your situation. Your choice doesn’t have to solve your problem or take you to the promised land. Just improve your position and you’ll find yourself a little closer to where you ultimately want to be". This is similar to playing in a 5 minute game because sometimes, when you need to make a decision, it doesn't have to be the perfect decision. Just one that makes things better at the current moment with the ability to correct course much later.

Conclusion:

The game of chess is the perfect tool to perfect the art of quick decision making. When you have only seconds or minutes to react and perfect this well on the chess board, this will carry over very well to the tough decisions that need to be made in life where you just don't have that much time to think about the situation. Being able to think quickly will also help stop analysis-paralysis as analysis-paralysis hampers your self confidence and your belief that you can trust your gut in difficult situations. Go ahead and leave a comment below on how chess helped (or can help) you make better decisions when time wasn't on your side!  

Barnes Opening-Your Opponent Will Go Crazy!

by Elan
Introduction: As part of my quest to find games online in the chessgames.com opening explorer that use unconventional chess openings, I have noticed that some openings have a very limited amount of games to analyze. That is a shame because any opening you can think of, you can win with it if you try to understand all of the ins and outs surrounding it. I found a game that I found really inspiring using the Barnes Opening. The opening explorer however, classifies the opening as the "Lion Defense: Lions Jaw" which is an offshoot of the Pirc defense which is very commonly played although one that I avoid.

Opening: The Knights Going Blind For No Reason

White gets off to an excellent start due to making it a clear priority for piece development. It is clear that white has a great center cemented by a very supportive dark squared bishop with 4. Be3 For the next few moves, up until move 10, I would like you to leave a comment as to how black should proceed to finish his development given how the knight on d7 now moved twice and accomplished nothing. Black makes a very bad move with 10. Nh5? Why wouldn't he just castle and then take the steps to equalize with c6? This is the first of missteps by black that will make his life very difficult. After white finishes his development with 11. Nge2, black again makes some pointless move with 11. h6? instead of castling . I like how white pushes for a pawn storm on the kingside with 13. h4 as black cannot break through on the queenside due to white's tremendous spatial advantage.

Middle Game: Closing the Position By Black Ended Up Opening It!

From the look of it, black seems to have a solid fortress around the light squares near his king. White made a really good move with 17. f4! which removes the obstacle to white opening up the f-file while challenging the dark squared bishop. However, 18. Bd4 proves that black's kingside is very vulnerable Black would not take the bishop because white's queen would be way too strong. After black play's 20. Rb8, he must have forgotten that white can crack black's (supposedly) strong pawn chain fortress with 21. Bxh5! which opens up the g, h in addition to the f-files giving white's rooks massive firepower! The next few moves are a classic case of black thinking too short term at the expense of long term fundamentals. Thanks to black's knight(s) being an endless hopper, white can take full advantage of black's non existent kingside defenses with 23. Nf6+! thereby making full use of the h-file in storming black's king. I consider black's next several moves to be hail Mary moves but black's 27. Ne7 comes too late after white play's 29. Qf6+! further weakening black's king. White continues to excel with 33. Nh5! which threatens mate and forces black's only move to stop that mate with 33. Qh8 White does a discovered check winning black's queen but why he retreated with 36. Rdd1  I do not know and would love for you to comment below on why white made that move.

Endgame: Open Files are Food for Rooks!

The rooks prove too deadly for black. I make the case for how chess helps you overcome adversity but sometimes, we just need to learn when to give up and do something else. Black should have just given up after white played 43. Rdf1 as apart from being down material, the king cannot play any role as the rooks cut off the king due to the open files. White further goes up material after 45. axb5  as black cannot take due to white winning another pawn with Rxc7+!. Due to black's knight further entangling itself, black cannot move his knight after 53. Rg8 due to white having Rg7 checkmate! Isn't that crazy? So after black makes a mindless rook move, white just gobbles the knight with 54. Rbxe8 leading to black's resignation.

Lessons Learned:

It was clear from the beginning that black did not view the concept of fluidity as an important part of the game. The perfect example of this was black playing 3. Nbd7 as opposed to say 3. Na6 or 3. Nc6 (d5 is not a threat by white since black can just play Ne5 and the knight is safe). Since black was cramping his own position, white took full opportunity to create a lasting spatial advantage beginning with 6. d5! which continued until the end of the game. Secondly, one should (in general) not move the same piece twice in the opening. Pawns can become fortresses as part of a chain but only when there is support from other pieces. This is because the pawn structure wasn't really so strong after white played 21. Bxh5. When you play your games, make sure that your development isn't inhibited by moves that look good but in fact will cause problems from a support perspective. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer! Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

Chess Tournaments: Should You Participate?

by Elan

What is a chess tournament?

A chess tournament is one where you play against other chess players based on something called a rating. The more games you win, the higher your rating becomes. The governing body for chess tournaments in the US is the US Chess Federation. There are a lot of principles relating to the psychology behind the operations of chess tournament that are rather numerous but will keep it brief:

The Prize!

In a strictly general sense, a tournament according to thefreedictionary.com is "A series of contests in which a number of contestants compete and the one that prevails through the final round or that finishes with the best record is declared the winner". Most chess tournaments now these days give cash prizes. An example would be at the 2018 US Open, the 1st place winner in the Class B section (as my rating online is 1780) would get a cash prize of $2,500. When I played chess tournaments many years ago, I would get a very nice trophy. Trophies are very common when chess tournaments are designed for elementary school-high school students and once you get into tournaments for adults, will cash be prevalent

The Big Question; Should You Participate?

Ultimately, it is a matter of personal preference. What do you want to gain out of playing in a chess tournament? If you are in it for the money, it is probably not a good idea as the prize money would barely cover your travel costs. Unless you were to compete in the highest levels of play where as a grand master(rating 2700 and above), you would get millions of dollars in prize money. I suppose getting several hundred dollars in prize money is alluring but from a time based perspective, it isn't worth my time. If you want to play in chess tournaments in order to strengthen your play as a chess enthusiast, then it would definitely be worth it to participate. Playing against many different chess players of varying strengths proves that chess is art when the types of positions reached from a simple starting position becomes limitless.   I hope you found this post to be inspiring, educational, and motivating and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

Analog Versus Digital Chess Clocks. Which to Get?

by Elan

Introduction: What is a Chess Clock and What is its Purpose?

A chess clock is a tool designed to control how much time can be allocated to a game. This is because some games can get so complicated that players can take hours to figure out what move to make. Who wants to wait endlessly trying to get their opponent to move? The chess clock acts as a boundary.

Should you Get Analog Or Digital?

    Whether to get an analog chess clock or a digital chess clock is ultimately a matter of personal preference. A digital chess clock will be easier on the eyes as it will be clear how many minutes and seconds you have left. However, it can be harder to program as there can be so many program settings to go through. An analog chess clock is, from my experience, much easier to program as all you need to do is spin the winding mechanism to the desired time control. For example, If you were to have the minutes and seconds hand set at the 3 o'clock position, then you would have one hour for the whole game. If the clock looked like the time was set at 3:50, then you would have only 10 minutes. Analog chess clocks are also cheaper since there aren't as many moving parts or electronic mechanisms.

My Recommendations:

If I had to choose between an analog chess clock and a digital chess clock, I would give the slight edge to a digital chess clock. Apart from a digital chess clock being more precise with timing, it is very flexible to program in terms of time delay and is rather pretty to look at, especially the digital chess clocks made of wood. My favorite digital chess clock is the Chronos GX Digital Game Clock Touch Version and for analog chess clocks, I really like the Diamond Quartz. When I played in tournaments and in club settings, the Chronos clock was really easy to use and the touch sensor made it so that you didn't have to slam your hands or your pieces when pushing your side to signal the opponent's turn. Both are super easy to transport due to their small size, durability, and reliability.   I hope you found this post to be inspiring, educational, and motivating and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

The Gorgeous Beauty of the Two Bishops!

by Elan
Introduction: I have seen many games showcasing the power of the two bishops working so beautifully. In terms of grand master play, the finest example I can think of is Fischer v. Larsen at the 1971 Candidates Semifinal match. I haven't played too many games with using the two bishops but in this game, this is my finest example. With none other than my favorite unconventional chess opening; the Polish! The magnificence of the two bishops is so evident in this game that I will allow you to let the position speak for itself in terms of sheer gorgeous beauty and brilliance!

Opening: The Case of an Overlooked Pawn Sacrifice

It is interesting to see how black declines my bait offer after my develop my knight to the side with 3. Nh3. I have developed a strategy where if black takes the knight on the h3 or a3 squares, to use the accompanying open file(s) for my rooks making the development of black's bishop more difficult. Black's move 8. h6 is a mistake as black should complete his minor piece development with Bg4 followed by Nd7. The start of the first (probably accidental but curious as to your take) pawn sacrifice begins with 10. Ne2. I played this move in order to entice black to take the pawn as it would give me a tempo on the b-file as now black's light squared bishop is more difficult to develop due to the hanging b7 pawn. The middle game now begins after I retreat my knight to f2.

Middle Game: The Importance of In-Between Moves And Removing the Defender

Black must have forgotten that his bishop is attacked but in a subtle way. If I were to take the bishop with my knight, then yes black could take back with his knight. What he forgot is the little in between that removes his only defender of his light squared bishop with 14. Bxf6! Black cannot take back my knight as he would lose his bishop so he instead tries 14. Bxe2. But wait! I then have 15. Bxe7! After the queens are exchanged and after black tries to attack my rook, I then play 17. Rb2! which gives me a tempo to attack his bishop while giving me an extra move to move my dark squared bishop out of harms way. I am not sure what I was thinking but I made an ill conceived pawn sacrifice with 20. d4 which just allows black to take my e3 pawn after an en-passant capture. Unfortunately, black didn't realize the beauty of my next sacrifice after he plays 24. Re8 which I then reply 25. Rxb5! giving me the two BEAUTIFUL bishops!

Endgame: Bishops Of a Feather Really Do Flock Together!

Bishops on an open board can be extremely deadly as they can attack many different points in a large space while also being defensive. This is very evident after I play 28. Bc6! which attacks the rook on e8 while hitting at the queenside pawns both directly and indirectly. Black wins a few pawns here and there after 30. Rxa2 but the bishops are still ever vengeful after 33. Bd5   The next piece of the deadly flock is 34. Rc7! which puts a third battering ram on the weak 7th rank making black's king and f-pawn undependable due to the powerful flock of bishops. Black tries to delay the inevitable by playing the worthless 36. g4 which does nothing to help give his king any defense. White then wins the game by checkmate with 39. Be7# while forking black's rook!

Lessons Learned:

Most of the lessons here are prevalent in my other games but piece development cannot be overstated! Pieces should always be developed FIRST before making any supporting moves with pawns. Black wasted his time with moves like 6. c6 and 8. h6 which added no supporting role to any of black's pieces and was subsequently able to take advantage of these mistakes. Giving up a pawn early in order to get a strong initiative or an extra tempo is always worth undertaking since your opponent will end up being distracted.   This was evident after I got my rook to the b-file while he seemingly forgot his bishop was under attack after black played 13. b6. Bishops on an open board can create great havoc against your opponent even when you are down material. I was an exchange (2 pawns) down and there was nothing black could do to stop discovered check, checkmate, or lost material. Bishops of a feather can really flock together (how I love this saying. Perhaps you should remember it). I hope you found this game to be inspiring, educational, and motivating and if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!  

The Ruy Lopez With an Unusual Diverson-Chessgames.com

by Elan
Introduction: Normally all of you Unconventional Chess readers think I am going to be talking about some crazy opening like the Clemenz or the Kadas all the time. Not so as there are so many other openings to discuss! I am going to be discussing an opening that is NOT unusual but rather how can we take an opening that is universally accepted and play an unusual line to make it more interesting and exciting? I try to go and find recent games but even the games from old still offer valuable lessons. Let's analyze this game where in the chessgames.com database, there are only 2 known examples of this opening line in the Ruy Lopez and see how you can play this line to your benefit!

Opening: The Case of An Early Fortress

From my perspective this game involving the Roy Lopez starts off as quiet. Yet black introduces a new move very early on with 5. Ng6. It is a great move because the knight is eyeing the kingside while giving the dark squared bishop an open diagonal. 6. c3? is a mistake by white because it is too slow and neglects development. A much better move would have been d4! (which plays for the center immediately) or Nc3 followed by d4 completing the development of the bishop. 10. c4! is a great move by white as it prevents black from trying to counter-attack on the queenside with his b-pawn while keeping the pawn on a light square opposite his dark squared bishop.

Middle Game: The Danger and Ease of Miscalculating

In the middle game, it is very easy to miscalculate and think more aggressively than the situation allows. White should have finished the development of his dark squared bishop with (13.Be3) as a waiting move to see how black would respond but instead played 13. Ng5 which is overaggressive and doesn't accomplish anything. Considering that black's dark squared bishop is weak, he wisely takes advantage of white's mistake with 13. Bxg5. and then further challenges white's center with 14. f5! White then made a disastrous mistake with 21. Qh5 which will ultimately seal the fate of the game. Why would he leave his rook hanging I have no idea.

End Game: A Fighting Chance That Never Was:

White tried to start a counter attack with 22. Nf6 which ultimately is the case of "bark but no bite". This does nothing because after black takes the knight, black can then intercept with 23. Bf5! which completely cuts off white's bishop while preserving blacks comfortable material advantage. The rest I will allow you to analyze to judge for yourself where white went wrong but after 33. Rgxg7, white resigns.

Lessons Learned:

It seems that the theme of not trying to force things can't be said enough. White tried to force an attack for which there weren't any incentives to do so after 13. Ng5. Make it a point in your games to sometimes play some waiting moves to see how your opponent will react. The key to winning is being patient as being too aggressive can backfire. Also, pawn moves that look tempting can also create wholes which the opponent can exploit as the square that the pawn(s) were defending is no longer defended. I hope you enjoyed this game and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

Kadas Opening via Chessgames.com!

by Elan

Introduction:

I have always thought that sometimes I am alone in playing these wild and crazy chess openings. Thankfully, there are some games featuring these crazy openings via chessgames.com! We will analyze the Kadas opening. I know I have talked about this opening in previous posts but want to explore how others apply it and what you can learn from them. It is my favorite site for exploring chess openings, opening theory, and self analyzing chess games! Let's get started. For those of you that want to see the game on your own, the link is here.

Opening: When Greed and the Fast Lane Kill!

It is very interesting to see the direction white is taking. White gets off to a great start after playing 4. Bg5. Yet black doesn't really understand the concept of patience after 4. cxd4 . Why didn't black complete his development with say 4. Bf5 or Nc6? Releasing the tension in the center too early always backfires. Another mistake by black that negates his development is by playing 8. Qb6? when black should have either continued with e5 or Bf5. . Instead of letting things unfold, black tries to rush decisions and we will see how that makes black's middle game miserable.

Middle Game: When "Free Pieces" Become Poison!

Black thinks he can win material by trapping white's rook with 9. Bf5?? . This looks great but if black tries to take whites rook, white can either trap black's queen or win significant material due to black's overextended knight (i.e. 11. Nfd2 11. Qxa1, 12. Qc2 12. Na5, 13. Qa4+ 13. Nc6, 14. Qb3 14. Na5, 15. Qb5+ Nc6, 16. Qxb7) In addition to white winning black's pawn on h7, black thinks he can save his queen with 15. Nb4? but after white retreats with 16. Qd1 where we now see that black's kingside rook is now overextended! A fork! Black is now finally able to get his queen out of the cage with 17. Qb2 which interestingly threatens to pin white's own queen with Rc1. But after white checks and black moves his king 18. Kd8, white then moves 19. Ke2 parrying the threat.

Endgame: When Forgetting Piece Placement Kills Last Minute Attacks

It is interesting to see how black thinks he can win with 23. Bg3 but white has plenty of defenses after 24. Rf1 . Black misplaces his queen with 26. Qc5? which puts his queen in a crossfire near white's knight on d2 making it susceptible to a fork on e4. The final blow for black is the blunder 28. Qe3+ which looks dangerous as white's pawn is pinned but white simply retreating with 29. Kd1 . Black's rook, queen, and bishop are now hanging! What can black do? Blunder of course! Which he did with 29. Qxd3. But after 30. Ne5+, black for all intents and purposes resigns. . Well he resigns after white plays 32. Qb4+ knowing that the bishop falls and he is down too much material. Lessons Learned: A big lesson here is he who releases the tension first controls the direction of the game, good or bad. Being aggressive early often times backfires as we see with black blundering with 9. Bf5. One needs to first develop the minor pieces to their natural squares and let things unfold as they do. If black were to do that, the game would have equalized and white would not have been able to attack so quickly since white would need to see which side black would castle. I hope all of you enjoyed this game and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

Mental Health Benefits of Chess

by Elan

Introduction

From the previous article, I discussed a general overview to the health benefits of chess. The health benefits of chess clearly makes the game a huge benefit for those who want to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to discuss in more detail about what the mental health benefits really mean in applying context to everyday situations.

Making Quick Decisions And Better Time Management

How does chess help someone make quick decisions more effectively? Chess games are governed by time control (unless playing super casually) and one of the objectives is not only to manage your time wisely, but also to make decisions quickly so you don't get into time pressure. Time pressure is the enemy in chess as not only can the opponent win on time, but also tricks you into making blunders since you didn't have enough time to think about the situation. In life, you might only have a split second to think about a situation before you have to act. Chess greatly helps in this situation as in chess, you might only have a split second to think about a decision before things start getting out of control.

Failure Improves Self-Confidence

You will lose games in chess. I have lost thousands of games to be honest. Interestingly, I have noticed that my self-confidence has gone up through every failure as I know what to do for next time so the same mistake doesn't occur. Since you are only playing against one other person, chess gives you the feeling that you know what to do, when to do it, and why to do it as no one is telling you what to do. There can never be analysis paralysis. If someone wasn't telling you what to do all the time, wouldn't you have more self confidence knowing that you will trust yourself that you made the right decision? Chess gives you that opportunity.

Conclusion

Chess from a mental health perspective offers enormous benefits. Self-confidence today is more valuable than ever. Learning how to manage your time is more valuable than ever as we live in a fast paced society. The ability to make a quick and, at times, split second decision, is very valuable as it could mean the difference between life and death. Chess gives you all of these opportunities to strengthen these skills which makes the game so wonderful. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions or would like to provide feedback, please feel free to do so and I will be more than happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog! Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

Health Benefits of Chess Overlooked

by Elan

Introduction:


There are many health benefits of chess that are especially important for today's age when it seems that everyone is living life in the fast lane. From my own experience, they include being able to think very quickly in stressful situations, increase my concentration, increase creative/analytical skills, and strengthen my self-confidence.

Neurological Benefits:


I have noticed with my games that my brain power keeps getting stronger when I play chess due to the inherent complexity associated with the positions I play. According to Health Fitness Revolution, chess stimulates the growth of dendrites, which increases your ability to think faster and quicker. Additional points the article makes about the benefits of chess include exercising both sides of your brain instead of just one, teaching planning and foresight, and strengthening your reading skills.

The Most Important Benefit Overlooked!


In my mind, the most important health benefit of chess that is quite often overlooked is... SELF CONFIDENCE! Chess is a very difficult game and in many situations, you are required to overcome adversity to win! If you can overcome adversity and at times potential setbacks, you will find it much easier in life to overcome obstacles that can inhibit your success. In chess, you have to trust your gut and believe you are doing the right thing. According to the Online Psychology Degree, "Playing and analyzing why you lost or won a game increases the level of mental strength and self-confidence that you bring to the world beyond the chessboard". I definitely agree with that statement.

Conclusion:


The health benefits of chess are too numerous to count. In my own life, chess has made me more self-confident, more self-aware, increased my "brain power", and increased my ability to think very quickly in potentially stressful situations. Because of these benefits, being able to live to the fullest has become much easier over time. Chess is never boring and makes life so exciting as there are over 1 million positions to play! Less Boredom=More Active Brain. Get your brain moving! Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog!   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!

The English Opening With Na6 From the Facebook Challenge Part 1!

by Elan
I issued a second Facebook challenge for members of the Unconventional Chess Corner and we had an acceptance. This is the first of two parts as Part 1 will cover the game I lost while the second will cover the game I won. I decided to continue on the theme of playing a traditional book opening with an unusual diversion. I haven't played the English opening in quite a while so let's see what happens if my trick to play unusual opening moves in a book opening is successful.

Opening: The Knights On The Rim are Not Dim!

It is kind of interesting how most chess books out there tell you not to develop your knights on the side squares and only aim the knights towards the center. After white castles with 5. 0-0, the position is still equal and when white does play in the center, black has a lot of flexibility in determining how to respond with either creating a blockade or creating a new counterattack. In fact, after white advances with 6. d4, the knight on the side proves to be an excellent supporting piece to challenge white in the center after I play c5 . We then transition into the middle game.

Middle Game: The Art of Minor Piece Exchanges

The Middle game doesn't start off with too much theatrics. White starts off by attacking my knight to which I reply with 11. Nf5 .  13. e4 by white is a very interesting move because it creates complications. I thought about taking the bishop on f4 but did not because of (13. gxf4. 14. exf5, 14. fxg3, 15. fxg3 15. Bxf5 which gives me a  free pawn but no way to take advantage of it as white has a an open f-file and mounting kingside pressure ). I instead went with 13. Nd4 which puts my knight on a great outpost square in the center while giving me options on queenside play. . 15. g4? was a mistake on my end because it blocks my own light square bishop instead of taking advantage of putting the bishop on the h3 square gaining a tempo attacking white's rook.

Endgame: When Complications Backfire

I like to think of complications similar to leverage when taking on debt. Complications are very dangerous because they can either work in your favor if you know what you are doing or they can backfire and make you lose everything. Black's position is holding after white plays 21. Rf4 but then we see how white has a spatial advantage since it is much more difficult for black to break through. 23. f6 protects my pawn from white's tripling on the f-file and making my king more secure. Later towards the end, I blundered with 26. Re5?? which leaves my f6 pawn hanging and my king falls apart which white takes with 27. Rxf6! . I then take back but after 28. Qxf6+, I resigned. The position for black is completely hopeless as no matter where my king moves, my bishop will be forked or will be mated in 3 moves.

Lessons Learned:

Knights that develop on the side early in the game do not cause inherent problems. The knight on the side only becomes a problem if the opponent has an early spatial advantage as the knight would have a lack of squares to take advantage of setting up an outpost. When playing for complications, it is easy for things to go wrong very quickly. This was apparent after I blundered with 26. Re5 which took a position that was okay for black and then suddenly everything unraveled. I should have played a "waiting move" which would let things unfold to give me many options. Always remember that making a position complicated is like taking on a lot of debt. It is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing as one slip-up  can suddenly backfire against you. I hope you enjoyed this post and If you have any questions and/or wish to provide feedback, please do not hesitate to comment and I will be happy to answer!   Join Our Facebook Community Unconventional Chess Corner and follow our insights on the Unconventional Chess Blog   Buy my e-book Stop Being Chess Conventional if you would love to learn more about my advanced chess strategies!