73 ( +1 | -1 ) Losing PositionsDoes anyone else have a problem keeping focused in losing positions? It seems that whenever I am losing a match, I try to even it out as quickly as possible, and often make things even worse by carelessly leaving pieces undefended. An extreme example of this would be board #1525362 . I know that move 12. itself was completely awful, and could have easily been avoided by a quick lookover. But thats not the problem, the problem is that I tryed to win back a position with even a slight possiblitity of a draw, and ended up missing the obvious checkmate. Any advice on keeping focused in losing positions?
71 ( +1 | -1 ) take your timeI think the best way to avoid mistakes is to take your time in your games. I try to resist the urge to make the first natural move that comes to my mind. I try to make myself stop and think...okay can I really move here. If the answer is yes I still don't make the move right away. I remember the move and log off. Then, later I log back on and see if I can find a better move. I have started doing this only recently. My games take longer to play but the quality is greatly improved. As for playing on in lost positions, I would just resign after move 12. What can you possibly learn from the position after you blundered your queen at move 12?
30 ( +1 | -1 ) Thanks for the response jstackand I know that the match was already lost, but it was part of a mini tournament, and I usually like to play games liek those out fully, to avoid losing unnessicary points. The loss of a queen is bassically a loss itself, but the same problem is the same when I am down a pawn or two.
288 ( +1 | -1 ) No comment on the game linked; it's pretty much a lost cause after the blunder.
In general, defending a losing position is not fundamentally different than handling any other position and it's important to treat it that way. If you start to look at the position from a perspective of being seriously worse, then suddenly everything you do seems inadequate. At that point, you've been mentally defeated and you might as well resign.
Your basic options are the same as in every other position, initiate threats and stop your opponent's play, so treat the losing position as any other position and weigh all the factors you normally weigh when considering moves. Yes, you have to acknowledge the weaknesses in your position (lost material, compromised control over key squares, disasterous pawn structure, etc...), but then you have to move on and look at the positive aspects of your position and form a plan as you normally would. Focus more on moment, the position in front of you, rather than the more general "I'm worse/seriously worse/lost."
In fact, thinking about the position in this general way can actually be harmful because you sometimes lose sight of the specifics of the positions at hand. Consider, for instance, taking up the Black pieces at the start of the game. I don't know of too many people who sit down at the board and immediately think "Oh man, I have to defend, react rather than act, respond to White's plans rather than create my own threats right out of the gate." More typical is a mentality of something like "Well, White's going to have some threats, so I'll meet them head on as they come up and try to generate some play of my own in turn." Don't bother thinking about whether a position is objectively better/equal/worse for you (unelss you're contemplating draw offers or resignation), focus instead about what you can do to generate threats and stop those of your opponent.
Experience and our own personality will usually dictate what balance of the two modes of play, attack and defense, you adopt in inferior positions. My personal preference is to favor aggressive action for various reasons. Mostly, that's my default mentality; I value the initiative very highly and am usually overly optimistic when I'm on the attack (which lands me in quite a bit of trouble at times, but at least it offsets some of the feelings of frustration at holding a seriously inferior position). When players hold superior positions, they will sometimes adopt a slightly more passive mentality, looking to keep everything safe so as to preserve their advantage. This is perfectly natural and a good trait to possess overall, but there can be a tendency for players to overdo this mentality and fall into a hopelessly passive position. Also, I believe it is more psychologically difficult to defend than it is to attack.