Game Spotlight: Annotating Your Games

Improving at Chess means fixing your thinking process.  Of course, exactly what habits to remove and what information to add is highly personal.  In the end, though, you need to be accountable for your thinking.  This is a difficult thing — we tend to want to see ourselves in a good light, so we see ourselves as doing better than we really are.  How then do we cut through our impressions so we can see the reality of how we’re doing?

Here’s an exercise that may help.  Ten years ago, while playing on a Play By Email server, I wrote out my thinking for every move I made.  The point is to make the thinking process visible, and to preserve it so it can be impartially analyzed.  Then when the game is over, go over what was written to see what was properly thought-out, what wasn’t, what was missed, and so forth.  It may also help to show to someone else, to get an independent set of eyes involved.

With Chess these days being almost exclusively online and with time controls in days, now’s a good time to try this sort of exercise out.  (I found it was tiring when done all the time, so keep it to once or twice.)  To show what it looks like, here’s one of those games from ten years ago, with the annotations written while playing in quotes, and commentary on the kinds of things to learn:

We’ll be having another blitz tournament this Saturday, May 2.  Join through our club for the start at 2pm (local time).  If you’re interested in longer games online, Team Philippines United has challenged us to a team match, which you’re also welcome to join.  Stay inside, stay safe (while following WHO guidelines), and enjoy the Chess.

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