The experience to lose half-point or even the full point here and there adds up, and it starts to rattle your head.
Whether it’s up a piece for the U1000 crowd or having small advantage for the sub-1500 players, it takes experience to develop winning techniques to finish games cleanly.
How can we practice to improve our technique?
Before we get to the answer, let’s drill in the number one focus to win a winning position.
- Trade Pieces
- Reduce noise
For my U1000 students, trading pieces when up in material is a lesson we repeat a few times until it becomes second nature.
The reason is to avoid counter attacks and mistakes from our side to give back the ‘gift’.
In the position below what is the easiest way to trade the dark-square bishop?
For the more experienced players, trading pieces has become a second nature, and we’ll start to working more complicated positions.
We may not be winning, but rather tiny bit better in the position.
If we are defending when up in material, it is important to reduce the attack from our opponent.
In the position above, if white retreats the knight to f3, then black will play Ne4 trapping the rook and getting ready to attack on f2 as well.
There are lots of noise in the position, so white needs to reduce all of the problems on the king side.
The best move is to swing the rook to b3, attacking black’s queen and then retreat knight to f3.
After Rb3, the rook will be much safer than it is on g3, and then white can start to develop the rest of the pieces and march forward with the two extra pawns.
Simplify is always the strategy when you are winning, and the way to do that is to trade more pieces and reduce noises.
Now you’ve learn the concept of simplify, it’s time to practice.
Setup a better position and try to play a computer level that is a bit more stronger than you, and see if you can simplify the position to get the full point!