Jesse’s analysis!

by admin on April 14, 2008

For any of you who are subscribers to ChessLecture, Jesse Kraai’s analysis of my game with John Bick is now online. All I can say is, it’s fascinating. I am blown away by how different his understanding of several positions was from mine. You would think we weren’t even talking about the same game. Yet in almost every case I think he’s right.

Especially interesting to me were the moves that I didn’t even comment on, but which turned out to be crucial turning points. I was kicking myself over playing the “superficial” move 12. … Be7, but in fact Jesse says it’s the previous move, 11. … Ngf6, that was at fault. I never even thought to question this! The other remarkable example occurs on move 29, where I played 29. … Bxb2 automatically, even eagerly, because it created a position where all the pawns were on one side of the board. I had assumed this would make the position easier for me to defend. Instead, Jesse said it was losing and I had to try 29. … b3.

This second example is interesting to me psychologically as an example of a mis-learned or mis-applied lesson. I knew that in rook and pawn endgames, the position becomes easier for the defender if the pawns are all on one side of the board. Somehow I had extrapolated from this to a General Principle that held for all endgames. But, as Jesse says, the bishop is a long-range piece! It’s at a disadvantage when the pawns are all on one side. Its ability to travel long distances becomes much less important, while at the same time its inability to cover half of the squares becomes more important. A very insightful comment! I had never thought of it that way, but in retrospect it seems so obvious!

Jesse also spotted some mistakes by my opponent, which I failed to do. Interestingly, he did not notice the little tactic in my “Quiz Position #4,” which at least makes me feel a little better about the fact that I also overlooked it.

All in all, this was for me a tremendously informative lecture. I hope that it will be equally informative for other people. It does seem a little bit odd to have what is essentially a private lesson broadcast to an audience of hundreds … but presumably I am not the only person struggling with some of the issues that Jesse addresses, such as sensitivity to dynamic imbalances and (lack of) objectivity.

Jesse has recorded another lecture, on my game with Berger. I can’t wait to hear this one, too! I have no idea how he is going to squeeze all 104 moves into one lecture, though…

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Carina April 17, 2008 at 9:44 am

Dana, I personally learned alot from that lecture because I tend to share some of your preferences about opening play and think Jesse is right when he says offbeat openings are chosen because of a “fear” of a balanced game. I think the mistakes you made represent the mistakes everybody at and below your level make frequently and it was really helpful to listen to Jesse’s dissection of them, harsh as it was, haha. I’ll be memorizing some of that stuff for my next over-the-board evaluations. Especially the part about dynamic imbalances. I forget to pay attention alot, because I don’t know what I pay for this before a good position goes downhill, and even then I normally wouldn’t think my mistake was “insensitivity” to chess. I’d just think I overlooked something!

I think in general is developing in a really good direction, first with the user comments possibility and new this cross-lecturer analysis. It’s especially interesting, since us listeners feel we know the people who lecture on another level than if it’s “just” a famous player’s game being analysed. I hope this tendancy will develop even more and that we’ll see more lessons of this kind! 🙂


Stan Rydz April 18, 2008 at 7:28 am

Corina said it before I could. I agree with everything she said.
There are so many ways you can go wrong in a game. First, you have to evaluate a position correctly. Then, even iIf you do, you have to chose the right course of action. Often, It just boils down to chess judgement. But how do you develop this? I’m told to – play over a lot of master games – analyze your own games…etc. I’m doing all this, yet I still lose regularly to gifted 12 year olds who couldn’t possibly have had the time to study the game as much as I have, So, It’s got to be something else. Maybe a chess gene 🙂 .

Stan (nibbler)


admin April 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm

Carina, Welcome back! It’s been a while since I heard from you.

Stan, I agree that it seems totally unfair when someone 12 years old just “gets it” and those of us who have a few more years under our belt work harder and still don’t get it. But that’s life. I think that positional evaluations were key in this game. There were several positions that I evaluated quite differently from Jesse. I’m not convinced that he’s right about the one after 14. … c5. Of course I was totally wrong during the game to dismiss this move because it seemed to “give away my advantage.” At that point I no longer had an advantage. However, it’s a little hard for me to believe that White is actually much better here, as Jesse says.



Carina April 19, 2008 at 8:09 am

Yea I know, I’ve been mostly lurking, but I do read and watch everything posted here and at, and am silently improving my game. 😀 I shared first place in my group (1900+ rating) in the Danish championships just recently! Am also rebuilding and will hopefully have time to do more chess portraits once it’s done. Right now I’m busy drawing a Pawn for the front page (where it just says “enter” now), who’s stepping on a queening square!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: