"You Don't Have Much Skill" - came the comment from my opponent on freechess.org after I beat him rather soundly.
Normally I don't really bother with post-match comments but this comment struck me, not because it was a snide remark but more because it struck me how true it was.
While not all of us can be a Kasparov and make good moves on a consistent basis, an average chess patzer like myself should know how to put the pieces properly. Most of the time, I find that my failure lies in middlegame play and finding the right square for my pieces so as to mobilise my pieces for maximum effectiveness.
The most frustrating thing was that I just do not know how to do it in an optimal fashion and on a regular basis. There have been enough books on middlegame play but it seems that the art of positional play is still beyond my grasp.
I shudder whenever I do a post-mortem in my games because it seems that I make moves perfunctorily. In chess, this is tantamount to suicide. All those rules like "Mobilise your worst piece", "Make active moves", "Create weaknesses" seem to go out the window when I am at the chess board.
Take a look at the following position from one of my own games:
Note that there is no "correct" answer here. What should I do in this position?
The correct idea is to play Nd8 with the idea of Nc6->Nd8->Ne6, putting the Knight on a more active square.
In the actual game, my Knight stood at c6 for a *very long* time and in the end got traded into a losing endgame position. Pathetic.
I can spot tactical shots fairly quickly but it seems that positional play is my main weakness and until I eradicate this weakness from my play, it will continue to dog me.
I've lined up a couple of chess materials and am planning on reading Nunn's Understand Chess Move By Move all over again just to understand and grasp the basics of chess playing.