I’m sure these suggestions for chess game analysis have been mentioned elsewhere before, but let me share an effective way I studied my games when I was serious about improvement.
- Make a database in ChessBase containing your tournament games. I call mine “My Games.”
- Play your tournament game. Really, you should have 60 minutes or longer of thinking time where you can give your best. Definitely use this method for multi-day events!
- Optional but highly recommended: Analyze the game with your opponent. Discuss the play with words and variations. This is the Quadruple Game Analysis variant.
- Enter the game into ChessBase and write detailed notes about it. Variations you saw and did not see, fears, emotions, internal distractions, general time usage by both players…everything you experienced during the game. At the end, enter a few paragraphs of summary: what you learned, things to improve, etc. If you did a post-mortem analysis with your opponent, include their comments and variations (noting the material that came from your opponent).
- Next, run your favorite chess analysis engine. Note that we do this after entering our own comments, to avoid computer worship! Don’t “correct” the previous analysis: you’re looking for resources missed in the previous analysis that radically change the assessment of a position (winning to drawing, drawing to losing, or winning to losing). Enter relevant comments into your notes. For example: “24…Rc7! 25.Ke3 Kf5 26.Be4+ Kg5 wins — Stockfish 11“
- Email the whole thing to your coach and ask for their comments. They can enter notes into the game directly or type a detailed email summary. Alternatively, you can incorporate their comments during your discussion of the game during the next lesson.
What to expect from this kind of chess game analysis
A single chess game analysis using this method takes hours. It will bear fruit though, especially if you play fairly regularly and stick to the same openings (refining them over time). Commit to this method for 6 months or a year: your play will improve a lot, and you will move one or two tiers higher as a result.