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I played this game earlier, as white, and am struggling to see where I could have done better. Any advice would be appreciated."

Wit th'London ye like th' Bright Bishop on d3 at the start... Yet that kingside fianchetto me might think demands an alternate plan... somthing out-of-box... Perhaps a wee kingside attack! LSB to c4, (control that diagonal into the enemy kingside camp.) Than the knight to d2/ and wam H4... set up queenside castle clearance, ( activate queen )... Unconventional warfare and aggressiveness is risky business, but your opponent seems to be a neat and tidy opening wonk and you could take them out of their comfort zone with a different approach. I'm just thinking that they've seen your set-up many times before and were prepared for it. Just my gut feeling. Anyways, Happy Chessing.

i had to learn by experience that the queen very rarely belongs to c2 in the london system, u dont see it much it the opening book and the computer continually doesnt like it.
it also puts your king behind your queen for queenside castle, which is a tactical weakness.
she usually goes to e2, b3, a4 or just doesnt move for a while.

with 8.O-O e5 9.Bg3 exd4 10.exd4(usually u wanna retake with the e pawn if possible) your position looks better. he could have pushed the e pawn one move earlier with 7... e5 8.Bg3 exd4 9.cxd4 Nb4 but then u can save your light square bishop cause there is no fork.

there are ideas to switch to Be2 or pawn to c4 against specific openings to avoid complications with your light square bishop, but i like to have have my minor pieces on the same squares every game so i get more familiar positions after the opening.

Thanks for the input guys.

I agree that I should have been more aggressive and ill definitely take on board the tactical tips.

8 Qc2? is no good. Better 8 Bg3 anticipating the 8...e5 he has been preparing. With Qc2? you will lose the bishop's pair to 10...Nb4. The queen is worse at c2 than at d1.
25 Re5? is poor. Better 25 Re7 intending 26 Rae1. Nimzovich and others have stressed how strong a rook on the 7th rank is.
28 Nd7? is no good. Stronger 28 Rd1 as he cannot take your central knight because of back rank checkmate. Later you can protect your central knight with 29 f4. Then you control the open d-file, while your central knight renders his e-file worthless. The knight is so much stronger on e5 than on d7.
34 b3? weakens your pawn structure so he can attack it with 34...a4. Better 34 Rd2 keeping your pawn structure intact.

I think the input from the others are pretty valid, but possibly not transferrable to other games you play (I imagine you'll play games outside the London system in the future). In my experience, when playing at the rating level you're at your top priority is to not drop pieces and pawns unnecessarily. On that note, I thought you did great. If you keep doing that, I have no doubt you'll gain at least a hundred rating points. There were even parts where I felt you went above and beyond, namely 22. Ne4! It's a pretty nifty tactic to get rid of his strong dark squared bishop and cement a pawn on a pretty annoying square, especially because you're poised to infiltrate on e7.

The parts I think you can improve upon are with moves like 5. Bd3. and 8. Qc2. I'm not sure how bad these moves are in practice, but you've spent a lot of tempo in the opening pointing at a fianchetto wall (if black had a choice on where to put your light squared bishop, they would definitely have chosen d3 as well). If you're going to pursue an idea like that, you need to prioritize ruining black's fianchetto structure with something like h4, h5. It's kinda double edged though. To get better at this, I would suggest thinking critically about how you develop your pieces, not just put them on squares that "look pretty".

Overall, I think you killed it. Chalk this one up as a W. Aim to do this consistently.

Thanks tpr and nanu. Definitely given me things to think about.

Rook on f to c1 for move 14. You blindly did rook to e1 cuz someone told us all rooks belong on open files however in the context of your game it made no sense to me because you lost time preparing a pawn battering ram that wasn't even close to queening. You had a beautiful kingside pawn structure that was nullifying their black bishop and you willingly let that piece into the game (tho your coordination was fine). Imagine your queen and rook lined up @ that backward pawn on c7 after his bishop attacks your queen. Followed up by a pawn break a3 and b4... i think you just move too fast and dont get enuff benefit for some trades. I kinda suck tho so maybe you shouldn't listen to me. Nice game!

Generally, until you get to ~2100 bullet and blitz, tactics should be about 90% of your focus if you want to improve. Just solve puzzles as much as you can.

5% opening prep such as watching 3 20 minute London System YouTubes by Simon Williams, and watch them each about 4 or 5 times over until you can guess correctly every move he is about to make. The 2nd video is about the system you played in this game.

And the last 5% general chess positional knowledge, endgames, board vision drills etc.

I really don't think tactics should be 90% of your focus. That is just overkill and it can be hurtful to your improvement if you focus too much on tactics. If I said it was a percentage of your study, no more than 50% of your time should be dedicated to tactics even under 2100. If you focus on tactics you should probably focus on themes. Everyone learns differently and the "Tactics is 90%" could help you.. But I would never just say it like it's the answer to everything.

I like the idea that looking at Simon Williams videos on the London system is a suggestion. And I also might suggest buying his video dedicated to it. He has exciting ideas in the line.

Another idea for you is, you should notice pawn structure differences. Like this game was a London vs Kings Indian Defense pawn structure. And the reason that is significant is similar to the Colle/Stonewall theory. In which you won't get great play if you are too focused on a singular opening plan blindly developing. You have to pay attention to the actual moves of your opponent. This is proven in your game. When your opponent played 9. .. exd4 you played 10. cxd4. This is either an indication you need to practice visualizing threats against you tactically, or you are blindly doing things you see in games of this pawn structure. Or both! In either case this is bad practice. You want to learn when to play what in a given structure. With proper study in the London system, you find that it is best to play either plans where the knight goes to c3 without c4 being played and you play a type of "150 attack" or you can play c4 with Bf4 in a type of queens gambit/London hybrid. Aggressive players like the "150 attack" style of playing, where the more rounded players tend to enjoy the hybrid version.

I should point out that a common misnomer with tactics study is you must study tactics puzzles. This is blatantly untrue. You do not have to study tactics puzzles to learn how to be tactical. Tactics puzzles is generally a good way to warm up, or help focus intuition. Learning "tactical operations" like focusing on themes and deeply analyzing examples is another method. Lets call it "Method 2".

Method 3 could be the study of pawn structures. There are a lot of books that express this method in detail. There is tactics that is "more common" in specific pawn structures. And if you focus your work on the ones most common in yours, it makes your research easier. I will give you a few specific examples.

Ex 1: Inside one of my openings there is a pawn structure where the classic bishop sacrifice and the "Horowitz" bishop sacrifice is quite common. This is the "Colle-Zukertort".

Ex 2: There is a knight sacrifice in the Kings Indian Defense with g3 lines where it either nets you three pawns, or you get a pawn and the piece back with interest.

Ex 3: In Sicilian pawn structures, there are a lot of lines in which support Bxb5 as a way to gain three pawns for the piece, and you get a positional compensation. Usually those pawn structures are "Schevenigen" in nature.

Tactics can include positional themes. I saw a GM once explain to a group I studied with an idea where a single knight move created a positional bind. And the explanation was tactical in nature. You can't just look at tactics as separate from positional play. It's not.. It's just a tool that is within the umbrella of positional play.

Method 4 is actually similar to method 3, in that you collect PGN's based on the openings you play. And you study the raw PGN's. There was a book by Tal that explained this better than I could. He explained that his study of tactics was not looking at random chess positions. It was the study of raw chess moves without analysis. Then classifying the tactics by theme in his head. In practice I think this is probably the best. But most people would need to write down their analysis. Tal being a GM can do it in his head, but humans like us may have trouble with that.

There could be more ways of studying tactics, but that is why chess is good. There is no one way to study it. I think learning flexibility is a benefit.

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