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How to Analyze a Chess Game | A Simple 5-Step Guide

Win or lose, don't just forget the chess game you just played. Chess likes to reward those who constantly study and analyze it. If chess analysis is not yet part of your routine, it's high time it was.

If you won, there is a need to evaluate if your strategy was ideal; did you win because of the opponent's weakness, or by your own skill?

If you lost, it's time to consider what went wrong and how you can improve it. What should you do differently the next time to avoid repeating the same mistakes?

Analyzing a chess game can be intimidating at first, but it gets easier with practice. In this article, you will find a collection of easy but super-effective steps for analyzing a chess game!


Chess Game Analysis: Why Even Bother?

Chess and analysis are the best friends you could ever imagine! Many chess players increase the time spent on chess analysis compared to playing with opponents as they level up.


Analyzing a chess game right after it ends makes you play your next round better. You can easily pick out your strategy's weak points and understand what mistakes you were making while your brain was focused on the play. Otherwise, you miss the opportunity for deep insights into your play as the chess game fades away with time and you forget the details.

And if you fail to look at all your moves over and over again and analyze them in detail, you risk getting stuck at the same level for months and years.

That's why chess game analysis is a must for every aspiring chess player.

Chess game analysis includes documenting all the moves you and your opponent made in a given game and then finding the mistakes both made. Instead of just scanning mistakes, proper chess analysis will explore alternative moves and their consequences. This way, you can learn what should have been done in a specific position to get a better result. And if you understand it once, you won't make the same mistake again!


Pros of Analyzing a Chess Game

  • Gaining sharper analytical skills: You train your mind never to treat moves superficially. Instead, you make it a habit to look deeper into a position and understand it better, which is a must for chess mastery.
  • Understanding opening mistakes better: Starting well is half the battle in chess. Understanding your opening mistakes will force you to study the theory and improve your opening knowledge.
  • Identifying your weakest points: Which parts of the game do you make the most mistakes in? Determine where you need improvement more critically: tactical positions, strategic choices, opening positions, or something else. Then work on those aspects thoroughly.
  • Evaluating psychological responses to specific moves: Besides your brain, your emotions are also involved in a chess game. Analyze how you responded to your opponent's moves and how they affected the outcome. Learn to use emotion in your favor.
  • Spotting opportunities: Missing the right move in a position is often more than an oversight. You can gain an advantage by spotting the chances your opponent missed and using them to win the game.
  • Determining the game's turning point: Find the move that changed the entire course of the game. If you lost, figure out how to best respond when something similar happens again. If you won, figure out how you could have won earlier and with fewer moves.


Two Main Types of Chess Analysis

You can implement two key approaches to analyzing a chess game; preliminary and deep analysis.

Preliminary Analysis

Preliminary analysis in chess refers to discussing over-the-board (OTB) games with your opponent when you're finished. Both players look at their positions and share their thoughts on how they see the positions.

This type of analysis is unique as it guides you through the thinking of your partner - something that no search engine can offer. Use this opportunity to look for ideas and solutions together if you have enough time.

Deep Analysis

To conduct a deep analysis of your chess game, you'll need a mentor who can assist you professionally rather than just discussing the position. This could be your coach or a chess engine, which can give you all the details on where and when you made mistakes.

A deep analysis will help you identify your weaknesses precisely, improve your game plan, and find solutions to familiar positions.

Note that if you refer to a chess engine for analysis, you must first analyze the game yourself to develop your thinking. The chess engine should be used only to evaluate your ideas.


How to Analyze a Chess Game in 5 Simple Steps

Here are the basic steps that will result in chess analysis of the highest quality.

Step 1: Check Your Opening Moves and Mistakes

After the game is finished and you have all your moves recorded, record their impact on the game and check them after. After a thorough self-analysis, check the library of the most preferred opening moves in Chessify References. Here you will find a wide selection of games recorded since 1475 that will help you create your own opening repertoire.


Additionally, explore GM Zaven Andreasian's tips on how to find chess opening novelties.


Step 2: Pay Close Attention to Critical Moments

Pick the key moments in the game when you had to make an important decision, such as starting an attack, sacrificing a piece, or going defensive. Analyze to see if you made the right choice.

Start with the moves you are most unsure about or those that turned out to be crucial. Compare how you moved during the game with potential alternatives, and evaluate their potential impact on the outcome.

Once you have done enough self-analysis, refer to Chessify.me's chess engines for alternatives you may have overlooked.


How to Use Chessify.me to Analyze a Game

You can either upload your game or play the moves out manually to add the game to Chessify.

The system allows you to add multiple sidelines, comments, and analyses to your games and then save them on your cloud storage to return to them later.

After you have your game position on Chessify's board, our engines will help you check your ideas and see if you missed important tactics throughout the game.



Step 3: Practice Time Management

Pay attention to which moves and positions took the most of your time. Understand why you had difficulty deciding on the given situation and try to analyze similar positions to develop your pattern recognition skills.


Step 4: Pay Attention to the Pawn Structure

As pawns are the long-lasting pieces on the board, their structure and placement are crucial for both sides. Make sure to analyze the pawn structure of your game, as well as the changes it has gone through throughout the match.


Step 5: Analyze Endgames

Most endgames have similar patterns, so you should be able to find and analyze endgame positions with the same pieces and pawn structures. A smart way to study endgames is to analyze the most popular endgame positions, as they are more likely to occur in your games.

Chessify.me allows you to add a 6-piece Syzygy endgame tablebase to your preferred engine's analysis whenever you have 6 or fewer pieces left on your board.

Tick the box of "syzygy" on the right-side menu of your Chessify dashboard and get the chess engine to analyze the game considering the tablebase data. This means you will get better suggestions and solutions for the position, as integrating an endgame database allows the chess engine to understand the endgame theory better and perform better analysis!



Final Thoughts

That's it! Though playing games might seem the most effective way of improving your chess skills, analyzing your games afterward is just as important. This way, you will be able to track your progress and get valuable insights on what to focus on and improve quicker.

Whenever you need a powerful chess training platform to back up your analysis, rely on Chessify.me to help you get the most out of your games.

Meanwhile, don't forget the importance of self-analysis! Your brain can be the most powerful chess engine of all. Use it to the fullest after the next game!

Good luck!

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