Game# 89 – Patience in Chess – A Black player’s lament

Patience in Chess

Patience in Chess

We all need more patience in chess. The clock ticked relentlessly, a mocking metronome to my mounting frustration. White, my opponent Fritz Scholz, seemed content to weave a slow, methodical spell on the board. We were playing a 5-minute blitz game, a format usually characterized by lightning-fast moves and tactical fireworks. Yet, here I was, facing a seemingly never-ending positional squeeze.

It all started innocently enough. The Bird’s Opening – a broad, strategic battlefield. I tried a solid response, mirroring White’s patient approach. The early moves were a dance of development, each piece finding its natural square. But as the middlegame unfolded, a creeping sense of unease settled in.

Fritz wasn’t going for flashy sacrifices; he was building a web of subtle pressure. He nudged a pawn here, maneuvered a knight there, slowly constricting my space. My natural inclination, honed by years of blitz battles, was to lash out, to find a tactical shot to break free. But every time I considered a risky move, a voice in my head – the voice of reason, or perhaps of imminent defeat – reminded me: patience, Paul, patience.

The frustration mounted with each passing move. The clock, once a distant hum, became a relentless drumbeat. I found myself rushing calculations, overlooking simple tactics. On move 10, the simple Nd5 would have won a pawn, but I never even considered it. I played the mindless Bd6. It was a blunder born of impatience, a desperate attempt to simply move a piece and see what happens. Good chess playing demands more.

Game# 89 - Patience in Chess - A Black player's lament
Nd5 wins a pawn here.

Even after playing Bd6 I was much better. This is the theme of many of my blitz games against Fritz – I have a strong advantage and then I overreach, losing my advantage. More example of this to come.

After the dubious 15…h5?! white played 16. Ne3, an attempt to exchange knights and simplify the position. In chess, keeping the initiative is critical. The move I should have played was g5!, forcing matters by opening up lines of attack against the white king.

Game# 89 - Patience in Chess - A Black player's lament
Here, I played Nxe5 but g5 is the best move.

The game continued with me forgetting that I hung my h5 pawn. After that, control of the light squares went over to my opponent. In the following position, I had only one move to save the game, see if you can find it.

Game# 89 - Patience in Chess - A Black player's lament
Position after 19. Nh4

The only move is 19…ef4!, a very hard move that only Stockfish would find. Even after the knight captures the f8 rook, Black plays Qe7 (or Qe8 in some variations) and infiltrates on the dark squares. At any rate, I didn’t play that move and opted for Kh7 which loses on the spot. White captured on h5 and my position started to collapse. My opponent made some blunders in time pressure but still went on to win.

This loss was a harsh reminder that patience is not the antithesis of aggression in chess. It’s the foundation upon which all good chess is built. It allows us to see the bigger picture, to calculate deeply, and to identify the right moment to strike. It’s the difference between a well-timed tactical blow and a desperate lunge into the abyss.

This isn’t to say that blitz chess doesn’t reward quick thinking. But even in the lightning war of short time controls, calculated aggression is far more effective than impulsive flailing. This experience has become a turning point for me. It’s a constant reminder to take a deep breath, to analyze the position carefully, and to resist the urge to rush into moves.

Fritz, the victor in this battle of patience, taught me a valuable lesson. Chess, like life, rewards those who can wait for the right moment, who can weather the storm, and who can strike with precision and purpose. Patience may not win every game, but it certainly won’t lose you nearly as many.

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