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After playing on lichess.org I have been reviewing my games as follows:

  1. Ask for a computer evaluation (Stockfish)
  2. Look at the graph and investigate any wild swings in computer analysis
  3. Try to understand why a particular move was a blunder

While this seems to work, it's a very negative approach as it doesn't seem to find any good moves that I've made. For example, at my level (Blitz ~1230) I might win a game because I laid a trap which my opponent failed to see. Stockfish of course sees through the trap and the evaluation shows I made a suboptimal move even though against this particular opponent it resulted in me winning a piece.

Is there any way to find good moves that I made, rather than just non-mistakes?

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Sorry, computer engines are not designed to think like a human. It's a machine, it's written to play strong chess. There is no intelligence in there to think like that.

The "good moves" you mentioned were actually bad moves at Stockfish's level.

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    +1. From Stockfish's perspective, there are NO "good" (creating some advantage on their own) moves whatsoever - merely "not bad"(not losing some advantage) ones. You win if your moves are less bad than your opponent's. – Annatar Mar 18 at 8:01
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Is there any way to find good moves that I made, rather than just non-mistakes?

Actually, in most cases, it's doing this already. The reason your moves aren't showing up is probably that they're not actually good moves!

the evaluation shows I made a suboptimal move even though against this particular opponent it resulted in me winning a piece

The computer doesn't care about the "narrative" of the game. It looks at the position and evaluates the moves that are available.

I recommend picking one move per game that the computer shows as "non-optimal" and asking yourself: What factors in this position do I need to notice before I'd make this move?

To answer this question is usually very difficult. There is something about the position that you've missed or misunderstood, and it may take you a few minutes (probably more than 5, it has sometimes taken me more than an hour) of investigation before you figure it out. That is how you use Chess computers. They're a tool that can help you evaluate a position. They're not a tool to reassure you that a sub-optimal, albeit romantic, move was actually good.

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it doesn't seem to find any good moves that I've made

You are expecting too much is the real issue here, so don't be so hard on yourself. First, and I do not say this to be mean, but your level of play is going to contain mostly bad moves, but they look that much worse because you are being evaluated by a silicon beast. Keep in mind that Stockfish is FAR superior to the World Champion, so it is going to find better moves on almost every move.

Please try not to take the evaluations so hard. Look at them, but stop beating yourself up over them. I have been a USCF Master for well over 30 years, and Stockfish thinks I am an idiot too. :)

That said, focus on more tactics problems. I was at the high school club I run today, and a few are probably about the same strength as you are, and even one that is better, but the amount of tactical errors is astounding, so keep working on those.

I recommend trying to do 50 per day all within one topic, like pins, skewers, or deflection, for example. Spend no more than two minutes per problem. If you are going to do them online, REALLY try to avoid the mouse until you have really solved it in your head, and are not just moving a piece, and hoping that the computer confirms your "guess". The key is solving not guessing.

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If after making a move the engine’s score for the position is virtually unchanged - it’s good move!

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Run Stockfish in multi-PV mode. This makes Stockfish suggest multiple moves. If the move you chose is preferred by Stockfish to others, then it's a "good move".

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    Not really. Even the second multipv can be an objectively a bad move. It all depends on the position. – SmallChess Mar 15 at 0:25
  • @HelloWorld or one can interpret it as "there's only one good move in the position", and making that good move is still making a good move. – Allure Mar 15 at 0:27

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