Some useful learning points come out of this game analysis:
- Avoid rigid thinking in the opening. Both White and Black had early opportunities to significantly improve their game. On my part, a largely emotional desire to avoid pushing center pawns - because I preferred to think of the English is a "flank opening" - limited my options. Black appeared to similarly follow his preferred opening structure without considering other opportunities.
- Avoid premature resolution of central pawn tension (as occurred on move 10). This is a typical amateur mistake. The resulting position needs to be fully evaluated and most often piece development before any such pawn exchanges will obtain better results.
- Look for options which keep pieces dynamic rather than limiting their capabilities (White's move 18)
- Consider longer-term consequences for piece placement, including exposure to attack (Black's move 18)
- Examine any possible tactics close to the king (the missed Nxf2 sacrifice, a possibility in several variations.)