Opening traps according to Sagar Shah

Opening books are popular. Actually, I don’t really know why. Because personally, I have never finished an opening book. Most of the opening books in my bookcase lead a sad existence. At best, I will occasionally consult them as a reference.

Perhaps those books are so popular because we hope for a quick victory? Or to avoid having to resign after a couple of moves? No idea. But what I do know is that it is useful to know and avoid falling into opening traps. Or much better: trapping your opponent.

IM Sagar Shah has started a fun series about traps in the opening on the youtube channel of ChessBase India. The videos are released at a rapid pace. They are short and entertaining. The most important thing: you are introduced to some nasty tactics in the opening. Take, for instance, this video about the Accelerated Dragon in the Sicilian defence.

Sagar Shah regularly enlivens his lesson with a light anecdote. In the next video, he is playing a game of chess with his wife. Apparently, you shouldn’t mess with her. Watch how this turned out.

Read More »

A Modern Guide to Checkmating Patterns

The goal of chess is of course to checkmate your opponent. That can be done in different ways.

Chess often revolves around pattern recognition. Once you have studied those patterns and know them by heart, it is a lot easier to see how to checkmate an opponent during a game. That’s what this book is about.

Of course you have not read anything new with this introductory text. But reading (or hearing) and knowing is often something different than doing it in practice. That is precisely why this is such a usefull book. You can practice a lot and will never forget the patterns you have learned.

Read More »

The great photo quiz for chess players

This is a fun quiz for chess history lovers. The quiz was created by Eric Roosendaal. The point is to recognize the 100 best or most famous chess players in history by their photos. The choice of the 100 most famous chess players is of course somewhat arbitrary or a matter of taste.

There are ten levels with ten images each. When you have completed a level, you will get access to the next level. You pass a level as soon as you identify all players. The levels are getting more and more difficult, so it can take some effort to reach a high level.

You have to type the answers, but in many cases the quiz allows for a few common spelling variations. Also, the answers are not case sensitive. And you have unlimited retries, so you can always correct mistakes.
On behalf of Eric I wish you a lot of fun. Start the quiz…

Chess puzzle #52: the bishop can’t do everything

I have to confess that when solving chess puzzles I have the tendency to jump right in. In that way chess becomes a process of trial and error. With quite a lot of errors of course!

I think I can do better. Bit by bit I try to change my bad habits. One of the first things I do now is have a good look at the position. Are there any pieces en prise? What do the pawn formations tell me? Are there any threats? Can I find a motif? Are there any patterns?

If I look in this way generally things get a bit more easy. The motif in the diagram position is clear. White’s pieces are a somewhat “loose”. How can black use this motif to his own advantage? Solution…