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.
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.
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…
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…
Off course there are general principles that apply to endgames. But mere intuition brings you most of the time nowhere. You have to calculate very careful.
See this, seemingly simple rook endgame. If it was black to move, he would have a very easy draw. See for example this variation…
But it is white to move. That makes all the difference in the world. But how? That’s maybe not so easy to spot. Do you see how white can win? Solution…
Here is another one!
Some moments after I finished this post, I surfed to chess.com. Chess.com shows every day a new puzzle. Sometimes these puzzles are quite hard to solve. This one is also a bit tricky. See the second diagram.
It is white to play and win. The first move is obvious. But then it gets a bit tricky. Do you see how to solve this one? Solution…
Goes without saying that not all rook endings end in a draw!
This a position after white’s 25th move. It is from one of my own games. At our level we make (too) many mistakes. But it doesn’t mean that there are no interesting moments.
It is clear that black is much better. The white king is not safe and his pawns are weak. Compare both rooks and queens and it becomes clear that black has a winning advantage. But the situation is still a bit tricky and black can go astray very easy. What is the best move for black?