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 »

What is the best move for black?

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?

Solution …


Chess can be a very complicated game. This is no news. And sometimes we over complicate things without knowing it. We get distracted and don’t see what’s the leading motif in a position.

See the diagram. It is black’s turn. The position is quite messy. There are a lot of possibilities. Do you see the correct solution?

I found this problem on Chess Tempo (number 738). It’s from a game between Franz Jittenmeier and Ludger Grewe (2234) played in 1998. Black found the correct solution and won.