Monday, March 23 IM David Vigorito Needle in a Haystack (openings)
Tuesday, March 24 IM Bill Paschall Mohr Flohr! Part 4 (middlegame, tactics)
We see a classic battle with the great Emanuel Lasker. Black captures dubiously white’s outposted knight on e5 in a typical hanging pawn middlegame. Flohr gains the initative with 2 raking bishops and breaks through with an ingenius exchange sacrifice, which in turn gives him a monstrous passed pawn. Lasker is unable to generate any serious counterplay. A masterful win against one of the greatest chess players of all time.
Wednesday, March 25 FM Dennis Monokroussos One Diagonal Per Bishop (tactics)
When one plays both …e6 and …g6, there’s a serious danger that very weak dark squares will result. If the bishop develops along the path cleared by the e-pawn, then h6 and g7 are likely to be weak; if it is fianchettoed instead then d6 could be a problem, and in both cases Black can have trouble with the f6 square. Those difficulties were convincingly demonstrated in the game Bitensky-Ciobanu from the 2015 European championship, as you will see. Black wound up with dark squared problems all over the place, and eventually fell prey to a beautiful kingside attack that highlighted all the weak dark squares in her camp. White’s attacking play was instructive, but one shouldn’t forget about the preconditions that made it possible – that’s very instructive too, even if only as a model of what we should avoid.
Thursday, March 26 GM Eugene Perelshteyn A Surprise Weapon in the Accelerated Dragon: Invite White to Castle Long! (openings)
Learn a cool weapon to steer the game in the regular Dragon on your own terms with 8…Nd7! An original idea by the creative genius Bent Larsen. The knight transfer allows a fight for the critical c4 square. This old idea is completely overlooked in modern theory and you can easily surprise your opponents! Also, get a master class on a positional exchange sacrifice in the best traditions of Petrosian.
Friday, March 27 GM Bryan Smith Rubinstein’s Great Endgames, Part 7 (endgame)
In this game, Akiba Rubinstein shows unusual and deep strategic maneuvering in exploiting the two bishops in an endgame resulting from the Exchange Variation of the Spanish Game.”
Monday, March 9 IM Valeri Lilov Exploiting Lead in Space (middlegame)
What do we know about space? Most players fight for the center to restrict the opponent’s pieces and get more space. What should we do after this? IM Lilov’s suggestions can help you reveal the full potential of winning with a space advantage!
Tuesday, March 10 IM David Vigorito Inside Coverage of the USCL 2014 – part 13 (strategy, tactics)
US Chess League continues with a win over former US Champion Joel Benjamin. Both sides try to drag the each other into unfamiliar territory with an unusual opening move order. I was able to use my experience from both sides of an unusual opening to bring down my even more experienced opponent!
Wednesday, March 11 FM Dennis Monokroussos Tartakower the Grandmaster (openings, middlegame, endgame)
Last time we saw Tartakower overwhelm a weaker opponent with some sharp, crazy opening play. In this game, we see that he could be just as devastating against another top player using a more well-rounded approach. Richard Reti was one of the very best players in the world and around his peak at this point, but Tartakower very smoothly outplayed him with the black pieces, besting his great opponent in all three phases of the game (opening, middlegame and ending). It’s so smooth that it’s practically a model game, and it’s very rare that one top player can win in such a style against one of his peers. His ability to win games of all sorts, from openings of all sorts, makes Tartakower a good model for both students and for those looking for entertainment as well, and I hope you’ll find this game (and the last one) enjoyable and instructive.
Thursday, March 12 IM Bill Paschall My Best Hits, Part 3
IM Paschall shares his most spectacular win with features an ultra-sharp variation against the Benko Gambit. Black varies from the main line and Paschall employs a creative double pawn sacrifice in the opening to disrupt his opponents pawn structure. Black sleepwalks through the early middlegame and his king is shredded in the center.
Friday, March 13 GM Bryan Smith Rubinstein’s Great Endgames, Part 6 (endgame)
In this classic endgame, Akiba Rubinstein demonstrates the advantage of a superior king position in a complex king and pawn ending.
Monday, March 16 GM Leonid Kritz Home Preparation with No End (tactics)
A very interactive game – basically out of nowhere tactical complications started in the relative quite and strategic endgame. It would be interesting to know how far the opening preparation of the two players lasted. I can imagine that Caruana analyzed until 26….Bd3. The line chosen by Ivanchuk against Gruenfeld is certainly not the most ambitious one, but also it has little risk. However, Caruana eliminated all the play opportunities and forced the game in a drawish endgame.
Tuesday, March 17 IM Bill Paschall Navarra Bashes the Sicilian (opening)
Finishing runner-up in the 2015 European Individual Championship , David Navara plays in uncompromising style against the Sicilian. Notice his unrelenting attacking play on the kingside,and his way of taking advantage of black’s wasted tempi with the maneuver Na5-c4 in the opening. The kingside finale is efficient and white fears no ghosts of black counterplay on the long diagonal a8-h1 . Navara’s calculation is flawless. Also of note is the classical importance demonstrated here of the key square d5 in the Sicilian, as always.
Wednesday, March 18 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Brilliant King Walk (strategy, Ragozin System, steel king)
Even with the queens traded off, it’s rarely a good idea to send one’s king up the middle of a board full of pieces. And yet that’s just what the very strong Russian grandmaster Nikita Vitiugov did in a recent game, and the idea was brilliant. Black’s pieces were all around the king, and yet the king remained safe through thick and thin. Moreoever, Vitiugov wasn’t winning in spite of his king raid, but because of it! He won material in that way, and closed the game quickly with an attack on the enemy king that was partly thanks to his own king’s activity. It was a great game, and a theoretically significant one as well.
Thursday, March 19 IM David Vigorito Inside Coverage of the USCL 2014 – part 14 (strategy, calculation)
More US Chess League coverage! In this game I am poised to take down the multiple league MVP and with Black, no less. After an unusual opening I quickly gain a decisive advantage, but when it is time to deliver the final blow I become confused with the plentiful options and go from a great win to a heartbreaking loss.
Friday, March 20 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Don’t Play Bad Openings! (openings, middlegame, control of center)
Learn how an experienced IM chooses a subpar variation to confuse his young opponent and it backfires badly. Lesson: don’t play bad openings!
Monday, March 2 IM Valeri Lilov Keeping a Good Formation (strategy, middlegame)
Keeping a solid piece and pawn’s formation is the secret of holding against master opponents. How do we achieve it? Check out this new video to learn new concepts to avoid weaknesses and reduce your mistakes!
Tuesday, March 3 Bill Paschall Excerpts from Tbilisi 2015 Part 1 (openings, strategy)
Tomashevsky essays the very rare variation 8.g4 in the Makagonov Variation of the Clasical King’s Indian. On move 10 Grischuk unleashed super deep pawn sacrifice and novelty 10…c6 !? The pawn sacrifice would lead to amazing complications if accepted, so Tomashevsky declines after deep thought. In the ensuing strategic struggle , both sides seem indecisive , but Grischuk much more so. White is able to build up a space advantage and seal it with a beautiful exchange sacrifice. Grischuk is allowed and missed one chance at freedom with a later Rd4 idea and went down in flames.
Wednesday, March 4 Dennis Monokroussos Tartakower the Grand Maverick (openings, tactics)
Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956) was a great experimenter in the opening, willing not only to play the fashionable tabiyas of the day but also lines that had gone out of fashion (or were never in fashion in the first place) as well as those that were ahead of their time. He could play solid lines and gambits, classical variations and hypermodern ones, and preparing for him must have been a hopeless undertaking. In today’s game we’ll see him try a dubious idea of his own invention (3…f5 against the Three Knights), but the confusion he sowed soon resulted in a powerful initiative. Without making any obvious mistakes, White already faced a crisis on move 12. He had to find a nice series of moves that would reestablish the harmony of his position, and when he failed to do so he soon came under a withering attack. This high-risk, high-energy approach wouldn’t have worked against his peers, but it was devastating against lesser lights, and could work for many of us as well in our battles at the club level.
Thursday, March 5 Leonid Kritz Rare Phenomenon – Novelty in Well-Known Position (tactics)
The most interesting aspect of this game is that Carlsen made a novelty in 8. move (Ba6) in a well known position – a phenomenon that occurs very rarely in today’s practice. As a result, white was pressing all the time and had multiple opportunities to put black in big troubles. However, one slow move (a3), and the game turned even though Carlsen still had to find the strong a5 resource at the end.
Friday, March 6 Bryan Smith Rubinstein’s Great Endgames, Part 5 (endgame)
In a somewhat lesser-known game from the St. Petersburg 1909 tournament, Rubinstein shows the great value of centralization in carrying a small advantage in mobility from the opening until a pure knight ending.
Monday, February 23 IM Valeri Lilov The Strength of Piece Coordination (strategy, middlegame)
Understanding how piece coordination works is an essential component in every chess player’s preparation. Check up a brilliant game annotated by IM Lilov, so you can learn the secrets of a successful piece interaction!
Tuesday, February 24 IM Bill Paschall Mohr Flohr! Part 3 (middlegame, strategy)
Wednesday, February 25 FM Dennis M. Crushing the Berlin with 4.d3 (endgame)
The Berlin endgame has been giving White headaches for years, but lately Black has been suffering a bit due to 4.d3. It is by no means the refutation of the Berlin, but it seems that White is enjoying the positions more than Black. That was certainly the case in this game, a powerful attacking performance by India’s #2 player, Pentala Harikrishna. Harikrishna was surprised by his opponent’s novelty on move 8, but no matter: he refuted it over the board! His pawn sac 9.d4! gave him tremendous compensation in the form of long-term attacking prospects, and he delivered on those prospects in grand style. It was an inspiring game for the white cause against the Berlin, and an impressive example of how to conduct a long-term attack.
Thursday, February 26 IM David Vigorito An Accidental Novelty (opening, tactics)
In this game I end up in an opening that I play for both colors, yet my fuzzy memory meant that I was on my own very early. I came up with something new that was not particularly good or bad; it was just new. In new territory both sides have unusual problems to solve.
Friday, February 27 GM Bryan Smith Rubinstein’s Great Endgames, Part 4 (endgame)
In Part 4 of GM Bryan Smith’s series on Akiba Rubinstein’s endgames, we see a classic endgame against a young Alexander Alekhine. Structural themes, transitions to king and pawn endings, and the principle of two weaknesses feature prominently in this example.