Monday, December 5 IM Valeri Lilov Attack in the Opening (strategy, openings)
Attacking in the opening is very tricky. Everyone wants to attack but what are the right features to setup an attack early on? Check IM Lilov’s videos to study more!
Tuesday, December 6 IM Bill Paschall Sharp Struggle at the Russian Superfinal
Grandmaster Tomashevsky deals with the Classical Variation of the Nimzo-Indian (4.Qc2) using a relatively new and successful system. Black plays an early b6 , allowing white to set up a strong pawn center, in order to counterattack with a quick c5. White’s play is non critical. The best line of attack seems to be the alternative, the sharp 6.e5 leading to complications. Bocharov’s quieter approach with 6.d5 gives black good counterplay along the e-file and seems to leave white slightly overextended. The game becomes insanely complicated later as both sides play sharply for the win. Tomashevsky finds an inventive queen sacrifice and Bocharov matches him blow for blow until mistepping in an objectively equal position.
Wednesday, December 7 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Wild Modern from the European Club Cup (opening, tactics)
Super-GM Dmitry Andreikin was a heavy favorite against Marco Baldauf in their game from the 2016 European Club Cup, and he did go on to win the game. Along the way there were many adventures, though, and while Baldauf didn’t make the most of his opportunities he did take advantage of enough of them to give his elite opponent a fright. It was an entertaining game, and an instructive one for those who play either side of the Modern or the King’s Indian.
Thursay, December 8 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Accelerated Dragon: Tricky Tactics in the Middlegame! (tactics, middlegame, endgame)
White makes some positional concessions early in the game, but what follows next is instructive tactical melee that requires both players to be extra accurate. The resulting endgame is easy to misplay. White’s knights get carried away with too much pawn grabbing, allowing Black to set up an elegant trap. Can you find it?
Friday, December 9 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 5 (openings)
In the fifth video of “Coffeehouse Chess”, we see an old king hunt played between two famous study composers.
Monday, November 28 IM Valeri Lilov Pawn Structure in the Opening (opening, strategy)
Pawn structure is all that matters when it comes down to a successful opening. Setting up a better structure is always a challenge. Let IM Lilov teach you the keys to making a better pawn structure in the opening.
Tuesday, November 29 IM Bill Paschall Provocative Play in the Classical Pirc (opening, tactics)
Jakovenko turns to the classical variation against the Pirc defense. Black plays a very risky system involving an early nc6-e5, allowing the pawns to be doubled at e6 and e5. The game transforms into what is basically a King’s Indian, with Jakovenko maneuvering Na4 and playing 14.c4. White balances a queenside attack with timely kingside defense. Of special note is the beautiful plan of 21.Nb1 followed by the “river guarding” rook maneuver 22.Ra3. In the end, Black’s attack falls short, and his kingside is left weakened. Jakovenko picks up the pieces in a better endgame as well as a full point!
Wednesday, November 30 FM Dennis Monokroussos Kramnik Busts the Najdorf? (opening, endgame)
Vladimir Kramnik has avoided 1.e4 for most of his career, but whenever he plays any opening he ends up making a valuable contribution to theory. This game was no different, and his achievement is all the more impressive for coming against Boris Gelfand, who is not just an elite player but one of the all-time great Najdorf specialists. The whole game is noteworthy, culminating in an instructive opposite-colored bishop ending. As Kramnik very clearly shows, there are plenty of cases where they aren’t even drawish – something worth keeping in mind.
Thursday, December 1 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Instructive Battle in the English, Statics vs Dynamics – Grandmasters Blunder, Too (strategy, tactics)
In this game White avoids main line KID to steer the game into the English, or Closed-Sicilian with reversed colors. Watch and learn how Statics and Dynamics play a vital role for choosing White’s moves and notice the shift in strategy once White has won the positional battle and left Black with a poor pawn structure. A nice bonus: can you spot the tactics that a strong GM missed at the end?
Friday, December 2 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 4 (tactics)
In part 4 of his “Coffeehouse Chess” series, GM Bryan Smith covers an epic battle from 1924 between David Janowski and Edward Lasker, where a queen sacrifice leads to a really fantastic and unusual position.
Monday, November 21 IM Valeri Lilov What is Key to Initiative (middlegame)
Initiative is known to be the highest most important bit of attacking. How to acquire a strong attacking initiative brings up an important theme to learn from IM Lilov’s new lecture!
Tuesday, November 22 IM Bill Paschall Bundesliga Apocalypse
Grandmaster David Navara is known for his attacking play. In this game he imbalances the game early , giving up a bishop for knight to prevent his opponent from castling. Later, he sacrifices a rook for only 2 pawns and an attack against the opponents king. Black finds it very difficult to coordinate and his extra rook is out of play. The finish of the game is extraordinary, with Navara calculating a decisive king walk into his opponents’ territory , despite both queens still being on the board!
Wednesday, November 23 FM Dennis Monokroussos Dig a Deeper Hole (openings)
One of the first things we learn in studying positional play is to avoid holes, and with good reason. But as Bobby Fischer famously said, “you’ve gotta give squares to get squares”, and if one can create an even more worrisome hole in the opponent’s position by creating one of our own, then it’s worth it. Salov-Spassky is a great example, and even a great – a former world champion – failed to appreciate the danger.
Thursday, November 24 IM David Vigorito A Strong Novelty Turns the Tables in a Quiet Sideline (opening, endgame)
A few weeks before this game was played, Ivan Saric got ground down in an endgame that arises in a sideline of the King’s Indian. In this game he unleashes a wonderful novelty. Black sacrifices the exchange and opens up the game to any result. Note especially the use of Black’s rook pawns to squeeze White’s position on both sides of the board.
Friday, November 25 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 3 (tactics)
In the third episode of “Coffeehouse Chess”, GM Bryan Smith explores a beautiful sacrificial attack by attacking legend Viktor Kupreichik.
Monday, November 14 IM Valeri Lilov Carlsen’s Ruy Lopez (openings)
Magnus Carlsen is one of the history’s most brilliant positional players. His ability to handle the opening structure and prepare a powerful piece domination have inspired many. Study IM Lilov’s new lecture to learn how to world reigning champion tackles the oldest chess opening with finesse!
Tuesday, November 15 IM Bill Paschall Bluffing Like Tal (opening, strategy)
The legendary World Champion Mikhail Tal was knows for his ability to bluff opponents with sacrifices nearly too complicated to calculate. His tradition has been carried on by fellow Latvian GM Alexei Shirov. In the following game, Shirov borrows the element of bluff , so typical of Tal’s style. On 2 occasions white offers the sacrifice of his c-pawn and then invites black to gain a tempo and space with his provocative move 17.Nh4, practically inviting the logical move 17..g5 from black. Shirov’s opponent, Harika, declines all 3 offers from Shirov and plays in an extremely passive and meek style. Harika should have accepted the first pawn sacrifice, and she even missed a miraculous chance to draw the game by force near the end. Perhaps the idea of active play was never on Black’s mind, who was intimidated by the aggressive style of Shirov.
Wednesday, November 16 FM Dennis Monokroussos The Makings of the Man: The Early Karjakin (opening, endgame)
With the World Championship upon us it makes sense to have a look at the participants in action. In this video we take a look at an impressive victory by a young (17-year-old) Karjakin over Alexander Grischuk, and even in this game from nine and a half years ago we see some of the virtues that have propelled him to a world championship match. His opening preparation was remarkably deep, and ability to fight and persevere was also noteworthy. In this game we don’t yet see him put his best foot forward in the endgame: some parts of it were played very well, but there were some inaccuracies and errors as well. But in the end he kept at it, and the final phase was handed magnificently.
Thursday, November 17 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 2 (opening, tactics)
In part two of his series “Coffeehouse Chess”, GM Smith shows a creative, exciting, but also flawed encounter between two unique players from Georgia: Baduur Jobava and Tamas Gelashvili.
Friday, November 18 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Instructive Way To Meet Early Bb5+ in the Nf3,c3 Setup vs the Accelerated Dragon (opening, middlegame, endgame)
Pay attention to White’s opening play after the Bb5+! While …Nc6 is more popular Eugene believes that …Nd7! is better as it prevents White from damaging Black’s pawn structure with Bxc6 later on. Black was better prepared in the opening and could have won material with a nice tactic early on. Can you find it?
Monday, November 7 IM Valeri Lilov Build a Skeleton (middlegame)
Setting up the right pawn structure and backing it up with a good piece skeleton isn’t an easy task. In this lecture, IM Lilov will teach you how these two work perfectly together in the hands of the first world champion Wilhelm Steinitz!
Tuesday, November 8 IM Bill Paschall Giri Starts Hot at the Tal Memorial (middlegame)
Giri faces the super solid Gelfand, as black in a fianchetto King’s Indian. Black trades his strong point, the e5 pawn, for some freedom of movement, and then provokes Gelfand with Nc6-e7-f5. White plays well, albeit becoming slightly overextended with 13.g4, he reaches a better position, but blunders a crucial tempo with the mistaken 18.Qf4, Gelfand indeed becomes overextended and grabs a rather risky pawn on offer by Giri. White could have saved the game with perfect play, but collapses due to pressure on the board and the clock after a key Giri sacrifice. The entire concept of Giri’s advantage and sacrifice depended entirely on the power of centralization of the pieces.
Wednesday, November 9 FM Dennis Monokroussos Dvoretsky v Pohla (openings)
The famous author and trainer Mark Dvoretsky just passed away, and while his literary legacy will live on for a long time (and rightly so), his abilities as a competitive chess player are likely to get short shrift. So we’ll take a very small step towards remedying that with a look at a nice win from one of his tournament successes, an event in which he finished ahead of Mikhail Tal, among others. Dvoretsky won a good game, but it has to be admitted that it could have been even nicer, as Tal himself demonstrated. You’ll want to watch the video, if only for the Tal anecdote!
Thursday, November 10 GM Leonid Kritz Punishing a Passive Caro-Kann (strategy)
A game from the last round from the Olympiad where Bareev obviously was too focused on playing safe. This resulted in Caruana outplaying him in a typical, strategic way. This game is a very good example of how to play 3.e5 system against Caro-Kann and what to do if your opponent plays to slowly.
Friday, November 11 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 1 (tactics)
The purpose of this series is to entertain you with wild, somewhat flawed but beautiful games. Through enjoyment, however, you can learn a lot. Part one covers the game F.Perez-J.Durao, a wild King’s Indian where the board becomes spectacularly lopsided.