Monday, February 13 IM David Vigorito Magnus the Tactician II (openings, tactics)
Carlsen is known as a positional player and endgame specialist, but he started out as a great tactician. Today’s game shows that he is more than capable of quick and powerful calculation. In the midst of a complicated middlegame with both kings under heavy fire, Carlsen finds all the right moves with amazing speed, reminding us all what he is capable of.
Tuesday, February 14 IM Bill Paschall Bishop with a Vengeance (tactics, endgame)
A typical Queen’s Indian Petrosian variation is reached, with a pawn structure most typical of the Queen’s Gambit. Exchanging pawns on d5 at move 10, white strives to shut down Reshevsky’s bishop on b7. Shortly thereafter, Evans makes the questionable decision to trade pieces on e4 and the black d5 pawn inches closer, gaining space and more potential for the “bad” bishop on b7. Finally, white allows a devastating exchange sacrifice to clear the entire diagonal and Sammy wraps up this very instructive game by initiating a strong attack in combination with the now lethal b7 bishop.
Wednesday, February 15 FM Dennis Monokroussos The Advance Variation Punishes Another Caro-Kann (tactics)
Two shows ago we saw Volokitin crush Fridman in a very attractive Advance Caro-Kann, and now (apologies to Caro fans) we see White give the Caro another pounding. In the earlier game, Black opened the queenside and White took advantage; this time he plays more solidly on the queenside only to get punished on the kingside. Or rather, first on the kingside, then on the queenside, and finally in the center! These are tough times for Caro-Kann players, and White should know how to take advantage while the theoretical trend is in his favor.
Thursday, February 16 GM Leonid Kritz How Not to Play the Italian (openings, tactics)
This is a disastrous game for Topalov in which he loses in just under 30 moves with white, and that happens in seemingly such a riskless opening like Italian. The reason is that White obviously overestimated the safety cushion of his position. So demonstrated a very interesting way of playing this line – with early h6-g5. This is obviously an important variation from the theoretical point of view and will be subject to further discussion.
Friday, February 17 GM Bryan Smith Coffeehouse Chess, Part 6 (openings)
In this video, GM Bryan Smith shows a fascinating correspondence game which features the Sicilian Wing Gambit, a queen sacrifice, and a king hunt.
Monday, January 23 IM Valeri Lilov Mastering the Openings (opening)
Setting up the right strategy in the opening is a top priority task for everyone. While most chess players try to study long book lines to feel better prepared, they often get confused when the opponent chooses a sideline or moves astray from the well-known book lines. How to find the right strategy and what are the keys to a successful opening? Check out IM Lilov’s lecture to learn more!
Tuesday, January 24 IM Bill Paschall A Grand Battle (opening, strategy)
Grandmaster Julio Granda Zuniga is having a resurgence of late. He is known for his lack of theoretical knowledge, but makes up for that with terrific creativity, fighting spirit and technique. In this game he avoids any opening debate with 4.Bd2 against the Nimzo. Granda steers toward a better structure with 10.dc and then showcases his creativity with the elegant and original maneuver Rc3-Rd3-Rb3-Rb4 from where the rook operates perfectly. White gains a positional advantage firstly, and then goes up a pawn to transfer to an ending where he showcases his technique. Grandelius has one chance for counterplay, but misses his shot.
Wednesday, January 25 FM Dennis Monokroussos Refuting the Caro-Kann? (openings, tactics)
The title is an exaggeration, of course, but one of Black’s current options against the Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann has taken a serious hit. Volokitin grabs the initiative early on against the strong German GM Daniel Fridman, and aside from an inaccuracy on move 14 he plays a splendid game, crushing his opponent in a miniature.
Thursday, January 26 GM Leonid Kritz How Not to Play the Nimzo-Indian (openings)
In this game Black got a very comfortable position after the opening, but then instead of playing slowly and positionally, he decided to play sharply and opened the position with 15….d5? This is a typical mistake in such situation because White’s bishops captured the board immediately. The lesson to learn from this game is that depending on the pawn structure fighting for the center may not always be optimal.
Friday, January 27 GM Bryan Smith Kasparov against the Torre Attack (strategy)
In 2015 the retired former world champion Garry Kasparov played a blitz match against his former challenger, Nigel Short. Although these were blitz games, they were of a high quality and Kasparov won in crushing fashion. Here we see one game, where he uses a sharp system against the Torre Attack which could be of great interest to players of the King’s Indian Defense.
Monday, January 16 IM Valeri Lilov Napoleon’s Masterpiece (strategy)
How many of you know that one of the greatest warlords of all time: Napoleon Bonaparte was an avid chess player? Not only that, but he was very strong at chess as well. Some of his games remain the prettiest and most effective lessons on attacking. Check IM Lilov’s new lecture to learn Bonaparte’s methods of attack!
Tuesday, January 17 IM Bill Paschall Besting the Berlin (opening, tactics)
White avoids the drawish Berlin endgame with the now trendy 4.d3. Adams seems to lure Topalov into a quiet line at first with 5.Bxc6 ,a form of exchange variation, but quickly play evolves into a tactical slug fest. It’s clear that GM Adams had prepared the new idea of playing to sacrifice a pawn with 15.e5 !? and establish a knight at e4 with great compensation. Topalov played well but missed the best line to centralize with 16…Qd5 and then later went astray with the passive retreat 24…Qf8. Objectively, the white pawn sacrifice is sound and interesting, but black should be fine with accurate defense.
Wednesday, January 18 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Brilliant Attack by an Unknown Player (tactics)
FM Srdjan Zakic isn’t exactly a household name among chess fans, but if he plays a few more games like this one he will be. Zakic throws the kitchen sink at his higher-rated opponent, and wins in spectacular style. Perhaps the most impressive aspect is that he often switches from spectacular moves to quiet ones, almost always finding the absolute best move in a position much more amenable to computer analysis than human play.
Thursday, January 19 GM Eugene Perelshteyn The Power of a Positional Pawn Sacrifice (opening, strategy)
Nimzo quickly transposes into the Catalan, where White offers a pawn for positional control. Can you find the key ideas for White? Black decides to keep the extra pawn but allows positional concessions. But a logical move leads to a forcing sequence that wins the pawn right back. White takes the game to an instructive endgame using domination! But it’s not easy to make progress, you have to find the winning plan!
Friday, January 20 IM David Vigorito An Unusual Trap in the Najdorf (opening, tactics)
I have been playing the Najdorf Sicilian for over two decades, yet my opponent manages to catch me with an original trap in a rare and generally ineffective sideline. Disgusted, I bear down and manage to hold a miserable pawn down position.
Monday, January 9 IM Valeri Lilov Petrosian’s Method of Attack (middlegame, strategy)
The world champion Tigran Petrosian was one of the greatest strategicians and positional players of all time. His rivals used to call him the “Iron Tigran” due to his solid approach and bulletproof strategies. The effectiveness of his play was mainly due to his ability to follow simple rules that helped him to build up very solid both defensive and attacking type of positions. Learn his method in IM Lilov’s new video!
Tuesday, January 10, IM Bill Paschall Lessons From My Recent Games, Part 2 (opening, strategy)
Black plays the risky Kavalek or Soltis variation of the King;s Indian Defense; a highly hypermodern treatment against White’s solid fianchetto system. In this game, Black seeks complications with 8…Bg4 instead of the more solid 8..e5 as is more common theoretically. White goes down the main line , but is unaware of the idea of 12. Rb1 ! , an improvement played against Paschall years ago by GM Alek Wojtkiewicz. Paschall later finds the key idea of 15…Bh6 seeking dynamic counter-play, as unbeknownst to him was also played by GM Soltis years ago. Black keeps the initiative and , despite mutual time pressure, finds a piece sacrifice to decisively break the White king’s defenses.
Wednesday, January 11 FM Dennis Mnokroussos Remembering Taimanov (endgame)
The late Mark Taimanov (1926-2016) was one of the world’s best players from the 1950s through the early 1970s, a great player deserving to be known for more than the variation of the Sicilian that bears his name and his 6-0 loss to Bobby Fischer in their 1971 Candidates match. Here, for instance, we see him defeat then world-champion Anatoly Karpov – with the black pieces – in a very impressive game culminating in a beautiful combination.
Thursday, January 12 GM Leonid Kritz An Important Idea in the Najdorf (opening)
This is an interesting game from the opening perspective. White sacrifices a pawn, but gets very good compensation and eventually ends up in a better position. Then we see a demonstration of how to play positions with small, stable advantage.
Friday, January 13 GM Bryan Smith Carauana’s Queen Sacrifice in London (tactics)
In the sixth round of the 2016 London Chess Classic, Fabiano Caruana won a beautiful game with a positional queen sacrifice. Here GM Bryan Smith explains this unusual game.
Monday, January 2 IM Valeri Lilov Setting up an Attack (strategy, middlegame)
Attacking is a complex subject. Setting up the right features for attacking is always a challenge, even to the most experienced players of all classes. Check IM Lilov’s new videos to study more on how to build up strong attacks!
Tuesday, January 3 IM Bill Paschall Lessons From My Recent Games, Part 1 (tactics)
IM Paschall plays against a veteran FM with a wily and unusual opening repertoire. In this game, we see the Two Knights Tango, a favorite of specialist IM Georgi Orlov. Paschall prepares specifically for this opponent, allowing transposition to a NImzo with the move 4.Nc3. Black goes his own way with a series of highly unusual and non-committal moves including d6,Bd7, and h6. Black provocative play is incorrect, but difficult to exploit. White overextends a bit on both sides with the risky plan of h4-h5 and b4 in the resulting King’s Indian type structure. In the end, white relies on the classic plan to play on the white squares and exploit the “bad” dark squared or King’s Indian bishop.
Wednesday, January 4 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Brilliancy in a London Sideline (openings)
The London System has shown itself in recent years to be a surprisingly rich opening, and this game – albeit one from several decades ago – helps to demonstrate the diverse approaches available to White. Even with seemingly all the time in the world, Black, playing in the finals of the world correspondence championship, was unable to solve the very tricky problems posed by his opponent, and lost a short game in spectacular fashion. London foes, be careful!
Thursday, January 5 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Strategic and Tactical Lesson from the World Champion: Carlsen-Karjakin World Champ Match, Rapid Playoff, Game 4 (openings, strategy, tactics)
With everything on the line, Karjakin faces an impossible task. Beat the World Champ…with Black! Can he do it? Watch and learn how Magnus Carlsen surprises Sergey in the opening and builds a powerful Maroczy Bind setup. However, the challenger is able to keep the tension on the board by avoiding early trades. The game builds up with Magnus masterfully maneuvering his knights to fight for the d5 outpost, while Sergey finds a nice h-pawn push to create imbalances. Yet again, Carlsen emerges as a superior strategist, using draw odds to outplay the challenger to finish the match with a spectacular Queen sacrifice leading to mate! Wow, what a game!
Friday, January 6 GM Bryan Smith Change of Structure and Change of Direction (strategy)
In this video, GM Bryan Smith shows an instructive game where the underestimation of the quirky but thematic kingside pawn structure quickly leads Black from an excellent position to defeat.