Monday, July 25 IM David Vigorito Sharp Opening Trap in a Rapid Game
This was an unusual (for me) rapid game. I played a sharp opening and got to play a wonderful trap that I was fortunately familiar with. This game reminded me that is a lot of fun to play sharply. My opponent made one mistake and then some accurate calculation and it was all wrapped up.
Tuesday, July 26 IM Bill Paschall Elite Games from the Capablanca Memorial 2016 Part 1 (strategy, tactics)
Vasily Ivanchuk again shows he is a premier player, dominating the Capablanca Memorial. His latest victim is Hungarian veteran Zoltan Almasi . Regarded as a strong theoretician, Almasi is led into a quiet , non-theoretical system by Ivanchuk, who is unpredictable. This game shows the danger of playing “routine” moves against a very strong opponent. Black plays 5…d5 in the opening, where a queenside fianchetto setup would be more flexible. He also makes the fundamental mistake of exchanging on d4 with 8..cd too early, a mistake known since the time of Akiba Rubinstein. Ivanchuk impresses with subtle moves like 12.Qe3 and then deals up a fantastic attack starting with a pawn sacrifice to open lines on the kingside.
Wednesday, July 27 FM Dennis Monokroussos Scotching the Scotch (strategy, tactics)
Garry Kasparov was very successful with the Scotch in the recent blitz super-tournament in St. Louis, winning three games with the opening while drawing two and losing just one. But that one loss was especially noteworthy, as it was Caruana who dictated the play with an almost completely new and interesting-looking idea. It was a good game by blitz standards, and the variation in the game is one that merits a closer look by those who play either side of the Scotch.
Thursday, July 28 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Executing Typical Sicilian Ideas – Improve Your Worst Piece! (strategy, tactics)
In a typical Sicilian battle for dark squares, Black executes a standard idea to improve his worst piece, the bishop on e7! However, White plays well to maintain balance by improving his worst piece the knight on c2. Yet, the positional game quickly explodes as White incorrectly opens the h-file. Watch out for nice tactics, and a nice bonus at the end…can you identify the worst piece you need to improve to win the game? Yes, it is Black’s king!
Friday, July 29 GM Bryan Smith Exploring Rook Endgames, Part 3: (endgame)
In part three of his series on rook endings, GM Bryan Smith analyzes an ending he played some years ago, where a full rook ending results in the defender being restricted to passivity, followed by a turning movement of the white king. Instructive moments early in the endgame show Black’s missed chances to obtain counterplay and draw.
Monday, July 18 IM Valeri Lilov How To Handle Unprepared Attacks (middlegame)
When our opponent starts an unprepared attack, we usually know that there is an efficient way to counter it, though we don’t know exactly what it is. Often times, the best method is to follow a number of principles which will help you take care of all important issues in the position.
Tuesday, July 19 IM Bill Paschall My Chess Comeback 2016! Part 3 (strategy, middlegame)
White chooses a solid line against the Sicilian Dragon, surprising Black, who expected a quieter 1.d4 opening. Black plays an inferior variation with 11…e6. The best for Black would be 11…Nd7 to avoid exchanges. White, a lower-rated player who would be content with a draw, gains the upper hand and Black is forced to defend ingeniously. In the critical stage, White is overambitious with his 25. f6 and suddenly Black has all the chances with a good knight versus bad bishop.
Wednesday, July 20 FM Dennis Monokroussos Korchnoi and the Art of Defense, Part 2 (tactics)
Aivars Gipslis was a countryman of Mikhail Tal’s and an almost exact contemporary, and like Tal he loved to attack. In this game he finds a beautiful and dangerous attacking idea that would have succeeded brilliantly against many players, but against the great defense of Viktor Korchnoi his ingenious idea was even more brilliantly rebuffed. In this game Korchnoi demonstrates a very important defensive principle; namely, that the defender can often return the material sacrificed by the opponent in order to wrest the initiative from him. Just how effective that policy can be, you shall see!
Thursday, July 21 GM Leonid Kritz A Tricky Sicilian (strategy, tactics)
A very interesting game in which both players showed many non-standard ideas. It does not happen too often that White can put his bishop on c3 or b4 in Najdorf, but this was one of the major themes in this game. A nice strategic battle with a typical Sicilian finale!
Friday, July 22 GM Bryan Smith Exploring Rook Endgames, Part 2: Flohr-Vidmar (endgame)
In the second part of this series on rook endgames, we take a look at how the famous technician Salo Flohr wins a minutely-better endgame. Also touched on is the subject of passive versus active defense.
Monday, July 11 IM Valeri Lilov Anand’s Attacking Concepts (middlegame)
Vishy Anand has been one of the greatest chess players and brilliant attackers for the last few decades. What concepts does he use in his games to succeed? Check IM Lilov’s video to find out!
Tuesday, July 12 IM Bill Paschall My Chess Comeback 2016! part 2 (opening, strategy)
Wednesday, July 13 FM Dennis Monokroussos Korchnoi and the Art of Defense, Part 1 (tactics)
Mikhail Tal is one of the all-time great attacking players, but in Viktor Korchnoi he met his kryptonite. Korchnoi was a player who could not be bluffed, and he was a match for Tal (and maybe then some) when it came to calculation. He loved to accept sacrifices offered in the interest of an attack, and he would often hunker down, rebuff the attack, and win with his extra material. That’s just the formula he follows in this game, and we will see Korchnoi demonstrate a number of important defensive principles along the way to a convincing win.
Thursday, July 14 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Instructive Use of the e5 Outpost in the French (opening, strategy)
Everyone knows about the “French” bishop and the backward e6-pawn. However, it is often the control of the e5-outpost that is most unpleasant for a French player. Watch how Eugene uses this outpost first with his knight, but then the rook simply replaces it! The Exchange sacrifice causes so many practical issues for Black that she falls apart in just a few moves. A classic Exchange sac for positional domination!
Friday, July 15 GM Bryan Smith Exploring Rook Endings, Part 1: Smyslov-Benko (endgame)
The first of a new series by GM Smith on rook endings – here we will see how the seventh World Champion transforms a basic positional advantage in the rook ending, through many pawn exchanges, to simplified winning endgame where the silhouettes of the original advantage can still be seen.
Monday, July 4 IM Valeri Lilov Preesure and Attack (strategy, middlegame)
Pressuring the opponent always feels quite good. Bobby Fischer used to say he most likes the moment where his opponent’s ego is broken due to the huge pressure he has endured. Many players try to capture the right steps to achieving this pressure but very few can actually keep it for more than a few moves. How to do it successfully? Check this video to learn more!
Tuesday, July 5 IM Bill Paschall My Chess Comeback 2016! Part 1 (openings)
White plays a King’s Indian attack formation against the Slav; a safe, but essentially harmless opening if black defends accurately. Black is able to keep the position fairly closed, despite giving up the bishop pair with 13…Bxf3. Problems surface as black plays passively in the middlegame with moves such as 20..Ng6 and 23…Nf8. In time pressure, Black becomes overly optimistic with the reckless 36…g5 ?? Black is suddenly facing the bishop pair and a dangerous pawn majority on the kingside , when further resistance is impossible .
Wednesday, July 6 FM Dennis Monokroussos Chess’s Past Still The Present Against Its Future (openings)
In his incredible career, Viktor Korchnoi defeated nine world chess champions (though not necessarily when they were world champions), and that includes reigning champ Magnus Carlsen. Carlsen was only 14 at the time, you might say, but by then he had been a grandmaster for more than a year, and in any case Korchnoi was 73 years old! The game was instructive throughout, even if the game’s conclusion turned out to be an anti-climax of sorts. But there’s a lesson there too; chess players must exercise vigilance in more ways than one!
Thursday, July 7 GM Leonid Kritz Avoid Overly Optimistic Sacrifices! (openings, tactics)
After the opening Black got a very solid position, a typical situation for this type of pawn structure where White has a symbolic advantage, but Black’s position looks like a castle with no holes. However, with 17….c5 Eljanov decided to give up a pawn to get some virtual counterplay. His view was too optimistic, though, and after a couple of moves it was clear that White has a pawn for free. The young Chinese player did not have any trouble converting his advantage.
Friday, July 8 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Lesson From My Komodo Match, Part 4: Play Actively When Possible! (openings, tactics)
In the final game of Handicap match, Komodo sacrifices a piece for a pawn! This the biggest of the odds so far for GM Perelshteyn. Can he punish the best chess engine in the world? Watch and enjoy!
Monday, June 27 IM David Vigorito Shocking Sacrifice Befuddles Computers (tactics)
This was one of my strangest games ever. My opponent played a somewhat dubious opening. My position looked better (to both human eyes and computers), but my opponent came up with an amazing idea. Almost everything went wrong for me in this tournament, so it felt a bit unlucky, but I must give my opponent credit for such creativity!
Tuesday, June 28 IM Bill Paschall Fighting Chess From the European Championship (openings, endgame)
Black holds the balance in a sharp line of the exchange Grunfeld where white employed the offbeat 8.h3. Setting up an ideal double fianchetto formation, Piorun, one of Poland’s top young players; finds his way with creative idea of 13..Qe8 and the active 15…f6. White should be able to hold the balance, but falters after black finds a powerful combination with the original 22…Rxc4 ! Black allows an exchange of queens, but gains a slight initiative without any risk. Although the ending was tenable, white misses his chances and black converts a full point.
Wednesday, June 29 FM Dennis Monokroussos How to Attack Like a Kid at (Almost) 80 (strategy)
Nearly 80 years old at the time of this game, Viktor Korchnoi defeated Fabiano Caruana with the black pieces – and how! Caruana didn’t blunder anything, or fall into some sort of opening trap, or get slowly outplayed in a “boring” position due to his opponent’s many decades of experience. Nor was this Korchnoi defeating Caruana when he was but a tyke; Caruana was already over 2700 at the time of this game. Instead, Korchnoi played aggressive, energetic chess, flinging his pawns at his opponent’s kingside and defeating him with a direct attack. It’s easy to play this sort of chess when one is young (though playing this well is another matter), but one would never know to look at the game that Black was 61 years older than his opponent. It’s almost preposterous, but this is an illustration of what an incredible player the chess world has just lost.
Thursday, June 30 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Lesson From My Komodo Match, Part 3: Be Alert, No Matter How Safe Your Position Is (endgame, strategy)
GM Perelshteyn takes on best chess engine in the world, Komodo, in game 3 of the Handicap match. The opening goes great for White, as GM Perelshteyn retains the pawn with a comfortable position. It looks like White has no risk of losing, right? Well, see what happens in a few moves after only one mistake by White… The engine shows amazing endgame technique!
Friday, July 1 GM Bryan Smith A Repetoire Against the Modern With 4.Be3, Part2 (openings, tactics)
Besides 4…a6, Black has a much older and more solid option, 4…c6. Nevertheless, with calm positional play White can put series pressure on the opponent. In this video, we see how.