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.
Monday December 26 IM Valeri Lilov The Catalan Weapon (opening, strategy)
The Catalan is one of the most powerful, yet simple openings known to white pieces. However, very few people know about its strength and the ways to utilize it successfully against black. In his new lecture, IM Lilov presents a beautifully strategic victory by Garry Kasparov vs. Viktor Korchnoi that utilizes all the key aspects of the Catalan weapon!
Tuesday, December 27 IM Bill Paschall European Club Cup Part 3 – The Fake Fianchetto (opening, tactics)
GM Erdos faces an unusual form of the Bogo-Indian/Catalan where black tries to retreat his bishop to d6. White initially plans typical development in Catalan style, but switches plans to open the position with e4 as the game turns into a a type of Slav. It appears that the break with 12..e5 is a new idea in a relatively rare position. White plays ingeniously and launches a quick attack with opposite side castling. Black misses his best defensive chances and the white attack breaks through with decisive force!
Wednesday, December 28 FM Dennis Monokroussos Modern Gambit Play (opening, strategy)
Old-time gambits tended to be about development: a player would sac a pawn (or more) to gain a lead in development, which was used in the service of attacking the enemy king. Contemporary gambits tend to have a different focus, like long-term positional pressure. That’s what the gambit in this game is all about. White’s trendy sac in a sort of Reti/Slav hybrid gave him lots of queenside pressure, and when Black slipped just a bit the result was a paralyzing bind and a speedy win. The moral for all of us is to diversify our gambit play: it’s not just about going for the enemy king!
Thursday, December 29 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Positional Lesson from the World Champion: Carlsen-Karjakin World Champ Match, Rapid Playoff, Game 3 (opening, strategy)
Magnus Carlsen successfully defended his title, but he had to do in the rapid portion of the match. Watch insightful analysis by GM Perelshteyn of how Carlsen masterfully outplays the challenger by giving him a lesson on positional chess. Key concepts to remember: pawn chains, dark square strategy, play on the whole board, and positional pawn sacrifice!
Friday, December 30 IM David Vigorito An Interesting Idea for Black in the Petrosian King’s Indian (opening, middlegame)
Facing the female prodigy Carissa Yip, I run into an ‘inaccuracy’ in the King’s Indian that is supposed to be bad for Black. Carissa went into the line on purpose however, as she had a specific idea in mind. I think her idea is quite viable, although a hasty attacking move led her into strategic difficulties.
Monday, December 19 IM Valeri Lilov Getting the Space Advantage (middlegame)
Getting the space advantage is known to be the highest priority and most important task in every opening or middlegame. How to acquire a strong space advantage brings up an important theme to learn from this lecture!
Tuesday, December 20 IM Bill Paschall European Club Cup Part 2 – Benoni Knightmare (opening, tactics)
White plays a not-so-surprise variation against Benoni that has long gone out of fashion. Lupulescu innovates with the novelty 13.Qc2 and simply loses time. It’s possible that he was inducing black to play play 13…Bf5, but this plan of Qd1 and Nh4 proves a costly waste of time for white. Black demonstrates incredibly the power of quick development and centralization. The sacrificial attack which follows is quite natural, given that the white king is trapped in the center. The finish features an original mating attack by GM Papp Gabor.
Wednesday, December 21 FM Dennis Monokroussos Facing One’s Favorite Opening (opening, strategy)
Nikita Vitiugov has written a couple of fine books on the French, and he is or at least was a consistent practitioner of that opening. So what does he do when he faces it? In this game we can see for ourselves, as he wins a model game against Michael Feygin.
Thursday, December 22 GM Eugene Perelshteyn When Two Knights Are Better Than Two Bishops (strategy, endgame)
We all know about the advantage of two bishops. But what about two knights? When are knights better than bishops? Watch as GM Perelshteyn explains the key factors that make the knights more powerful! Bonus: practice your endgame skills as well!
Friday, December 23 GM Bryan Smith Kramnik’s Irrepressible Tactics (tactics)
In this game, we see an example of Kramnik taking on the …Bf5 system against the King’s Indian Attack. He manages to create an attack that won’t go out.