All Things Chess


New Chess Videos for February 12 – 16

Monday, February 12
IM Bill Paschall Human vs 2700 | middlegame, tactics

It’s rare to see a player below GM level tackle a top player. In the following game a “human” player (under 2400) plays an absolute masterpiece of attack against a top pro. Self confidence is key and it is very important not to be intimidated by higher rated players. IM Quillan plays aggressively from the start , gaining space and going on to play the entire game without even a small mistake. GM Dubov, who is a huge young talent in world chess undoubtedly underestimated his opponent, but by the time he realized he was in trouble it was too late!

Tuesday, February 13
GM Leonid Kritz A Very Interesting Strategic Battle | strategy

This game is very rich in interesting strategic ideas. In the opening Black fully equalized the position, but Kramnik invented a very interesting plan with long castling, and slowly outplayed his less experienced opponent. Matlakov had multiple ways to get good counterplay, but preferred to play passively and was punished for that.

Wednesday, February 14
FM Dennis Monokroussos So Much for Prep: Caruana Innovates, but Anand Wins | strategy, tactics

In the 2018 edition of the Tata Steel Masters, Viswanathan Anand got off to a great start including an impressive win in round 3 over Fabiano Caruana. Caruana has been playing the Petroff regularly, and prepared a very interesting novelty for this game, one which took Anand by surprise. The former champion didn’t refute the idea, but his reply proved effective. Caruana was unable to find the subtle path to equality, and in the resulting middlegame his rook and pawn wasn’t a very good match for Anand’s bishop and knight. Anand’s play wasn’t perfect, but his inaccuracies were less costly than Caruana’s. In the end, Caruana was outplayed, and finally fell prey to a beautiful tactical blow that finished the game.

Thursday, February 15
GM Eugene Perelshteyn Fighting Reti vs 2700 SuperGM Vallejo Pons | opening, tactics

GM Perelshteyn faces an elite 2700 GM and doesn’t shun away from sacrificing a pawn for initiative in the popular Reti opening. For a while White plays well, but then two natural moves allow Black to get back in the game. How could White have reached a winning advantage? The answer will surprise you!

Friday, February 16
GM Bryan Smith Ivanchuk in the World Cup 2017 | strategy, tactics

In the 2017 World Cup in Tbilisi, fan favorite Vassily Ivanchuk had great success, reaching the fifth round in the knockout format. Here we see his entertaining victory against Anish Giri.


ChessLecture News for the week of February 5 – 9

Free Video of the Week

One week ago, Magnus Carlsen wrapped up his 6th victory at the annual Tata Steel super-GM tourney in Wijk aan Zee, and last week, GM Bryan Smith concluded his 5-part series on Magnus’ victory in last autumn’s Isle of Man International – Carlsen in the Open – a rare instance of a world champion playing an event open to literally anyone, rather than an invited group of elite opponents. Magnus shows a side we rarely see from the world’s best, as he lures opponents into imbalanced positions to reduce the chances of yielding draws.

But there is a bonus 6th lecture from Isle of Man, which we bring you as our Free Video of the Week, as our own lecturer GM Eugene Perelshteyn pushes Magnus to the edge of defeat in round 2, then hesitates at the crucial moment, and finally receives a lesson in just how resilient and deadly the best player in the world is:

How to Play with Initiative vs the World Champion Magnus Carlsen
by GM Eugene Perelshteyn

Watch it now!

The Ultimate Carlsen Collection e-DVD Exclusive to our subscribers!

ChessLecture masters have been studying Carlsen for years. In this first-ever collection you can view Carlsen’s rise to World Chess Champion as he took over the world of chess. We also feature several never-before released lectures on how Carlsen does it. Learn from the best how to become YOUR best, Carlsen-style.

For an special $50.00 discount code, sign up for our newsletter today!

Now, on to the new lectures for the week:
This week’s lectures cover openings, middlegame, endgame and tactics. Our lecturers:
IM Vigorito | IM Paschall | FM Monokroussos | GM Kritz | GM Perelshteyn

Monday, February 5
IM David Vigorito An Original Trap in a Catalan Miniature – Tactics
In a game that was coincidentally played on my birthday, I face longtime tournament warrior FM Robby Adamson for the first time. My opponent played a fresh line which I was not so familiar with. After sacrificing a pawn, I found an original novelty that sets a trap. After long though, my opponent spotted my idea, but he saw a counter. Unfortunately for him, there was a second, more devious trap waiting for him!

Tuesday, February 6
IM Bill Paschall Losing Touch With My Intuition – opening, endgame
Sometimes, it is impossible to calculate all the ramifications of a possible situation. In other instances, time simple limits our ability to calculate all the important lines. In such situations, the intuition of an experienced player must bridge this gap, allowing us to make shortcuts and find the right path without relying in absolute calculation. In the game in question, White achieves a massive advantage, but second guesses his own intuition. White could have won this game if he had not doubted this inner voice.

Wednesday, February 7
FM Dennis Monokroussos A Classic King’s Indian Win by a Leading Specialist
Ilya Smirin is a great player whose rating has surpassed 2700, and he’s also a leading expert on the King’s Indian. (How much so? Vladimir Kramnik helped chase Garry Kasparov away from his beloved King’s Indian, and Smirin has a plus score with the King’s Indian against Kramnik!) The game we’ll see here, against Viktor Gavrikov, is by Smirin’s own account one of the two King’s Indian games he’s most proud of, so it is well worth our time to get acquainted with this instructive and attractive gem.

Thursday, February 8
GM Leonid Kritz Peter Svidler’s Opening Tragedy – tactics
This game is interesting because you don’t often see a 2700+ GM losing with white in just 21 moves! Something went very wrong for Svidler in this game, and Mamedyarov found a instructive series of very strong moves to win quickly.

Friday, February 9
GM Eugene Perelshteyn Attack like Aronian!
There’s not a better modern attacking player than Aronian. Watch how he destroys a top 20 chess player in the world with brilliant intuitive attack! Since this is a rapid game, we know that the attack could not be calculated to the end, which proves that Aronian’s intuition is top notch. Sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful attack!


New Chess Videos for January 29 – February 2

Monday, January 29 IM Valeri Lilov The Simple Advantage (strategy,middlegame)
The most common advantage in chess is space advantage. Often many players get to a position where they have a lot of space and control of their pieces, but they don’t know how to use them. In this lecture, IM Valeri Lilov provides some strong guidelines on how to plan once we get that kind of advantage.

Tuesday, January 30 IM Bill Paschall Ginsu Bishops! (openings, middlegame)
In this game we encounter a really new idea in Black’s 3..Na6 !? This variation has only appeared since 2015. Black gives up 2 bishops for two knights in the opening in an attempt to better control the center. Vallejo plays impatiently though, and allows the position to open up profitably for Harikrishna’s two bishops and the fact that the two sides are castled on opposite wings increases the dynamics. The result is a strong attack featuring the White bishops functioning like razor sharp knives.

Wednesday, January 31 FM Dennis Monokroussos Attacking From Every Angle (opening, tactics)
When it comes to all-out tactical play in the fight for the initiative, few if any players surpassed the 8th world chess champion, Mikhail Tal. While Tal produced brilliancies of this sort on what seemed like a daily basis in his youth, the mature Tal was still capable of unleashing such masterpieces as well. In this 1982 game with Dutch GM John van der Wiel, Tal sacs a pawn in the opening for a ferocious initiative that his opponent never managed to put out. It is remarkable that Tal was able to use the entire board so effectively: he has attacking units from all four quadrants of the board, all coordinating beautiful in the hunt for the black king.

Thursday, February 1 GM Eugene Perelshteyn How to Attack Like 12-Year-Old Kasparov! (attack, opening)
You don’t often see a modern chess engine confused, yet the twelve year old Garry Kasparov proves his intuition is superior! Watch how he executes the attack with brilliant sacrifices. The raw talent is simply unbelievable. Enjoy!

Friday, February 2 GM Bryan Smith Carlsen in the Open, Part 5 (tactics)
In the final part of the series on Magnus Carlsen’s participation in the Isle of Man Open, we see his critical win as Black against Fabiano Caruana – the game which clinched the tournament for him.”


New Chess Videos for January 22 – 26

Monday, January 22 IM Valeri Lilov Positional Sacrifice Sequence (middlegame)

Making a positional sacrifice may seem easy, though it always proves a difficult job for the attacking player. One reason is because the positional sacrifice does not bring any immediate tactics. Another is the fact that we have to follow our blind intuition to manage the different threats against the opponent. Either way, we need to know how pressure works, so your sacrifice can become successful.

Tuesday, January 23 IM Bill Paschall Steinitz-style Italian Game in the 21st Century (openings, tactics)

The Italian game has risen in popularity as the Spanish declines due to the Berlin Defense. In this amazing retro Italian game from the 2017-18 Bundesliga, the young Polish GM Duda plays in 19th century style. White simply does not castle and begins a kingside attack with 11.g4!? Although white’s plan may be objectively dubious , such a strong grandmaster as Pavel Eljanov could not hold off the offensive after white white dramatically sacrificed a piece in the opening.

Wednesday, January 24 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Dangerous Sac in the Karpov Variation of the Nimzo-Indian (tactics)

The Karpov Variation of the Nimzo-Indian (which can also arise through the Panov-Botvinnik Attack in the Caro-Kann) has been deeply explored, but this game displays an interesting new idea very early in the variation. In a variation that has arisen almost 3000 times in the databases, and a position that has arisen almost 100 times, White played a novelty, sacrificing a knight for a pawn and good attacking chances. While the sac appears to be good for no more than equality, Black must play very accurately to avoid serious trouble. In this game, Black did – whether as a result of doing his homework brilliantly or playing extremely high-level chess – and it was White who went astray and lost. Nevertheless, not all of us will play as well as Lalith Babu, so it’s a game worth studying. (And entertaining, too.)

Thursday, January 25 IM David Vigorito Outpreparing a Super-GM in a Specialty Opening

IM (now GM) Mackenzie Molner plays his favorite Pirc Defense against the strong GM Darmen Sadvakasov. It turns out that ‘Mac’ is better prepared than his esteemed opponent in the sharpest lines of this ‘inferior’ opening. This game shows that if you believe in your openings and prepare them well, you can score well.

Friday, January 26 GM Bryan Smith Carlsen in the Open, Part 4 (strategy, tactics)

In part 4 of the series on Magnus Carlsen’s games from the Isle of Man Open, we look at his instructive and purely positional demolition of the very strong Pavel Eljanov with the black pieces.


New Chess Videos for January 15 – 19

Monday, January 15 IM Valeri Lilov How to Execute a Flank Attack (strategy)

The most common type of attack in chess always goes on the flank. The problem is that many flank attacks require much preparation to be successful. On one hand, we need a solid central command and space control. On another, we need the open lines and piece possibilities. See IM Lilov’s new lecture on how to be successful with a flank attack!

Tuesday, January 16 IM Bill Paschall Fighting Chess at the Russian Superfinal 2017, Part 3 (opening, tactics)

Grandmaster Nikita Vitiugov finished as runner up in the Russian Superfinal, losing a tiebreak match to Peter Svidler. Vititugov played consistently strong chess throughout the event, including this important game, where he unleashed a relatively new idea in the Gheorghiu (f3) variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defense as Black. Volkov was taken by surpise by the new idea of 7…c5 and goes stray very quickly. White tried to castle queenside, and gets demolished tactically in short order. Probably it’s better to react conservatively when encountering a surprising new idea over the board.

Wednesday, January 17 FM Dennis Monokroussos Winning with Long-Term Positional Sacrifices (tactics)

It’s easy to sacrifice when there’s a clear payoff. If we’re mating, or regaining the material with interest, or achieving some very obvious compensation in return for a small investment it’s easy to make the offer. But when the investment is significant and the compensation is long-term, it’s much more difficult to commit. For those of us with “commitment issues” of this sort, today’s game is an inspiration – and it’s theoretically significant as well.

Thursday, January 18 GM Eugene Perelshteyn The Power of Connected Passed Pawns (strategy, endgame)

In this game White sidesteps both Grunfeld and King’s Indian with an early b3,Bb2 idea. After a complex middlegame, Black enters what looks like an equal endgame. But how did Black lose the game in just a few moves? The answer is allowing connected passed pawns! Watch and learn how the little guys ended up e7 & d7 and both turned into queens!

Friday, January 19 GM Leonid Kritz A Sudden Thunderbolt from Shirov (strategy, tactics)

After the opening White was clearly better – this is actually a very nice example of how to punish Black for small mistakes in the opening. However, one small imprecision and Shirov comes back with his most dangerous weapon – tactics! This game combines both strategic aspects and tactical calculations.


New Chess Videos for January 8 – 12

Monday, January 8 IM Valeri Lilov Early Weaknesses (strategy, middlegame)

Exploiting a weakness has always been a challenging part for many chess players. While it’s not too hard to spot a weakness (pawn, king, etc.). Many players don’t know the correct approach to exploiting it, especially in the early stages. Tune in to IM Lilov’s lecture to learn more!

Tuesday, January 9 IM Bill Paschall Fighting Chess at the Russian Superfinal 2017, Part 2 (opening)

Fast rising star Danil Dubov plays a creative Geller Gambit type idea against the Chebanenko variation of the Slav. Volkov seems prepared, but the game spirals out of control with a great piece sacrifice , giving white a practical initiative in the middlegame. Volkov doesn’t find a good way to give the material back and goes down swinging with a failed queen sacrifice. Exciting fighting chess on display at the Russian Superfinal !

Wednesday, January 10 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Miniature in the Orthodox Queen’s Gambit (strategy)

Vera Menchik was by far the strongest female player of her day, and she defeated many of the top male players of her time, inducting them into the so-called Vera Menchik Club. (The player who sardonically invented that title for people who lost to Menchik wound up being the charter member of the Club.) Gideon Stahlberg avoided membership, going 4-0 against Menchik in their encounters. This win was an attractive one with theoretical significance; it’s possible for a decent player today to fall into the same trap Menchik did. (In fact, multiple players fell for it back then as well!) It’s surprising that white’s attacking prospects are as great as they turned out to be, and that’s part of what makes the game instructive as well as attractive.

Thursday, January 11 GM Nadya Kosintseva Patience and Non-Forcing Moves (tactics)

A chess player cannot calculate all the moves in every position, so at some point he has to make a choice what moves should be computed and what continuations can be excluded from a list of candidate moves as non-promising. In such a situation, many players used to take into consideration only the most aggressive moves that force the opponent to respond in a certain way. Indeed, a lot of chess combinations represent a series of forcing moves that end up in a winning position. But in fact, chess is much more that just calculating checks, captures and other moves with a threat. What’s more, if a player looks only at forcing moves he can evaluate the position in a wrong way and as a result miss interesting resources for himself as well as for his opponent. In this lecture, I will show you four instructive examples of how the ability to take into consideration quiet, non-forcing moves in the process of calculation can change the outcome of the game and make one’s attack more powerful.

Friday, January 12 GM Bryan Smith Carlsen in the Open, Part 3 (tactics)

In part three of our series on Magnus Carlsen’s participation in the Isle of Man Open, we see his deceptively simple win against GM Julio Granda Zuniga.


New Chess Videos for January 1 – January 5

Monday, January 1 IM Valeri Lilov The Subtleties of Pawn Structure (strategy)

Acquiring a solid pawn structure isn’t an easy job. In many games, the pawn formations for both players are rather equal. It takes some precise planning and evaluation to setup a more beneficial pawn structure and make your opponent’s less beneficial.

Tuesday, January 2 IM Bill Paschall Fighting Chess at the Russian Superfinal 2017, Part 1 (opening, tactics)

Grunfeld expert Peter Svidler faces the classic Russian variation against his favorite 1.d4 defense. Svidler is now the highest ranking player to add the rare 6…Be6 to his repertoire. This variation is new and trending , although it was played against Euwe in 1938 and again by GM Tony Miles in an early game in 1973. White must find the right path here and Volkov did not even manage to maintain an equal position.

Wednesday, January 3 FM Dennis Monokroussos The Game of the Year 2017 (tactics)

Universally recognized as an instant classic, Ding Liren’s spectacular win over his fellow Chinese grandmaster Jinshi Bai would make any of the game’s legendary attackers proud. In fact, the number of quiet moves in the attack elevates this masterpiece over many of the classics of yesteryear; it’s relatively easy to calculate a series of forcing variations, but when the attack relies on moves that don’t force the defender’s hand it’s much more difficult and impressive. This is a must-see game!

Thursday, January 4 IM David Vigorito Tricky Line vs the Grunfeld (opening, tactics)

In this game I present a relatively simple line against the Grunfeld that dodges a lot of the big theory. I witness this game in person and it made a strong impression on me. The Belgium Grandmaster builds up a nice advantage based on White’s imposing center – the main danger for Black in the Grunfeld.

Friday, January 5 GM Eugene Perelshteyn Instructive Game in the King’s Indian: Dark Square Domination (strategy)

In an Averbakh variation, White makes a slight inaccuracy and gets duly punished with a standard Nh5-Nf4 pawn sacrifice to pry open the h8-a1 diagonal. White’s extra pawn is totally useless against Black’s attack on the dark squares. The rest is very instructive!


New Chess Videos for December 25 – 29

Monday, December 25 IM Valeri Lilov Premature Attacks (strategy, middlegame)

A common mistake made by beginners is to attack too early. The premature attack often leads to disaster because it can show weaknesses for the opponent to counterattack as a result. Any good preparation must take into account all of the attacker’s weaknesses and make sure they are covered before the attack even begins! Check out IM Lilov’s lecture to learn more!

Tuesday, December 26 IM Bill Paschall Euro Team Gems 2017, Part 4 opening, tactics)

The French Defense is a very difficult opening for white to crack. GM Ruslan Ponomariov faces a rare move order on the white side of the Classical variation and comes up with an original idea of his own. White sacrifices a pawn for long term positional compensation and time. In the game Ponomariov takes control of the initiative, but in the ensuing complications both sides maker errors in this exciting back and forth encounter.

Wednesday, December 27 FM Dennis Monokroussos How to Beat Petrosian, Petrosian-Style strategy, tactics

Tigran Petrosian was a very hard player to defeat, capable of going through multiple elite tournaments without losing a game. In the Maroczy Memorial in 1952, however, he played rather risky chess, and in this game he was punished severely by the underappreciated Swedish legend Gideon Stahlberg, a very strong GM who once qualified for the Candidates. Stahlberg comprehensively outplays Petrosian in this game from start to finish, seizing the advantage on the queenside, then on the kingside, and with a mating attack about to conclude the game in the center of the board Petrosian called it a day.

Thursday, December 28 GM Nadya Kosintseva Zugzwang in the Middle Game

In this lecture I am going to talk about middlegame Zugzwang. The term Zugzwang refers to a situation where one of the players has to move whereas he would prefer to yield the right to move to his opponent. Every move he makes worsens his positions or leads to immediate loss. You see it mainly in the endgame, but it can also occur in the middle game with plenty of pieces on the board and many continuations at the player’s disposal. I will provide two examples of this rare form of Zugzwang. The first one is one of the craziest studies I have ever seen on the Zugzwang theme. Non-obvious decisions for both sides, a lot of tactics and traps that are easy to fall into. The second example is about a strategic Zugzwang where every move leads to a positional disaster for the defender in spite of the fact that he has no visible weaknesses.

Friday, December 29 GM Bryan Smith Carlsen in the Open, Part 2 (tactics)

In part two of his series on Magnus Carlsen’s participation in the Isle of Man Open, we look at the World Champion’s attacking victory over young grandmaster Jeffrey Xiong.


Alphazero – Breakthrough in Computer Chess

This week, we begin to bring you insights into a big breakthrough in computer chess, which may revolutionize chess and articial intelligence (AI) programming, but which also is already showing some breathtaking play for us humans to enjoy, too.

FM Dennis Monokroussos shares his take on a spectacular game, and LM Dana Mackenzie has written several blog posts to explore and explain what this means here: http://www.danamackenzie.com/blog/ . (Dana, who is one of the top mathematics and science writers in the US, has been on leave from ChessLecture to co-author what is sure to be one of the leading non-fiction books of the coming year, which he describes in the earlier blog post about the AlphaZero news.)

There will certainly be more to this story, so stay tuned!


New Chess Videos for December 18 – 22

Monday, December 18  IM Valeri Lilov  Developing a Potential  (strategy, middlegame)

How to make a good position great? Everyone knows that getting an advantage is a matter of attacking. The problem comes when we try to attack when there isn’t enough of a fire power and coordination. The whole process of preparation needs a great deal time and planning, so we don’t end up losing our momentum shortly after the attack has started. Learn how to it more successfully with IM Lilov’s new lecture!

Tuesday, December 19  IM Bill Paschall  Euro Team Gems 2017, Part 3 (strategy, tactics)

Anish Giri plays a typical closed English, pressuring weak squares in Black’s position. Failing to find a traditional breakthrough, he brilliantly sacrifices his queen for a rook and minor piece to maintain the pressure. This game illustrates Giri’s strategic mastery, imagination , and his understanding of the coordination of the forces. In the end, the Black king falls to the unified white forces.

Wednesday, December 20  FM Dennis Monokroussos  Long-Term Sacrifices: A Staggering Example (strategy, tactics)

A Google team wrote a program, Alpha Zero, that taught itself to play good chess, and it succeeded in a big way, winning a 100-game match with 28 wins, 72 draws, and not so much as a single loss. While there are questions about various disparities between Alpha Zero’s hardware and Stockfish’s, the chess produced by Alpha Zero was stunning. It wasn’t just the result, but the games. Here we see one of Alpha Zero’s wins, a jaw-dropping masterpiece featuring some very long-term sacrifices that work. Watch, and be amazed.

Thursday, December 21  GM Leonid Kritz  Crazy House – or Endless Preparation?  (opening, tactics)

This game developed in a very unusual fashion. It looked like Black was well prepared and took quickly over the initiative, but in the end Aronian played a brilliant series of moves and got a winning position. I am wondering how much White did calculate at the board, and how much was prepared at home. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aronian had analyzed the position after 28.Kg3 at home. Well, we’ll never know….

Friday, December 22  GM Eugene Perelshteyn  Punish Fedoseev’s Wild g2-g4 Push in the Accelerated Dragon! (opening, tactics)

At the recent FIDE World Cup, young Russian superstar Fedoseev introduces a fresh idea g2-g4 vs the Accelerated Dragon.  However, don’t worry as GM Perelshteyn presents a refutation with some spectacular sacrifices!  Must see video!