Monday, August 25 IM Valeri Lilov Kramnik’s Endgame Superiority (strategy, endgame)
Most chess players have heard about the brilliant positional and endgame technique of the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. What was his secret? Following the right principles or planning? Learn more in IM Valeri Lilov’s lecture!
Tuesday, August 26 IM David Vigorito Winning Ugly Openings (openings, tactics)
In this game I get a big advantage against a master and promptly hang a whole piece! The game is instructive however as I consider the psychology of both my and my opponent’s situation. Eventually I build up so much compensation that even the computer favors White with a piece less even though there are no immediate threats.
Wednesday, August 27 FM Dennis Monokroussos Knight of the Living Dead
Just because a piece is on the board doesn’t mean it’s useful, and in this noteworthy game by chess legend Garry Kasparov it is Alexei Shirov’s knight on b7 that becomes an exemplar of the living dead. It’s still on the board, but it is so cut off from the action that it’s only slightly more functional than a captured piece. Ironically, Shirov’s first attempt to bring it back into the action (or rather, to start doing so) wound up giving White a winning edge, though Black was on the precipice already. Kasparov’s idea was a great one both in its particulars and as a general idea, one that we ought to keep in mind for ourselves. Sometimes the best thing we can do is not something positive for our own pieces, but something “negative”; namely, keeping the enemy pieces shut out of the game.
Thursday, August 28 LM Dana Mackenzie Checkmate in the Endgame, Part 1 (endgame)
Checkmate comes up surprisingly often as a theme in complex (i.e., multi-piece or queen) endgames. Usually it is not an end in itself, as in the middle game, but a strategic device that is used to force concessions from the opponent. In this exquisite example, Alexei Shirov sacrifices three pawns (even four in one variation!) to create piece activity and mate threats. This game also shows that when you have an active king versus your opponent’s passive king, it can almost be like having an extra piece
Friday, August 29 GM Bryan Smith How the Closed Position Opens (middlegame, strategy, endgame)
In this middlegame video, GM Bryan Smith shows how to calculate and evaluate the various ways of opening up a closed position – one of the fundamental skills of play in the middlegame.