Monday, May 23 IM Valeri Lilov The Potential Power (strategy, middlegame)
Many times the success of any plan depends on the proper connection between pieces and pawns. In his new lecture, IM Lilov is explaining the importance of making a better pawn structure and how that influences any player’s plan.
Tuesday, May 24 IM Bill Paschall Selections from the US Championship 2016, Part 2 (middlegame, tactics)
A superior attacking game by the young super-gm Wesley So. Akobian plays the Rubenstein variation of the French, and this is probably not a great decision against such a strong attacking player. In this variation, Black “gives up” his central strong point on d5. White has open lines for attack and the ability to castle on opposite sides. So weakens Black’s kingside spending a tempo on 11. Qc2 then shifts the queen to the more aggressive e2 square. The attack features some original sacrifices that created great practical problems for the defender. Although a computer could perhaps have defended successfully, GM Akobian understandably succumbed.
Wednesday, May 25 FM Dennis Monokroussos A Bad Middlegame Structure Can be Great in the Endgame (middlegame, endgame)
It is common for Black to have his king in the center in the Rauzer Variation of the Classical Sicilian, hiding behind pawns on d6, e6, f6 and f7. That structure is somewhat precarious, and one of White’s main plans is to pressure e6 (beginning with f4-f5) until something breaks. It is a dangerous middlegame situation for Black, as we all recently saw in the crucial last-round game between Karjakin and Caruana in the Candidates. If, however, the queens come off, it can be a completely different story. In today’s game we see that Alexey Suetin allowed Mikhail Botvinnik to escape to an endgame, and even though Black was a pawn down his fine structure and powerful bishops gave him the advantage. His realization of the advantage was something less than perfect, but the end was amazing.
Thursday, May 26 GM Leonid Kritz When Playing the Najdorf, Do Not Forget the Theory (openings)
A very interesting, sharp game. More or less typical for English Attack of Najdorf variation. However, it is rather a good example of how to punish your opponent if he forgets an opening line. With 13….Be7 Van Wely lost too much time and got into a position that is difficult to defend. He got some chances in the further course of the game, though, and could almost equalize, but made another mistake and lost in a very interesting way.
Friday, May 27 GM Bryan Smith Challenging the Caro-Kann with 2.Ne2, Part 3 (openings)
In the third and final part of his series on 2.Ne2 against the Caro-Kann, GM Smith shows how to meet Black’s alternatives the main lines on move two and three.