Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Magician from Riga !!

Mikhail Tal - former World Champion for a mere 1 year 6 days, when he lost the title to the Mikhail Botvinnik in 1961.

1959 Candidates Bled - Tal Wins the Candidates tournament convincingly finishing 20.0/28 with a lead of 1.5 points from 2nd placed Paul Keres

1960 - Tal Wins Championship match against Mikhail Botvinnik 12.5 - 8.5 after 21 games.

1961 - Mikhail Botvinnik challenges Tal to a rematch, (Yes in that time, it was an option to the ex-world champ to challenge if he loses and that was the last year this rule was ever kept) Botvinnik wins.

Mikhail Tal was known for his crazy sacrifices over the board and very strong aggressive play. Many of his sacrifices left his opponents bamboozled and they often made mistakes thus giving Tal the edge. It was him this Magician who presented the world the beauty of chess through sacrifices and tactics never seen before. They called him the Magician from Riga, as Tal was born in Riga, Latvia.

 Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. 

The first part is called 'The Pledge' - The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. 

The second act is called 'The Turn' - The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. 

That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call 'The Prestige'

- Quotes from The Prestige (2006)

Here are some positions from games of Tal where he created 'Magic' over the board... Give these positions a thought and try your hand at them. Can you re create the magic ?

Level: 1800-2000 rated

Let's start with a rather easy one !

Hope you enjoyed these few tricks played by the magician himself Mikhail Tal...

Continue playing, Enjoy learning !!
Comments, likes and Shares are much appreciated ... Thanks !

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Power of Garry Kasparov !!

Here is an instructive game from 1994, played in Munich Kramnik-Kasparov

We will see how beautifully Garry Kasparov played a Queen Sacrifice for a positional advantage and finding the perfect squares for his pieces.

Here are a few tips to how to analyze this game, or as a matter of fact any GM game analysis.

1. Just go through the game putting yourself in the place of the winning side and play the right moves. Predict what the winner played
2. After you've done that, then only go into explanations of the engine as to why was the main line move played. DO NOT get in variation analysis yet.
3. After you have thoroughly understood the idea and plan composition of the winner now you can go into variations and check why was THAT particular idea chosen.

Good Luck! Enjoy :)

What we should learn from this game is to place your pieces on the ideal squares. It is only then that a good plan can fit perfectly and one may find many options to choose from to make his task easier.

Talk to your pieces, Let them speak out their feelings to you.
Ask them, "You like the square you're on, or do we find a better place for you ?"

Continue playing, Enjoy learning!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What did Capablanca play ?

Going back in time, here are some positions from games of, "The Great Endgame Master" Jose Raul Capablanca. If you were faced against him, find his best move to crush you ...

Level: Medium hard: Players below 1800-1900

Hope you enjoyed these master's puzzles.
Follow my blog for more such posts and puzzles !! Continue playing, enjoy learning!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chess Teachers and Learners - Chess Tips

Chess Teachers and Learners - Chess Tips

TIP 1:

Look at your opponent's move.

Every time your opponent makes a move, you should stop and think: Why was that move chosen? Is a piece in danger? Are there any other threats I should watch out for? What sort of plan does my opponent have in mind? Only by defending against your opponent's threats will you be able to successfully carry out your own strategies. Once you figure out what your opponent is attempting to do, you can play to nip those plans in the bud.
Emanuel Laser a.k.a "King of Chess"
World Champion 1894-1921

TIP 2:

Make the best possible move.
When you're considering a move, ask yourself these questions:
a. Will the piece I'm moving go to a better square than the one it's on now?
b. Can I improve my position even more by increasing the effectiveness of a different piece?
c. Does this move help to defend against my opponent's threats?
d. Will the piece I move be safe on its new square? 

• 1) If it's a Pawn, consider: Can I keep it protected from attack?
• 2) If it's another piece, consider: Can the enemy drive it away, thus making me lose valuable time?

Even if your intended move has good points, it may not be the best move at that moment. Emanuel Lasker, a former world champion, said: "When you see a good move, wait - look for a better one!" Following this advice is bound to improve your chess. 

Bobby Fischer World Champion 1972-75

TIP 3:

Have a plan.
If you threaten something here in one move, something over there in the next move, and so forth, your opponent will have an easy time defending. Your pieces have to work together to be effective. Just imagine each instrument in an orchestra playing a different tune! When you develop a plan, your men can work in harmony. For example, you might plan to attack your opponent's King; one piece alone probably wouldn't be able to do much, but the combined strength of several pieces makes a powerful attacking force. Another plan could be taking control of all the squares in a particular area of the board. The chess men are your "team"; to be a good "coach," you have to use all of their strengths together. 
Paul Jones adds” Once you've made a plan, stick to it (unless to do so invites defeat elsewhere on the board); and any plan at all is better than no plan at all”!

TIP 4:

Know what the pieces are worth.
When you are considering giving up some of your pieces for some of your opponent's, you should think about the values of the men, and not just how many each player possesses. The player whose men add up to a greater value will usually have the advantage. So a crucial step in making decisions is to add up the material, or value, of each player's men. The Pawn is the least valuable piece, so it is a convenient unit of measure. It moves slowly, and can never go backward. Knights and Bishops are approximately equal, worth about three Pawns each. The Knight is the only piece that can jump over other men. The Bishops are speedier, but each one can reach only half the squares. A Rook moves quickly and can reach every square; its value is five Pawns. A combination of two minor pieces (Knights and Bishops) can often subdue a Rook. A Queen is worth nine Pawns, almost as much as two Rooks. It can move to the greatest number of squares in most positions. The King can be a valuable fighter too, but we do not evaluate its strength because it cannot be traded.
Paul Jones adds “ Two Bishops are generally worth more than two Knights, except where there is a very closed position; and two Bishops on a Board with few Pawns will generally soon capture a lone Rook”!

TIP 5:

Develop quickly and well.

Time is a very important element of chess. The player whose men are ready for action sooner will be able to control the course of the game. If you want to be that player, you have to develop your men efficiently to powerful posts. Many inexperienced players like to move a lot of Pawns at the beginning of the game to control space on the chessboard. But you can't win with Pawns alone! Since Knights, Bishops, Rooks, and Queens can move farther than Pawns and threaten more distant targets, it's a good idea to bring them out soon, after you've moved enough Pawns to guarantee that your stronger pieces won't be chased back by your opponent's Pawns. After all the other pieces are developed, it's easier to see what Pawns you should move to fit in with your plans. It's tempting to bring the Queen out very early, because it's the most powerful piece. But your opponent can chase your Queen back by threatening it with less valuable pieces. Look at Example A: after 1...Nf6, Black threatens to drive the white Queen away with either 2...Nd4 or 2....d6 and 3...Bg4. Instead of just moving pieces out, try to determine the best square for each piece and bring it there in as few moves as possible. This may save you from wasting moves later in the game.

TIP 6:

GM Garry Kasparov
World Champion 1985-2005

Control the center.

In many cases, the person who controls the four squares at the center of the board will have the better game. There are simple reasons for this. First, a piece in the center controls more of the board than one that is somewhere else. As an example, place one Knight on a center square and another in one of the corners of the board. The Knight in the center can move to eight different squares, while the "cornered" one only has two possible moves! Second, control of the center provides an avenue for your pieces to travel from one side of the board to the other. To move a piece across the board, you will often have to take it through the center. If your pieces can get to the other side faster than your opponent's pieces, you will often be able to mount a successful attack there before he can bring over enough pieces to defend.

TIP 7:
Tigran Petrosian a.k.a "Iron Tigran"
for his impenetrable defenses
World Champion 1963-69

Keep your King safe.

Everyone knows that the object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King. But sometimes a player thinks about his own plans so much that he forgets that his opponent is also King hunting! It's generally a good idea to place your King in a safe place by castling early in the game. Once you've castled, you should be very careful about advancing the Pawns near your King. They are like bodyguards; the farther away they go, the easier it is for your opponent's pieces to get close to your King. (For this reason, it's often good to try to force your opponent to move the Pawns near his King.)

TIP 8:

The best time to trade.

The best time to trade men is when you can capture men worth more than the ones you will be giving up, which is called "winning material" (see Tip 4, Know what the men are worth). But the opportunity to do this may not arise if your opponent is very careful. Since you will probably have many chances to exchange men on an "even" basis, it's useful to know when you should or shouldn't do this. There are several important considerations. As a general rule, if you have the initiative (your pieces are better developed, and you're controlling the game), try not to exchange men unless it increases your advantage in some clear way. The fewer men each player has, the weaker the attacking player's threats become, and the easier it is for the defending side to meet these threats. Another time not to trade pieces is when your opponent has a cramped position with little space for the pieces to maneuver. It's tough to move a lot of pieces around in a cramped position, but easier to move just a few. One way to gain an advantage is to trade pieces to weaken your opponent's Pawn structure. If, for example, you can capture with a piece that your opponent can only recapture in a way that will give him "doubled Pawns". it will often be to your advantage to make that trade. The player who is ahead in material will usually benefit from trades. It's sort of like basketball or soccer; five players will sometimes have trouble scoring against four opposing players, but take away three from each side and the stronger team will find it easier to score with two players against one. So, to summarize: It's usually good to trade pieces if your opponent has the initiative, if you have a cramped position, if you can weaken your opponent's Pawn structure, or if you are ahead in material. There are exceptions, of course, but following these rules should bring you considerable success. Remember a lot of the time “It’s a mistake to take” A lot of the time this helps your opponent develop!!

TIP 9:

Jose Raul Capablanca - The master of endgames
World Champion 1921-27

Think about the endgame.

From the time the game begins, you should remember that every move you make may affect your chances in the endgame. For instance, in the earlier parts of the game, a Knight and a Bishop are about equally powerful. Toward the end of the game, though, when there are fewer men in the way, the Bishop can exert its influence in all parts of the board at once, while the Knight still takes a long time to get anywhere. So before you trade a Bishop for a Knight, think not just about the next few moves but also about the endgame. Pawn structure is crucial in the endgame. When you capture one of your opponent's men with a Pawn, you'll often create an open file that will help your Rooks and Queen to reach your opponent's side of the board, but you may also get doubled Pawns. Since doubled Pawns cannot defend each other, they are liability in the endgame. If your opponent survives the middlegame, you may have an uphill fight later. Concentrate on your immediate plans, as well as your opponent's - but always keep the endgame in mind!

TIP 10:

Always be alert.

There is a tendency for people to relax once they have reached a good position or to give up hope if their position is very bad when they play chess. These attitudes are natural, but both lead to bad results. Many players - even chess world champions - have achieved winning positions, only to lose because they relaxed too soon. Even the best position won't win by itself; you have to give it some help! In almost any position, the "losing" player will still be able to make threats. The "winning" player has to be alert enough to prevent these positions. Advice: If you have a better position, watch out! One careless move could throw away your hard-won advantage. Even as you're carrying out your winning plans, you must watch out for your opponent's threats. Conversely, if you have a worse position, don't give up! Keep making strong moves, and try to complicate the position as much as possible. If your opponent slips, you may get the chance to make a comeback. Remember: Where there's life, there's hope. So be alert all the time, no matter what the position is like. A little bit of extra care can pay off in a big way.

Tip 11: 

Increase your word power and your Algebraic notation.

Really understanding pins, forks, skewers, x-rays, zugzwang and zwischenzugs will really increase your power at the board. You will spot your opportunities more quickly, and also be more alert to the danger of your opponent's opportunities! Additionally recognizing all the names of the squares on the board from either side, will help your understanding dramatically.

Tip 12:

“Drawback Chess“, he shows that chess is often not about looking for a winning move, but more about searching to find the flaws hidden deep inside your opponent‘s moves.
After each move your opponent made you should examine this move and finds out it's drawback because you will find some squares or pieces that aren't no longer protected and try to find a way to exploit this weakness!!

Guide Lines In The Openings

#1 - Develop pieces towards the center, to safe and useful squares.

#2 - Control the center by occupying it with pawns and attacking it with pieces.

#3 - Protect the king by castling early, usually on the kingside.

#4 - Develop pieces with a threat, or in defense of a threat.

#5 - Make as few pawn moves as possible, and make pawn moves that further the development of pieces.

#6 - Move each piece only once, unless you must do otherwise.

#7 - Don't bring the Queen out early.

#8 - Develop minor pieces first - usually knights before bishops.

#9 - Connect the rooks and bring them to open files.

#10 - The best first move is a center pawn move.

This post is authored by admin(s) of Chess Teachers & Learners School Page and a few friends of mine, Howard E Anderson III and Anthony Hain.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Milestone unlocked - 10k+ views !!

Hey Friends,

This post is to just let ya all know that the Isolated Queen Pawn's Blog has reached more than 10,000 views in just less than 2 months time ~ exactly 56 days. This is to thank all the viewers who have checked out this blog, suggested improvements, commented and  been a part of this blog here and on posts of various social networking sites.

A big thank you to each one of you all!!

Please feel free to comment on the blog, with your suggestions on what you would like to read about, know any chess theoretical lines/concepts, tournament information anything related to chess.

Remember, Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. And when you fight him he will win!


Tanay Hargunaney
IQP Blogger !!