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 !!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Endgame studies - Making walls

Hey friends,

In this endgame studies I will give algorithms / ideas on how to push the king to the corner or the board by creating walls, not giving him way to pass and thus eventually corner him and checkmate. We will discuss the ideas of mating with rook+king and bishop pair+king today.

Rook + King Checkmate

Position in which the wall is built.


Pushing the King towards the back ranks, edge of the board. Once the black king is pushed then, we improve our king's position too elevating it's rank.

With black to play here, 
If black goes to 7th Rank i.e Kc7, Kb7 or Ka7 then push our rook down to 6th rank closing in the box.
If black stays on same rank, i.e Ka6 then play Kb6 and next move our rook goes down to push the king further back

With White to play here,
White can simply play a waiting move with the rook, Re5/ Rf5/ Rg5, which reduces the scope of black king to move. And the position reduces to the the earlier option, with black to play.

The final checkmate will take place when black king is on the final rank/last file on the edge of the board.

Also view a similar post on endgames for beginners here

Bishop pair + King Checkmate

The wall position with the bishop pair

The red arrows indicate the wall made by the bishops only. And the green squares show the valid squares for the king to move to.

With white to play here
Can go 1. Bd4 Reducing scope of king's flight squares
1. Bd4 Kd5 2. Ke3 Ke6 3. Be4 Strengthening the wall reducing squares for the king to run away

Final Mating position

For more such posts follow my blog The Isolated Queen pawn's blog..
Continue playing enjoy learning!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Game of the year 2013 - Anand's Brilliancy !!

Hey friends,

This game which I am about to present today, I am sure many of you may have already seen and analyzed it. It was played last year in Tata Steel Chess 2013 - Group A, Round 4 Aronian-Anand

It was given the award as 2013's Best Game. Some also refer to it as Anand's Immortal / Anand's Brilliancy as in today's day when Chess is supposedly becoming an equal drawish game, with rise of chess engines and other computer software, the Black side crushes the enemy's defense and just gets on tactics, and more tactics and finally gets a full point within 23 moves !!

Aronian (2800+ rated) defeated in just 23 moves !! (Something you don't get to see everyday)

So here is how it went about with a Semi-Slav variation

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3

With White's last move 6. Bd3, here black has a good opportunity to develop at the cost of this move. 6...dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 Prepares for a Bb7 and this is exactly what happened in the game.

6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 Bd6 9. O-O O-O

10. Qc2 Bb7 11. a3 Rc8 12. Ng5

White's last move here was 12. Ng5 threatening the h7 pawn
Black has developed with the idea to open up the position via c-file. This does 2 things
1. Opens up the way for Bishop on b7
2. Opens c-file for the Rook on c8 (Which is good as it is directly opposite the white queen) 

So Black completely ignores the threat on h7 and goes for what he had planned.
12...c5 (Leaving the pawn on b5 hanging, the pawn on h7 attacked thrice) 13. Nxh7 Ng4
White threatened to take on f8, but black again ignored the threat and went for the kill

Look at the position after just 13 moves and how black can attack in many ways.

The only move that stops this attack is f4, and white does play it, in turn weakening his d4-e3-f2 diagonal and black has the right tool to attack here.

14. f4 cxd4 exd4 15. Bc5!! 

Because if 15. dxc5 then Nxc5 followed by Qd4+ or taking the bishop on d3 if not defended for the second time.

So white here decides to try to remove a threat, the knight on g4
16. Be2 Ne5!! Leaving everything under attack. Variations shown in the entire game play below.

The Bishop on c5, Kinght on e5, Rook on f8, pawn on b5 all hanging !!

Guess what happens next ! We are just 16 moves into the game, we got a result just after 23 moves, which means, 7 strong moves only. Guess the result anybody ??

View the game below to know more variations and how the game ended.

Comments from Anand, "I think if I have my worst score with anyone it;s him (on Aronian)"

For more articles about Anand, read my earlier blogpost on this staggering win in the Candidates tournament at Khanty Mansiysk 2014, Eye of the Madras Tiger!

Some post game analysis in the post game conference...

Comments from Levon Aronian, "The Bishop on b7 was monstrous"

Comments and feedback much appreciated...

Follow my blog for more such posts, puzzles, games.
Continue playing, enjoy learning!!

Middle game Tactics - "Removal of Defender" / "Undermining an overloaded piece" - Solutions

Hey friends,

If you haven't checked out my last post of Middle game Tactics - "Removal of Defender" / "Undermining an overloaded piece" , do check it out and just look through for some fun puzzles and relax your mind with easy tactics.

All the puzzles are White to move and win material
Here are the solutions to the puzzles shown.

Solutions: Left to Right, Up to Down
Puzzle 1:  1. Bxc4+ (forking the Knight and King)

Puzzle 2:  1. Nb6 (If 1...Rb8 2. Nxa8 Rxa8 3. Bxc6 or Rxc6)
                 (If 1... Rc7 2. Nxa8)

Puzzle 3: 1. Ne7+ (If NxN then QxQ)
                   (If Kb8 or Kd8, then Nxc6+ followed by QxQ)

Puzzle 4: 1. Bxg6+ (If 1...Qxg6 2. Rh8+ Kxh8 3. Qxg6)
                (If 1... Kh6 2. Rh8#)

Puzzle 5: 1. dxe5 (If 1...Bxe5 2. Bxf4 wins piece)
                (If 1...Qxe5 2. Nxd6 Qxd6 or cxd6 3. Bxf4)

Puzzle 6:  1. Bxe7 (If 1...Nxe7 2. Qxa5)

Puzzle 7: 1. Qg4+ Qxg4 2. Rxe8+ Kg7 3. fxg4

Puzzle 8:  1. Bxf6 Qxf6 2. Rxa3

Puzzle 9: 1. Nxe8 Rxe8 2. Qxf7

Puzzle 10: 1. Re7 (Deflection tactics) 1...Qxe7 2. Qxd5+ followed by Qxa8

Puzzle 11:  1. Rg7+ Kxg7 2. Qxe7 (wins queen by deflecting king)

Puzzle 12: 1. Rxb7 (If 1...Qxb7 Qf8#) to prolong mate, black can either go Nc7 or Rd7, and Rook captures

Puzzle 13:  1. Be4 (If 1... Qxe4 2. Nxf6+ fork !!) 1... Qe6 2. Nxf6+ Qxf6 3. Bxb7

Puzzle 14: 1. Rd8+ Kc7 2. Qxf4 Rxf4 3. Rxh8 (If 1...Rxd8 2. Qxf4)

Puzzle 15: 1. Rxc6 Qxc6 2. Qxf7+ Kh8 3. Qxf8#

Puzzle 16: 1. Rh4+ (1... Rh5 2. Rxh5+ Qxh5 3. Qxg7#) (1... Kg8 2. Ne7+ fork)

Puzzle 17: 1. Rf8 Rxf8 2. Rxh7# (If 1... Rxe5 2. Rxh8)

Puzzle 18: 1. Bxd6 exd6 2. Rxf6

Puzzle 19 (Black to play *Correction): 1... Bxd2+ 2. Qxd2 Nxf3 fork!! 

Puzzle 20: 1 Rxh7 Rxh7 2. Rxg8 (Or 1... Rxg1 2. Rxh8)

Puzzle 21: 1. Rxe7 Qxe7 2. Qxd5+

Puzzle 22: 1. Nxb7 (If 1... Bxb7 2. Nxe6+ family fork !!) 1...Qc7 2. Rxd8

Puzzle 23: 1. Bg5+ Kxf7 2. Ne5+ Ke8 3. Qf7#

Puzzle 24: 1. Qxh5 (Threat to mate on h7) gxh5 2. Nxe6+ double check and fork.

Puzzle 25: 1. dxe5 (Sorry for the repeat problem)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Endgame Studies - Minor Piece v/s Pawn Endgame

After my last post about the Bishop+Knight Checkmate to understand basic principles and piece coordination here is minor piece endgame to play for win.

In a rapid game, I reached this position, with a player rated ~80 ELO points above me. And after 53 moves I reached this position.

It's White to move here and I was having some time trouble here so was my opponent. I had only a few seconds left on the clock.

I decided to go 54. Rxf5+ Now black has two options,
54...Kxf5 55. Nxg3+ (White is definitely winning here)
54. gxf5 55. Nxg3 (White is winning here too)
54...Kxe4 55. Rxb4  (And white can successfully convert it into a win)

I was ready for a critical rook-pawn endgame. But here my opponent decided to play the second option.
Which resulted in this position.

Now if black allows white to take the pawn with the Knight and sacrifice the Knight, white will still win not only because of his pawn majority on the queen side but also the white king will move up to  b3-b4 and eventually capture on b5.
So black here played 55... f4 attacking the Knight

Now the Knight in this position has only one job. To control the square just after the pawn(f3) or control the promotion square(f1).

This is winning for white.If the Black King approaches to e2/f2 to attack the knight and defend the f1 square (the promotion square) we move the knight to h2, Nh2, controlling the promotion square. If in case f1=Q then Nxf1

View here to see how the game exactly went about.

Hope this helps understand the strategy to be adopted in such situations.

Continue playing, Enjoy learning!!
Follow my blog for more such posts and puzzles.

Bishop + Knight v/s King Endgame

Recently I came across this video where in former Women's world Champion Anna Ushenina, (Women World Chess Champion then) during the Geneva Women Grand Prix 2013 failed to checkmate with Bishop+Knight v/s lone King

So today I decided to show how to check mate with Bishop+Knight. And continuing with this trend I will talk about how to think in minor piece endgames.

Though you may not ever (or have a very rare chance to be in such a situation) face this this end game as any side, this is a good puzzle to test how good you are with minor piece coordination and square controls on the board.

Firstly let's see how our final position will look like and try to understand how to approach to that

Pattern 1:

Pattern 2:

Key points to remember:
1. Mating done in corner with square same color as of the bishop (Light squared corner since light squared bishop here)
2. Bishop+Knight form a boundary which the black king can not cross and are in sync with each other. For other squares coverage we have our king.
3. Keep pushing the king the corner as we desire else black king will run to opposite corner
4. Very similar to the idea of "boxing in the king" in case of Rook + King v/s lone King here consider triangles to corner the opposite king into.

Triangles look like this:

1. The bishop and knight cover all the red colored squares and form a wall the  king can't cross
2. White king will next play to e4 thus controlling the e5 square.
3. The Green triangle shown is the largest of the 3, where black king is currently inside.
4. Then push inside the red, followed by yellow and deliver mate.

So let's start with a random position

Follow my blog for more such posts, coming up next will be minor piece end games. Bishop/Knight + pawns to play for draw.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Opening Repertoire - Ruy Lopez (Spanish Opening)

Spanish Opening, for guys who play 1. e4

The best by test 1.e4 - Bobby Fischer

Ruy Lopez

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5

Candidate moves for Black:

Berlin Defense 
3...Nf6 (Most played #games 228k+)  

3...a6   (#games 15,000+)
3. Bc5 (Classical line)

Today we will discuss the closed Ruy Lopez, where White does not take the knight on c6.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6

The most popular move here for white is
5. 0-0  (#games 144k +)
Less popular
5. d3
5. d4

So after 5. 0-0 Candidate moves for black


I have seen all of these been played at the high levels and this is what I think for each of them

5... Be7 keeps the position closed, not too greedy yet to take the e4 pawn, A solid structure for black
5...Nxe4 goes into a sharp line where white can have the options to play Re1 (X-ray down a pin maybe take Nxe5 and try discovered attack tricks)
White can also play d4
5...b5 is eventually played in 6 if not now in these lines, and Black can then think of developing the bishop to b7 controlling the diagonal a8-h1

Variation A                                                                                                    Variation B

As mentioned, b5 will eventually be played forcing Bb3.

Variation A: Closed Ruy Lopez
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6

In this variation black has the option to go Be7 or Bg4 as desired.
White's Bishop on c1 needs some help

Variation B: 
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6  3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. 0-0 Nxe4 6. d4 b5 7. Bb3 d5

In this variation we can expect white to play Re1, (X-rayed pin / discovered check tricks)

Small trick in Ruy Lopez if 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. Nxe5
Exchange Variation
So if after 3...a6 4. Bxc6 this is how the position looks like and though black has double pawns, for that compensation he has the Bishop pair, as well as both the diagonals open for the bishop. On the bother hand white paid off with a bishop for black's double pawn structure. Both are fine here.

Now if you see the pawn on e5 is hanging, but can't be taken that easily by the knight. As black can reply back with Qg5 strong move. Sub optimal move can be Qd4 (to regain the pawn back).

But Qg5 here does a lot, taking the g2 pawn will ensure that White can't short castle, the rook moves and is cramped. And again e4 will hang, keeping black a pawn up then.

Some noteable games in the Ruy Lopez and who better than Former World Champ and World Champion themselves. Anand - Carlsen from World Chess Championship match 2013.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Middle game Tactics - "Removal of Defender" / "Undermining an overloaded piece"

This post is for some fun activity and to focus on one concept in middle games. If you are a chess player you will surely find this post entertaining.

Below are few positions, which are all White to play
No need to post solutions, just browse through, I'll update the solutions later on

Browse, think, solve, play !! :D :D

Hope you enjoy this one..Remember white to play in ALL

Continue Playing Enjoy learning !!

PS: All these positions are taken from a group I admin on Facebook, Chess Teachers & Learners. Join the group on Facebook if you wish to see more such positions to analyze for fun. Special thanks to Howard for sharing these positions

Friday, May 2, 2014

Opening Repertoire - Sveshnikov Sicilian

The Sicilian Defense is one of the attacking and fighting chess games you can find in GM games. You can use this opening repertoire if you are looking out for a new reply to 1. e4

1. e4 c5

Open Sicilian Category: 

A. Sveshnikov Sicilian
B. Najdorf Variation
C. Dragon 
D. Accelerated Dragon

Feel free to ask any questions on move order, variations, anything related to Sicilian Defence, we will take up good questions and pin it up on the album page for all to study


2. Nf3 prepares for 3. d4 Which is the line for open Sicilian
Options for black:

Sveshnikov Sicilian
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5
This is a good move to strike the center gaining tempo on the knight.
But at the same time makes f5 and d5 weak

Candidate Moves for white
6. Nbd5 #games 62,700+ in DB
6. Nb3 #games 2900+
6. Nf3 #games 2400+
6. Nxc6 #games 1400+

Candidate moves for black
6...e6 (most played #games 61,000+)
6...a6 (#games ~ 300)
6...h6 (#games ~ 500)

White also threatens to pin the knight on f6 and go Nd5 then

Candidate moves for white:

8. Bxf6
8. Na3

If 8. Bxf6 gxf6
Do not capture with Queen as Nc7+ will be advantageous for black

If 8. Na3 b5 (Threaten to push b4 forking the knights)

After 8...b5 White has 2 best moves to choose from
9. Nd5, #games in DB 27,900+ 
9. Bxf6, #games in DB 22,800+

If 9. Bxf6 gxf6.. Taking with queen will follow up with 10. Nd5 gaining tempo on Queen

A. Sveshnikov Sicilian
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. c3 Bg7

Alternatives for 1212. Qh5 also popular 12...Bg7

Have a look at black's positionThe control on the 4th rank, The pawns all aiming towards the kingside where white might castle,Active pieces, White's knight on a3 needs atleast 2 moves to get in the game

So conclusion, if you reach this position as black it is very playable and dynamic.If you are white here, you need to work a bit more to improve position

Few Notable games in this variation:

1. Nakamura - Gelfand 0-1 (8th Tal memorial 2013)

2. Caruana-Ivanchuk 0-1 (54th Reggio Emilia 2011)

3. Alexei Shirov-Carlsen 1-0 (5th Sofia MTel Masters 2009)

4. Anand, V - Radjabov 1-0 (26th Linares 2009)