Look Before You Leap Into Extending Your Pawn Chain!

Beware of casually extending your pawn chain to “usher away” your opponent’s queen!

Here’s what happened in an online rapid game I played against my regular opponent. All I can say is that none of my opening errors were punished by my opponent, so the #pubchessbluffer bluffed his way through to victory!

I was White and opened with 1.d4:

  1. d4 d5
  2. c4 c6
  3. Nc3 Nf6
  4. Nf3 [my usual move here, if I follow John Watson’s repertoire, is 4. e3] g6
  5. Bg5 Bg7
  6. e3 0-0
  7. h3 Qb6
  8. b3 Ne4
  9. Nxe4 dxe4
  10. Bxe7? exf3
  11. Bxf8 Kxf8
  12. a3? Nd7?
  13. c5?? Qc7? [White extends his pawn chain and Black misses a game-winning opportunity.]

Here’s the situation after 13. c5??

13. c5??

Can you find the best move for Black after 13. c5?

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Basic Chess Problem #2

This is the second of a series of short chess problem training videos. Here is the problem:

Black to move…

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Basic Chess Problem #1

This is the first in a series of short videos that I’ve started making for a group of Japanese college students who are studying English, and who, with some prompting from me, have recently taken up chess. The students all started as complete beginners. Most of them also have no experience of playing Shogi, or Japanese chess. So chess is something completely new for them.

A couple of weeks ago we decided to start a line group to discuss chess. I post a problem to the group once every few days, and then a day or two later I post a video that goes through the problem in what I hope is an easy–to-understand way.

The videos are all less than five minutes long, and each one focuses on just one problem. That makes these videos ideal material for “Easy Chess Tips”!

Each video looks at just one chess problem and explains why the solution is the best (or only) option.

Here’s Problem 1, Taken from 100 Chess problems for the Rest of Us, by T. E. Klemm. It is White to move.

So the question is, what is White’s best move?


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1.d4 Opening Repertoire Mnemonic Memory System Challenge part 2: QGD and QGA

Here is the second set of ten variations (11-20) of my 184 variation 1.d4 opening repertoire mnemonic memory system.

The variations are in the Queen’s Gambit Declined and the Queen’s Gambit Accepted. The QGD section includes these variations:

  • The Hennig-Schara Gambit
  • The Austrian Defence
  • A Ragozin/Nimzo Indian
  • The Alapin Variation
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Bishops v Knights – Utilize Your Minor Piece Imbalance!

When you have an imbalance of two Bishops against two Knights, the player with the two Bishops should seek to open up the game to create diagonals for his Bishops.

On the other hand, the player with the Knights should seek to keep the game closed and activate his Knights while limiting the range of his opponents Bishops.

In a recent online game my opponent did not make good use of his two knights, so even though my play was not optimal, I was able to win by taking advantage of the minor piece imbalance and seeking to utilize my Bishop pair.

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