Category: Training

How To Use Memory Techniques To Learn Opening Variations

This is perhaps not such an “easy chess tip” because it takes time, effort and imagination to master, rather like chess itself. Nevertheless, memory training, especially for opening variations in a chess repertoire, is worth considering if you want to avoid losing control when your opponent pulls some unexpected move early on.

Opening Repertoire Memory Systems

I have created opening repertoire memory systems for both white, playing 1.d4, and black, playing 1… d6.

In this demo video I attempt to go through the first ten variations of the my white opening reportoire, which is based on John Watson’s book, A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White. Watson’s book has been my guide to the Queen’s pawn opening for the last few years.

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Beware of Masked Bishops and Discovered Attacks!

In chess, a discovered attack happens when you make a move that opens a path for another of your pieces to take an opponent’s piece. It works best when the piece you moved also attacks another of the opponent’s pieces or checks the King.

In a recent game, I was rather fortunate in being able to turn a less-than-ideal Bishop move into a discovered attack on my opponent’s Knight. My opponent did not notice the threat the lurking Bishop posed until it captured his hanging Knight. 🙂 This is a useful tactic to know and it can be especially effective in casual games, pub chess, or games played in a casual environment. It is not uncommon for casual players to miss unmasked threats on the diagonals!

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Another Look at the Maróczy Defence Pawn Grab!

In the last game I played as Black against my regular opponent, he opened with 1. e4 and I replied with my repertoire move, 1… d6. A few moves later we found ourselves with a situation that seemed familiar!

  1. e4 d6
  2. d4 Nf3
  3. Nc3 e5

We arrive at the Maróczy Defence by transposition. (The pure Maróczy Defence is 1. e4 d6, 2. d4 e5…)

Next, my opponent decided to advance his Queen’s pawn, which the Chess.com engine rates as “good,” which really means just “okay.” Clearly, the chess engine prefers to exchange pawns, which often leads to an early exchange of queens (4. dxe5 dxe5, 5. Qxd8+ Kxd8).

I responded with 4… Be7 and realized that if my opponent were to play 5. Bg5 the “Maróczy Defence Pawn Grab” (as I call it) would be in play…

Back in April I completely missed the opportunity (see my previous blog post and video) when the exact same situation occurred. This time around, my opponent had completely forgotten about that game and conveniently played 5. Bg5? again, just as he did in April!

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Don’t Miss This Chance To Grab White’s d5 Pawn in the Modern Defence…

I wheeled out the good old Modern 1… d6 Defence to 1.e4 in this game against my regular opponent, but I missed a great opportunity in the fifth move to claim an advantage with 5… Nxd5!

Here are the opening moves:

1. e4 d6 2. d4 e5 3. d5 Nf6 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Nc3 Nxd5!

This sequence is a variation of the Pirc Defence known as the Maróczy Defence, which brings out Black’s central pawns in the first two moves, delaying Nf6.

The “easy chess tip” in this game is easy to learn but not so easy for a casual player to spot if unaware of it.

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Don’t Forget En Passant!

The en passant chess move is a pawn capture that can only happen immediately after a pawn makes a move of two squares from its starting square and lands on the same file as an adjacent enemy pawn.

The adjacent enemy pawn may immediately capture the pawn as if the pawn had only moved one square forward.

En Passant Giphy

Here’s a video I made about a situation that arose in a chess game between two unrated amateurs in which the en passant chess move could have preserved White’s advantage had he used it…

Video: Don’t Forget En Passant!

(NOTE: I forgot to remove Black’s h8 Rook from the analysis board in the video! It should not be there. The illustrations below show the correct set up for this situation.)

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