Castling In Chess: Look Before You Leap (1)

When it comes to castling in chess, we are usually taught to castle early, after developing some of the minor pieces.


The idea is that it can be dangerous to leave your king stuck in the middle of the back row where he may be exposed to an early attack. Generally speaking, it is more secure to get your king off to one side of the board, behind a barrier of pawns, and perhaps a knight, a rook and/or a bishop.

In the diagram both White and Black have castled early. White’s king is defended by three pawns, a knight and a rook. Black’s king is even more securely defended by three pawns, a rook, knight and bishop.

Quite often, however, other concerns cause one or both players to delay castling, or not to castle at all. In a situation where you have castled and your opponent has not, Jeremy Silman offers a “basic thesis” for you to follow, which is,

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No Stress Chess: A Fast Way To Learn How To Play Chess For Kids & Adults

There are more ways than one to play No Stress Chess!
Photo: There’s more than one way to play No Stress Chess.

No Stress Chess is a chess game that beginners of any age can immediately start playing. It is a fast way to learn how to play chess for kids. Adults with no experience of the game can also quickly learn to play chess with this game.

No Stress Chess really does take all the stress out of learning the game and teaching it to children.

The game comes with a folding board, plastic playing pieces, a set of 56 action cards. A plastic a storage tray holds the cards both inside the box and during play.

The folding two-sided chess board has a training chess board on one side. It shows you exactly where to put your pieces at the beginning of the game.

Once you have played a few times and are familiar with the set-up, you can flip the board over and play on a regular chess board.

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French Defense Advance Variation: How Black Wins In 7 Moves

French Defense Advance Variation - White loses in 7
White needs to take care when playing the advance variation of the French Defense.

If you are playing Black, and White opens with “e4” (also known as the King’s Pawn Opening, or P-K4 in the old notation), one solid response that I prefer is to reply with “e6” – i.e. move your own King’s Pawn one space forward.

White’s second move is typically “d4” – i.e. moving the Queen’s pawn forward two spaces next to the King’s pawn. Black then plays “d5”, advancing his Queen’s pawn two spaces forward. Those are the opening moves of the French Defense (or French Defence in British English):

  1. e4 e6
  2. d4 d5

The Advance Variation of the French Defense

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Stalemate In Chess: Grabbing a Draw from the Jaws of Defeat!

Stalemate in chess happens when it is your turn to move and your King is not in check, but you cannot move except into check. Here is a photograph of the conclusion of one of my recent games. I am Black and have just managed to secure a draw by inducing stalemate.

Black to move… Stalemate!

Honestly speaking, I was a little surprised that my ruse worked. After all, stalemate in chess is relatively rare.  Indeed, I had been about to resign because the situation seemed hopeless. I was left with just the King and a pawn against a promoted Queen and four pawns…

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Chess Endgame Training: White Knight or Poisoned Gift?

whiteknightpoisonedgiftIn this one-point chess endgame training article, I want to show you the importance of keeping the end in mind rather than keeping material on the board, especially when you reach the endgame with a material advantage.

In the illustration White has arrived at the endgame with a clear material advantage. White is ahead by a knight and a pawn. However, Black is threatening to promote his pawn and his king is attacking the white knight.

What should White do?

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