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Drastically Improve Your Chess

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Most In-depth Study ( Must Have )

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Excelling at Chess fast – Things you must have

Chess is art and every art needs dedication and devotion. And one should give sufficient time to excel at it. Chess is no exception. You need to give sufficient time to excel in chess. And that time has to be spent intelligently. Everybody wants to excel and climb up the ranking ladder without devoting much time. And yes there ways to do that and there are ways to make the most out of your time.
Here I want to discuss the things you should have to climb up the ladder much faster. The traditional way learning chess is by reading books. But if want to excel at chess only by reading books then forget your dream of achieving a good ranking in no time. Yes books are always handy and a vast source of information but for chess, reading books can be a very time consuming job. You need to set up the board first in front of you, then the board position, make the moves given in the books in notations, move your eyes back and forth, and then read annotations from book. That's really time consuming but nonetheless books are the best for you if you are very serious about it and have sufficient time .
The things you should have :

  1. A good chess playing software

  2. Good chess game database management software( a good chess playing software can also do this job for you)

  3. Chess instructional DVD's

  4. Training CD's
Now let me come to the point one. The best chess playing software available in market today according to me is Fritz from Chessbase. It's a great software that you must have in your collection. Just follow the link and do some google searches and you will know. It has an integrated online server called Playchess (the Chessbase server) where you can play chess from players around the world. It's the world largest server for playing online chess. More than 5000 players online every night. 200,000 games played per day. Top grandmasters like Garry Kasparov, Nigel Short, Boris Avrukh (the list is endless) playing, free chess training, live events with audio commentary, free chess tournaments with prizes every day, simultaneous exhibitions, special beginners and computer chess rooms. You can download the Playchess server interface only for free here. You have full access to all the features for 30 days. You can then purchase a serial number for one year or continue to play as guest (your rating will not alter if you win or lose and you have limited features) for an unlimited time for free. Or take the best deal: order the complete Fritz in their Shop. Chessbase products are the best according to me. After Fritz I will recommend Chessmaster from Ubisoft. It's also good but lacks many features. It doesn't supports UCI Engines (Chess engines usually comes in 2 formats, UCI & Winboard. Winboard engines are not so popular.) It's online server is almost useless with few players. But the programme is good for playing against computer and analyzing games. It has very good tutorial which will certainly help beginners immensely. Then comes Chess Assistant from Convekta, and Chess Academy. But I am not going to discuss them all. Google it. But according to me Fritz is a must have.
Now coming to the database management software Fritz and Chessmaster can do that for you. But for this purpose I will suggest you to grab a copy of Chessbase also from Chessbase. It's the single most popular and best database management software available in the market. Just click the hyperlink and you will know what wonders it can do for you. You can also download Chessbase Light for free with limited features here .
Let me discuss some other very unique products from Chessbase that will do wonders in achieving you a good ranking fast. Needless to say that after playing chess for so many years I have become a fan of Chessbase products.
Do you know what's Fritz Trainer's are? If you don't then you are losing something. It comes on DVD's where top Grandmaster's discuss Chess Openings , Strategy & Tactics etc. No it's not a video. It can be viewed in Fritz as well as Chessbase where you can see a small window for video playing alongside the chess board. The board piece movement is synchronized with the lectures so that you can sit back and just watch. Fritz or Chessbase does it all for you. You don't need to move a piece. That's sounds great isn't it? That way you can learn very fast and achieve your goal of becoming a well rated player without devoting too much time. That's why I was saying before that learning from books only can be very time consuming. As most of us don't have much time in this fast paced world these are things you must avail ( professional chess players excluded).

There is another series of fine products that Chessbase and those are Chessbase Training CD's (can be viewed in Fritz or Chessbase) which are like game databases with text commentary and annotated games which are included in a number chapters just like books. Here also you don't need to move a piece. Just scroll your mouse !. It's a great resource which comes at a handy price.

Now let me discuss now Chess Instructional videos which are commented by top GM's . They are of great help in learning some openings/ tactics/ strategies in quick time. There are a number of Chess video series among which Roman's Lab (commented by a top GM Roman Dzindzichashvili, former US and Russian Champion and Coach of World Champion Garry Kasparov), Foxy Opening Videos (coomented by a number of top GM's) , Grandmaster DVD Series , and Susan Polgar's Chess the Easy way Series are most popular ones. Grab some of them and you won't regret.
Another great resource are Everyman Chessbase Ebooks .Everyman Chess is a brand name in chess book publishing. Chessbase products have now become so popular and indispensible that Everyman Chess recently started to provide these books in Chessbase formats (which they call ebooks). That means with Fritz or Chessbase installed on your PC you can read these books without moving a single board piece just like Chessbase products.
So these are things you must have to excel at chess faster. Nevertheless real books are always a vast source of information and comes very handy when you need to study something very deeply.
Now after reading all these you may be thinking " now I am going to spend some money on these things". Well my friend you can spend if you want but you get them all here for free. This blog is very new and shortly I will start uploading these materials and share the download links here with you all. You may have already seen some Tabs in the Menubar above. There is nothing there now. But I have created those for a purpose. Shortly you will see articles with download links being added to the above tabs. In the meantime keep patience and be an active visitor of this site, post some comments on the articles and tell me what you think and what you would like to see here implemented, also mention the topics on which you would like to see articles. Your active participation will be encouraging me to share more and more with you all. Also tell your friends about this site. Until then GOODBYE and HAVE FUN!
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Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to Analyze the Position?

Notes on a lecture by NM Scott Massey

NM Scott Massey lectured once on "how you analyze" during a game. He began by considering some criteria that have been developed over the years by several chess writers, which show a certain progression from focusing on the opening, to the middlegame, and then to the endgame. Then he looked at a famous game, Steinitz-Rosenthal, Vienna 1873 (see below), where we could see various modes of analysis in action. The following are simply notes on what he covered and cannot possibly repeat more than the basics for those who missed the lecture.

Positional Elements
Wilhelm Steinitz famously wrote that "You must attack to win" and "Many advantages are temporary." When these remarks are repeated these days, people generally see him as saying that as soon as you have an advantage you must attack or risk allowing that advantage to slip away. But how did Steinitz evaluate an advantage? He offers the following principles in his writings:


* Development
* Mobility
* Control of the centre
* The position of the kings
* Weak and strong squares in both camps
* Pawn structure
* Queenside pawn majority
* Open files
* Two bishops versus two knights or bishop and knight

These principles are really the principles we see at the beginning of the game when the fight is over the centre and development. They move into the middlegame and ending to some extent, but it is interesting that one of the first writers to offer a systematic approach to analysis gives us principles that are most helpful in the opening stages.

Moving into the Middlegame
A different set of criteria, much simplified compared to Steinitz, are offered by Reuben Fine in his book The Middle Game in Chess:

* Material
* Pawn structure
* Mobility
* King safety
* What's the threat?

These are principles that are most helpful in thinking about the middlegame as you are making decisions and planning your next move.

"What if the Queens came off?"
More recent writers have thought about the implications of decisions at every stage of the game upon the endgame. In what he calls the "Static Evaluation of a Position," Iossif Dorfman offers the following criteria, which are invaluable for any concrete evaluation of a position:

* Pawn formation, including:
o Doubled and tripled pawns
o Protected passed pawns
o Number of pawn islands, hanging pawns, compact pawn chain
o Pawn majority in the centre
o Pawn majority on the queenside
o Weak squares, isolated pawn, backward pawn
o Group of weak squares of one colour blockade
o Half-open files, out-posts
o Bad pieces
o Types of centres and space
* Who has the better position after exchange of queens?
* Material correlation
* King position

The most significant item is "Who has the better position after the exchange of queens?" Clearly, for Dorfman the ending is always in view. He prefaces his criteria by distinguishing between what he calls "static" and "dynamic" issues--"static" issues being those that are most important long-term:

"Candidate moves are chosen in accordance with the static balance. By static are implied factors that have enduring effect, whereas dynamic factors are change in a state of the position--with the energy of a break through, with the coming into contact with the opposing army, with the passage of time, their role diminishes and reduces to naught. Find a critical position (a turning point in the play, a moment when there is a possible change in the hierarchy of strategic elements)--a position in which a decision has to be taken regarding a possible exchange or a possible change in pawn formation or the end of a series of forced moves. If for one of the players the static balance is negative, he must without hesitation employ dynamic means and be ready to go in for extreme measures." --Dorfman

Let's look at a game to see how well it illustrates these principles. The following game has been annotated by several authors, including Chernev in The Most Instructive Games Ever Played and Tartakower in his 500 Games of Chess. Some of their notes have been incorporated.

Samuel Rosenthal - William Steinitz [C46]
Vienna (1) 1873
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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pawns - Their Importance- Part 2

I would like to show you some wonderful positions , where pawns decide the outcome of the whole game!



Optueta - Sanz, Madrid 1934

















Black to move…


And it doesn’t look very dangerous for white .The pawn on b2 is protected…The bishop on b6 looks passive But a passed pawn may become so dangerous….And a knight is not the best piece to stop the passed pawns…



1. ...Rb2
!!


Black sacrificed a full ROOK! Only to advance an isolated pawn!

2. Nxb2 c3!













































OK How to stop it now? 3.Nd3 then c4....? And Nc4 doesn’t help as well due to c2!






3. Rxb6 !





Only answer for a while looks very bad for black c2, just Nd3! But
3....c4 !!



Still not possible are Nd3 or Nc4 . But black’s idea is to play c2 on the next move! The only

chance is
4. b4 !



Looks that it’s white - who is winning! But here comes the point!
4....a5 !!







Three isolated pawns are winning against rook and knight!

If 5.Rb7 just c2! Losing as well is 5.Kf2 then c3xb2! Then is c2- unstoppable! And last, if 5. Rc4 then c3xb2! .. From the starting position it’s very difficult to dream about the final one, isn’t it?
Now lets see some openings when a pawn has decide the game! Here’s a very rare variation of the Caro- Kann defence.






Razuvaev- Kupreichik , Dubna 1970:





Hope you enjoyed !



This concludes the series of articles on Pawns - Their Importance.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Pawns - Their Importance - Part 1

500 years ago chess was different from today.

Pawns didn’t cost as much as they do today.
The best players started games with the gambits. Pawns were only a small price to:
Open a file or diagonal;
Create an immediate attack on an opponent’s king;

It was the Italian style of chess.All positions of the King’s Gambit were very popular Here’s a typical game of the Italian style:





You may see that white just offered pawn after pawn - without any clear compensation.
In many games a very nice attacking style dominated…..
Not only because of the good tactical and attacking strength of the players But as well because nobody knew how to defend! Everybody dreamt only about attack with sacrifices.

The best chess player of his day was Francois Andre Danican-Philidor, born in France on September 7, 1796.

The name Philidor was passed on through his grandfather from King Louis XIII, a tribute to this family of royal musicians.

During years of waiting to perform in the chapel of Versailles, the young Francois learned the moves of chess and became the best player in the chapel. Philidor supported himself by giving music lessons, arranging and copying music.

His spare time was spent at the Cafe de la Regence in Paris. There he learned from the strongest player in France, M. de Kermur, Sire de Legal. Legal had heard that old Italian masters could play without sight of the chessboard.

Philidor said he often did the same when he could not sleep at night. When he was in his prime, few opponents could challenge him without receiving odds or blindfolding him. Often he would play two or three blindfold games at the same time.

His published chess strategy stood for a hundred years without significant addition or modification. He preached the value of a strong pawn center, an understanding of the relative value of the pieces, and correct pawn formations. We still remember his motto, “pawns are the soul of chess.”

Philidor died in London, after being denied a passport to return to France for a demonstration match. The newspaper obituary read “On Monday last, Mr. Philidor, the celebrated chess player, made his last move, into the other world.” Nobody took Philidor’s theory seriously.

But Philidor played games as well - and made comments - according his theory.



Count Bruehl - Philidor,F
London, 1783





Philidor has taught the power of passed pawns.

The game was very typical for a style of Philidor. Already here we may learn lot of rules:

Bad and good pieces;
Space advantage;
Open files;
Pawns structure;
Importance of center

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The King's Indian Attack - Part 2

Game 5 : Steve Stoyko (2340) - G. McDonald (2220) [C00]





Game 6 : Steve Stoyko - M. Schechter (2293) [B50]





Game 7 : Steve Stoyko - Koval (2113) [A08]





Game 8 : Steve Stoyko - K. Farrell [A04]



Game 9 : Steve Stoyko - Spiro [A08]





This concludes the series of lectures on The King's Indian Attack by FM Steve Stoyko

The King's Indian Attack - Part 1

Notes on a Lecture by FM Steve Stoyko


The great thing about an opening like the King's Indian Attack as White is that it is more about piece placement and positional motifs than it is about specific book lines. Every piece has its best square -- except the dark-squared Bishop. As FM Steve Stoyko pointed out in discussing these games, the successful development of White's queen's Bishop thus often signals the end. As he put it: "As soon as you know where that Bishop goes, the game is over." It is remarkable how well that idea holds up across these nine examples.

Game 1 : Steve Stoyko (2341) - John Jarecki (2239) [B50]






Game 2 : Steve Stoyko (2340) - Fitzko (1950) [A04]






Game 3 : Steve Stoyko - Paul Truong [B40]





Game 4 : Steve Stoyko (2340) - Peter Radomskij (2260) [A05]






The remaining 5 illustrative games of this lecture will be concluded in the next post i.e. The King's Indian Attack Part 2

To be continued....
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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Tips For Learning Chess Part 9 - Destroying the Balance

A Lesson in Breaking the Material and Positional Equilibrium

Modern chess not only differs greatly from chess of 19th century, but it also varies from chess played over the past 25 years. If you examine games from the World Championships played over a quarter of a century ago, you will notice a very calm approach to openings and middle game positions. What has caused such a difference between then and the frenzied games of today? Technological progress, such as the availability and number of chess publications as well as the impressive amount of information available on the Internet, can undoubtedly be credited with providing us with high levels of information. Thanks to this hi-tech progress, modern chess masters and grandmasters are able to receive the latest chess information not only from innumerable magazines like “Informant” and “New in Chess”, but also by means of computer databases with unique collections of chess openings as well as middle game and end game keys. Today, it may seem that it is very simple to become a strong chess player: you should just stay current regarding recent games and novelties. However, as it turns out, this is not how it works in the real world of high-level chess.

For a chess player who knows only the material that was played before, it is difficult to count on success. He will never succeed with an experienced opponent who is also knowledgeable about previously played games. It is apparent today, that a base of knowledge in chess openings, middle games and end games is necessary; yet it takes more than this to succeed.
Nowadays , leading grandmasters see the chess struggle from a slightly different point of view. Maybe it sounds strange, but for a chess victory it is not only necessary to wait for your opponent’s mistake, you must also make some of your own “mistakes”. Second World Champion Emanuel Lasker discovered this in the beginning of 20th century. Lasker’s psychological approach to chess was crucial to his success. He understood that “machines” did not play chess. His opponents were people with weaknesses and human imperfections. After analyzing his opponent’s style, Lasker did precise and individual preparation not only in chess openings, but also in the connections between opening to middle game and even middle game to end game. He chose the most unpleasant weapons for use against his adversaries. He frequently made dubious moves, which, in the case of alert opponents, would surely lead to a losing game for Lasker. However, it’s exactly at this point that the human weaknesses of Lasker’s opponents revealed themselves. Lasker’s rivals thought that victory was in their hands, but they were incapable of finding the correct path to victory. Lasker understood this fact. He knew that it was basically impossible for them to switch to the new type of position in the game, and because of that, they would lose. Lasker�s style of playing was incomprehensible and he himself was considered a magician. Lasker always had a bad position during the game, but despite this, he constantly won.
However now we know Lasker’s secret. Moreover, it is the main weapon of the higher chess players. We call this approach destroying the balance.Destruction of balance can include one or more of the following approaches:
1. Destroying the Material Balance: This usually is a sacrifice in the opening, middle game and sometimes even in the end game. The sacrifice may not only be tactical, but also justified by the position itself. There are various goals achieved with the sacrifice. For example, one can sharpen the struggle while defending difficult positions. Also, you can sacrifice during an attack to give your opponent the feeling that he might have some counterplay; but after evaluation your opponent will realize that his compensation will not be enough to win the game. Unquestionably, a chess player who is competent to correctly evaluate the consequence of material sacrifices has an advantage. The ability to make an accurate evaluation may be achieved by understanding both the material and kinetic power of chess pieces, their connection to the position, and the exact difference in the position after the sacrifice.
2. Destroying the Positional Balance: This is expressed not only in typical positions (isolated pawns or castles on opposite sides), but more frequently, you will have positions where it is important to choose a structure that accentuates a dependence on the arrangement of the pieces. You may also have positions where it will be important to take advantage of the particular character and habits of your opponent (this last case is very complicated and not practical to investigate in depth). When trying to destroy the balance of the position, it is necessary to choose which pieces should be sacked — a bishop or a knight, or maybe two pieces for a rook, and then to fully understand the ultimate results of your sacrifice.
Below there are two simple examples for each case with complete explanations.
1. Let’s take the position after : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. bxa6 g6 6. Nc3 Bxa6.



In the opening, Black sacrificed a pawn only for positional compensation. The active bishop placed on a6 prevents e4, and thanks to this, White has to spend precious tempi to castle manually. Meanwhile, Black has an opportunity to finish developing and to begin pressing on the a and b files. White’s plan is therefore limited by these actions. Any break in center with e4-e5 will be difficult for White. Developing and arranging his pieces in active positions will also not be simple. In this position experience shows that even after transition to the endgame, Black’s chances are certainly not worse and frequently they are better White’s. As a result, the Benko gambit is still very popular. Moreover, White often chooses the counter-sacrifice 5. b6! and after this, Black has the inconvenience of attempting to finish developing his pieces on the Queenside while his original plan of attacking the a and b files is not as easy. This plan also allows White’s knight the magnificent square c4.
2. Let's see the position after the first several moves in Nimzovich Defense : 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4. Here White plays 4. Qc2 0-0 5. a3 Bxc3 6. Qxc3.



Now White has two very strong bishops. If White can succeed in finishing development and opening up the position, his advantage will be unquestionable. What will Black have in this position? First of all, there is an advantage in tempi. Obviously, Black will be first to finish developing; he will have castled and he will be attempting to hinder White’s active plans. Obviously, it will be important for Black to try to limit White’s bishops. We see the conflict in this position: there is a static advantage for White and a dynamic initiative for Black. Consequently, the opponent who will better understand the advantages of his own position, as well as exactly where and when it will be necessary to destroy his opponent’s advantage to tip the balance of the game, will be victorious.

As you see, it is important to not only understand chess rules, but also the power of the game. Great chess players must strive for an appreciation of these types of positions and they should enlarge their game experience in positions where they can destroy the material or positional balance.

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Tips For Learning Chess Part 8 - Endgame Priciples

1.Pair of Bishops is stronger than pair of Knights.
2.Bishop is usually stronger than Knight. Bishops are better than knights in all except blocked pawn positions.
3.Rook and Bishop are usually stronger than Rook and Knight.
4.Queen and Knight are usually stronger than Queen and Bishop.
5.Rooks belong behind passed pawns, of your own or the opponent.
6.A rook on the seventh rank is worth a pawn.
7.The easiest endings to draw are those with opposite colored bishops.
8. When your opponent has a bishop you usually have to put your pawns on the squares of the same color that squares of this bishop. At the same time, when you have bishop, you have to put your pawns on the squares of the color, opposite to the bishop’s squares, no matter if your opponent has bishop or not.
9. In the endgame King becomes an active piece move your King to the Center!
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Tips For Learning Chess Part 7 - Positional Principles

1. Pair of bishops is a serious advantage (especially in endgame). If you have pair of bishops - try to open the position. And in opposite if your opponent has it try to close the position.
2. If you have advantage in space - avoid exchanges, which can lead to exemption of the play. When you have advantage in space your opponent’s pieces choke of the lack of space and fetter in maneuvers. That is the reason why you should avoid exchanges in such situation.
3. While you possess the initiative it is better to avoid simplifications. Every exchange should be motivated; it means it should bring some positional or tactical dividends.
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Tips For Learning Chess Part 6 - Pieces

1.Bishop is usually stronger than knight in open positions. Knight is better then bishop in closed positions, when bishop is restricted. In semi open position, when knight has supporting square (reinforced by pawn) in the center, and can’t be attacked with the opponent’s pawn - knight excels bishop and almost equal to a rook.
2.Passed pawns should be advanced as rapidly as possible.
3.Move your rook to the open file.
4.Doubled, isolated and blockaded pawns are weak: avoid them!
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Tips For learning Chess Part 5 - Playing Principles

1.Opening fighting directed to the capture of the center. Pieces control and attack the maximum number of squares from the center. One of the advantages in center possession is in ability to transport the game to the flanks more easily.
2.Development is to be understood as the strategic advance of the troops toward the frontier line (the line between the fourth and fifth ranks). Develop all your pieces rapidly and castle quickly, preferably on the kingside. You can’t attack if your pieces are not out and it is much harder for your opponent to attack you successfully if your king is safely out of the center. There is no time for pawn hunting in the opening, except for centre pawns.
3.To be ahead in development is the ideal to be aimed for. Don’t move the same piece twice in the opening. Develop another piece. A pawn move must not in itself be regarded as a developing move, but merely as an aid to development.
4.Develop harmoniously! Play with all your pieces. Remember that the poor placement of even a single piece may destroy the coordination of the other pieces.
5.Don’t develop your Queen too early, it’s could be an option only when you could achieve a good target.
6.Maintain the balance in the center. This can mean controlling the center with pawns and pieces in the classical style, or by attacking the center with pieces from long distance, called the hypermodern method. The pawn centre must be mobile.
7. Capablanca principle: “Develop knights before bishops” - Knights have relatively obvious squares for their first moves, but a bishop’s best square depends very much on what your opponent does.)
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Tips for Learning Chess Part 4 - Opening Principles

1.Opening fighting directed to the capture of the center. Pieces control and attack the maximum number of squares from the center. One of the advantages in center possession is in ability to transport the game to the flanks more easily.
2.Development is to be understood as the strategic advance of the troops toward the frontier line (the line between the fourth and fifth ranks). Develop all your pieces rapidly and castle quickly, preferably on the kingside. You can’t attack if your pieces are not out and it is much harder for your opponent to attack you successfully if your king is safely out of the center. There is no time for pawn hunting in the opening, except for centre pawns.
3.To be ahead in development is the ideal to be aimed for. Don’t move the same piece twice in the opening. Develop another piece. A pawn move must not in itself be regarded as a developing move, but merely as an aid to development.
4.Develop harmoniously! Play with all your pieces. Remember that the poor placement of even a single piece may destroy the coordination of the other pieces.
5.Don’t develop your Queen too early, it’s could be an option only when you could achieve a good target.
6.Maintain the balance in the center. This can mean controlling the center with pawns and pieces in the classical style, or by attacking the center with pieces from long distance, called the hypermodern method. The pawn centre must be mobile.
7. Capablanca principle: “Develop knights before bishops” - Knights have relatively obvious squares for their first moves, but a bishop’s best square depends very much on what your opponent does.)
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Tips For Learning Chess Part 3 - How To Annotate Your Own Games?

While everyone prefers to learn from the mistakes of others, this is not very realistic when it comes to chess - Annotate Your Games!
A chessplayer’s strength is measured by his or her successes in tournaments. Sport has a single criterion - the result. Should we disagree with it, or bring in some other criteria, the very essence of sport is nullified. Comments such as this guy is more talented,but :
  • blundered in a time trouble
  • lost a won position
  • incredible error
  • accidentally, etc.
are for the fans (and media ). No “incredible” events occur. If something happened it was possible! It is necessary to try and understand the cause of what happened. You must analyze your own games in greater detail to identify the types of mistakes you made and to find out in which situations you need to improve your decision making process.
From childhood one must get used to analyzing and annotating every game played. Analysis of games, conceptualization of their content, explanation, assessments, motivations behind moves played, threats and what caused them create a powerful incentive for a chessplayer’s growth! Analysis is necessary for rapid chess games as well.
I consider that rapid chess gives even more information about the merits and drawbacks of a chess player. When there is more time to think, these drawbacks can be concealed by longer thinking, whereas in rapid chess and in blitz games all the pros and cons reveal themselves more vividly. A. S. Nikitin, Garry Kasparov’s coach, wrote that the future world champion even annotated his blitz games. Timing is of great help in identifying weaknesses of a chessplayer. It assists in understanding and explaining the chess player’s drawbacks and their causes, and is particularly demonstrative as it rates the time required to make this or that decision.
After each tournament it is necessary to report on all games played by a player in the Chessbase special Database.
Spend 10-15 minutes after each game writing brief notes, including thoughts, variations and assessments that were going through his mind during the play, and compare these with the results of subsequent calm analysis.
The five critical goals that you are trying to accomplish in your deep analyze are: Checking your Opening preparation. The opening part should end with a brief theoretical reference pointing out the best variations for continuing the struggle and with an “exemplary” game of this variation played by grandmasters.
Discovering the turning points and assessing your decisions making at those points. Particular attention should be drawn to the phase when the game passes from the opening to the middlegame, and it is worthwhile showing the extent to which the middlegame events correlate with opening structure logic.
Finding and classifying your own mistakes and other problems (Tactical, strategic, while attacking, defending etc, psychological problems etc); Develop your analyzing skills by uncovering new ideas and better moves, which could have happened if they were played.
The comments of each game should be finalized with an assessment of one’s own play and conclusions (reasons for win or loss, including non-chess factors; what to do in order to avoid these).
Showing your game to the coach for reviewing your analyzes.
Such work on the annotations should last for 4-5 hours. At a higher level, it is useful to annotate other players games, though it is more complicated due to a difficulty of understanding motives behind moves without observing the playing process directly.
Contributed by : A.Vaysman Honored coach of Ukraine
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Tips For Learning Chess Part 2 - Playing The Classics

It seems to me that a chess-player should first of all learn to play the classical openings, rather than openings such as the English opening, the Reti opening, Pirc-Ufimtsev Defense – the so-called “anti-openings”. These openings imply that the real combat begins only after the 15th move. You can also regularly provoke some interesting positions when playing these openings (the way M.Botvinnik and V.Smyslov did), but only on condition that you have had a very good practical experience and the knowledge of classical openings.
In some “anti-openings” you can move your pieces “to and fro” with no trouble. Those who like the process of playing chess as sport, rather than studying the theory of openings and the logics of the game, are really fond of playing “anti-openings”.
There is a rule in art: the professionalism of an actor is proved by means of classical, ever-lasting performances. If an actor cannot play a classical role, he is just an amateur. However, if an actor is able to perform classics, but unable to give the role some of his own individuality, the actor is no more than a good professional, but not a creative one.
Mostly the classics are difficult to play because the spectators have already seen them, so that you won’t get them interested by the text or the plot. What they want is to see the way a classical role is played. To arouse the audience’s applause (or win a game of chess) you should find significant nicities of the role, which is impossible if you lack talent.
Chess is an art as well, and so this rule can be applied to it. A chess-player should learn and play classical openings if he wants not only to achieve success as a sportsman, but also to become an artist. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO BREAK THROUGH. If you only stick to Ruy Lopez, Scotch Game, Reti Opening or Sicilian Defense, you might make certain progress and then wonder why you are not developing and improving your results. One should acquire a lot of technical skills, study a lot of typical positions to achieve success in classical chess. To master classical chess means to know how to play “right” chess. “Anti-openings” in turn cause a “to-and fro-game”.
A coach who teaches classical chess is supposed to know quite a lot about both classical openings and general culture. If a coach does not meet this requirement, his pupil is bound to study no more than 2 – 3 openings and neglect the theory of openings.
Playing an opening is in many ways like putting on a play. If an opening (or a performance) is badly organized, the actors’ playing won’t help. In that case, excellent moves are very rare and they seem as out of place as a tank at a horse show.
A young chess-player should learn to CREATE complicated positions instead of involving himself in the game where positions of this kind might be created.
It is very boring (especially for the young) to study classical openings, but that is valuable practice. And, as we know, practice makes perfect.
Today it is extremely hard to get even “+/= ” playing an opening, so if you have managed to turn the position to suit your tastes, the opening is considered successful.
Classical openings contain a lot of strategic and tactical approaches, they provide a chess-player with innumerable lines and situations. Nearly every move of classical openings is based on gaining the upper hand. “Anti-openings” are far less interesting. A lot of their moves are deprived of any ideas, because they are not aimed at winning a game. Ruy Lopez resembles in a way a classical waltz, and Reti Opening is very much like a twist, where the partners don’t depend on each other and dance for themselves.
Contributed by : A.Vaysman Honored coach of Ukraine
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Tips For learning Chess Part 1 - Talent & Hard Work

The Greatest World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik considered the success in chess as a combination of 4 factors.
* Special Chess Talent
* Good Physical conditions (Health).
* Strong Character
* High working skills
To achieve success in modern chess requires being a universal style chessplayer, playing all stages of a game confidently, and mastering typical positions in various openings.
Such a training program takes several years of strenuous work under the guidance of a qualified and thoughtful coach. For instance, in order to play the ending confidently, it is necessary for a junior player to remember the right way to play thousand typical endgame positions, requiring something like two years of the most arduous study.
First of all, a chessplayer must be able to work hard consistently. How many sparkling talents never made it to the top because of the absence of this skill?
I always remind my pupils: Talent has one advantage the right to work more than the others. A simple reasoning convinces you: Suppose a talented boy needs just ten minutes to master some chess material. A less talented player needs 20 minutes. If the talent will not spend these ten minutes and the other one will spend his 20 minutes, then who will be at an advantage?!
Only those children who are fanatically devoted to chess canbe expected to spend long hours at the chess board at home, reading chess books every day, and solving an enormous number of various tactic or dull endgame positions.
Garry Kasparov once wrote: I perceived all too early that you have to pay for everything in your life. A talented child has just a single thing to pay thats his childhood.
Nobody has ever found any other formula for that of success: TALENT + HARD WORK!
Contributed by : A.Vaysman Honored coach of Ukraine
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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making Your Opening Book Stronger

The best chance of getting your performance up is the book. Players who tune their books to get the strongest lines will always have the advantage (almost regardless of hardware) over those who use readily available "off the shelf" books. I have seen players with relatively modest hardware get very high ELO just by working on their book and adjusting the lines. This is because once a book is used in the engine room and people play against it, they then analyze their games and adjust the book moves so that what may today be a strong line in in your book could well have become a weak line by tomorrow if you play the same player again.

My advice is to start with a base opening book that has been made from engine vs engine games Rybka II was a good book when it came out but is now a year old and the lines have been superceded by stronger ones that people have put into their book. I would recommend download the latest Kevin Frayer Tour book from http://www.frayerchess.com/home or use Perfect 13.ctg from http://www.sedatchess.com/perfect13_book.html, and use the book as your base.

One simple way to tune a book is to play back over your drawn or lost games to the point at which you leave the book phase (ie. no more book moves). If the evaluation was equal or negative for you at that point, then run Rybka in infinite analysis in that position (say to depth 19 or 20) and whatever it come out with as the strongest move you put this move into your book so that next time you play that line, the engine will choose the stronger move. This is time consuming but it is the way to make your book play stronger moves than other people's books. Also if you can kibitz games by high ELO players, then look back at those games (they are stored automatically in your Fritz) and change your book to mirror their strong lines !

In terms of how to manually edit the book - if you have the little booklet that came with Fritz 9 then in sections 5.6 and all of section 11 give details. Also there is a manual on the Fritz 9 DVD . Pages 49 to 54 give some instructions to have a look at. Meanwhile I will try to give a brief pointer:

Go into Fritz and do File/Open/Openings Book and select the book you want to edit. Then select the Openings Book tab on right hand side of screen. Basically you can either

a) add a new move to the book, To do this right click somewhere in that book area (not on a move just in empty space) and tick Allow Move Adding. then when you play back through a game and want to add new line, just make the move on the actual board and then select new main line from the options. This will then have added the move to the book.

b) change the 'weighting' of an existing move making it more/less likely to be chosen. This is shown in the Prob / % column. To change it right click on the actual move itself and do change weight. The value is from -125 (very unlikely to be picked) to +125 (very likely to be picked). You can change these manually to any value. Actually this is what the automatic book learning does based on whether games are won or lost - but this is how you do it manually.

c) or mark moves either red (means they won't be played ever) or green (mean they will be picked, with a probability given by the % column). To make a move red right click on it and select Don't play in tournament
To make a move green right click on it and select Main Move. You might want to make a move red if you find that at some point in the book line you had a negative evaluation and therefore you can mark that move red so it won't be played again.

There is more to it than this but this should give you enough to start editing your book which is a great start and you should see an improvement in results once you've started to tune the book like this.

Hope this helps - good luck.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

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