Monday, 26 September 2011

Reviewing Lost Games

It is very important to write down all the moves from the games that you lose and get Fritz or Chessmaster etc. to suggest alternative variations if you can't find them yourselves. I write down the moves of my "lost games" in a special "Lost Games Book" (must include 'Opponent', 'Date' (when game was played), 'Position' (move # where I went wrong) and the alternative variation(s))

Position where lost (Move #):
Reason for Loss:
Alternative Variation: 

Hopefully after reviewing the "Loss Book" after 3 - 6 months, trends will start to appear regarding how you lose most often.  Whatever the reason, it is up to you to take remedial action and look at ways of correcting your play ...  This can be dealt with directly by taking the common reasons for losing and consciously working on those areas until improvements are made.

Reasons for losing
- Time Trouble
- Hanging Pieces and / or Pawns
- Failure to see a checkmate against me
- Failure to see a checkmate that I could have played
- Failure to see a tactical combination to win opponents piece and / or pawn
- Failure to see a tactical combination that caused me to lose a piece and / or pawn
- Inferior Opening leading to weak position
- Inferior Middlegame Strategy
- Inferior Endgame Technique

Only by admitting to yourself that you have weaknesses (even against lower graded players) and taking remedial action by reviewing your games, will you become a better chess player in the long term.  In the next article I will examine ways in which you can study and train to improve on the above areas.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine

Great docufilm

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine

Worth a watch...

Kasparov in Clichy - analysis by IM Andrew Martin

A chess colleague has just informed me that Kasparov recently had 2 convincing blitz wins against Vachier-Lagrave, a top talent rated over 2700. It just goes to show that unlike many sports, with chess you can still make a comeback and challenge the worlds elite, despite being out of the spotlight for years!

Commentary by IM Andrew Martin

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Golders Green Rapidplay

Here are some photos from the most recent Golders Green Rapidplay organised by Adam Raoof.

Golders Green Photos - 10th September

I recognise many of the players - but it's nice to see some new faces appearing!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

What Good Play Is Not

"Whoever sees no other aim in the game than that of giving checkmate to one's opponent will never become a good chess-player".

Machgielis ("Max") Euwe (b.1901),
Strategy and Tactics in Chess, 1937.

Tactics Problem #3

Here is an intermediate tactics problem ... (fairly easy)

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Sunday, 11 September 2011

What Good Play Is

"In CHESS, as played by a good player, logic and imagination must go hand in hand, compensating each other".

Chess March 1938.

Tactics Problem #2

Here is an intermediate tactics problem ... (fairly tricky)

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Tactics Problem #1

Here is a tactics problem to get everyone started ...

(Careful not to scroll too far - you'll see the answer ... !)

White to move ...

PGN Viewer courtesy of

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Chessmaster-9000 for Endgame Tactics

What do we need to know about chess endgames? A few months back I played at a 'rapidplay' event and got talking to a colleague about chess software. I told him that I thought that "surely the only serious option is Fritz?". "Well .. ", he replied, "havent you got a copy of Chessmaster 9000? - It has all the principles in there that you need to know ... " We played a quick 5 minute blitz game and he mercilessly wiped the floor with me! (He swears by CM-9000)

That's it, I thought - the next opportunity I have - I'm buying a copy of CM-9000 !!

I bought a copy the following day (at another chess competition) !! Although I payed more than I should have done, I have to say that I am not disappointed at all ...

This has so far proved to be a great study aid for openings, tactics in the middlegame and endings. The ending training (quizz) is very useful ... !

Certain characteristics always ring true in any type of ending and the Chessmaster 9000 CD contains just the right balance of subject matter to keep you focused and attentive without boring you stupid.

Here are some of the endgame topics that are covered in the Chessmaster tutorial section:

1) Queening a pawn by understanding the principle of 'the opposition'.

2) Understanding the principle of 'the distant opposition' (includes maintaining an odd number of squares between kings)

3) Confinement: keeping the enemy king on the 1st or the 8th file.

4) Three pawns against three pawns.

5) Outside passed pawns.

6) Correct calculation for pawn advancement / promotion. Includes accurate counting of squares and taking tricky tactics into account wherever possible!

7) Rooks on the 7th rank (and the prevention of!).

8) Knight and pawn vs pawn endgames.

9) Knight and Bishop and pawn endgames.

10) Opposite coloured Bishop endgames.

11) 'Under-promotion' to win the game.

12) Rook and pawn against Rook endings - includes 'winning skewers'.

13) Rook and pawn endings in general.

14) Queen and pawn against Queen endings.

If you are serious about chess then I consider the above endgame topics to be a 'staple diet' for your endgame training ... If you can honestly say that you are competent with all of the above then you are well on the way to becoming an expert chess player ... !

Endgame training is often neglected by most casual players, but the grounding that the CM-9000 software provides, will provide you with a huge advantage if you take the time and effort to learn from it ...

CM-9000 - Amazon Link
CM-Grandmaster Edition
You-tube Intro to CM-9000

Friday, 2 September 2011

Grand Prix Attack-2

Here is my second game in PGN Viewer published earlier in this blog.