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Middle game tactics: Moving the worst piece first is a good idea

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The Middle game part in the game of chess is the place where most of the tactics are tried and effectively deployed. This is so because, it is in this stage that the major and minor pieces of both the players would be battling for control over the squares. As you might be aware, tactics are a series of less than three moves at a stretch aimed at a positional advantage and/or thwarting the plans of the opponent. In most of the cases, the tactical moves planned by a player might not fully materialize due to the defensive moves or counter attacking moves of the opponent. So, there would be a series of tactics that might be required to be calculated and assessed by the player before effectively deploying it into action.

It is quite possible in such occasions that one gets caught in a dilemma as to which piece to move or how to initiate a tactical ploy to gain advantage over the opponent. It is in this context that assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the major and minor pieces at work in the board should be assessed, and the least effective piece in the board should be considered as the starting point of a tactical ploy. The process of identifying the weak piece is not a one-time affair in the game. The positions keep changing quite frequently and it is essential that the idea of identifying the relative weakness in the pieces is constantly reviewed and tactics are planned accordingly so that one can have an edge over the opponent.

Let us try to explore this concept a little deeper with the help of a game played in 1995 between two grandmasters, and see how the concept works out.

The position of the game after 26 moves by White is given hereunder, and it is the turn of Black to make a move.


A casual look at the board reveals that the Black has two bishops as against one of White. White, however, has an additional Knight and also one extra pawn. Despite a pawn down, black has a good position on the board, and a fair chance for launching the attack. The light squared bishop is threatening the white knight at a3, and at the same time providing cover for the pawn at f3. Now the dilemma is which is the piece to be moved. It is evident that the rook at f8 is not so effective, and there is not much room for moving any of the pawns.

The game continued as follows with the black preferring to move his weak rook at f8.

26. …. Rg8
27. Rg1 …. Sensing the ploy that blacks light squared bishop might threaten the white king with a check on g2, the rock has been moved for additional cover.
27. …. Rxg1
28. Kxg1 …. Black preferred to exchange his rook

The position in the board after White’s 28th move is given below:


As has been stated earlier, it is not necessary that the idea of identifying the worst piece should be a one-time affair. It has to be looked for constantly to have better control over the overall board and also an edge over the opponent. Now, we need to once again identify the weak piece or the piece that can be ideally considered for the next move. The light-squared bishop is exerting pressure on the White King restricting his move to only two of the four possible moves, and the dark-squared bishop is protecting the pawn at f3. It is obvious that the queen should be the one to be moved.

A deep look at the squares reveals that the white square d3 is unprotected. This would be better for the black queen to land in to exert more pressure on the white king. Black decides to execute the plan as follows:

28. …. Qg6+
29. Kh1 Qd3 Mission completed for black
30. Be1 …. White tries to activate his Knight at a3 to c2.

The position after 30 moves of white is given below:


It is the turn of Black to move now. What should he move now? Again the process of identifying the weak piece or ineffective piece needs to be carried out.

It is clear that after White moved his dark-squared bishop from d2 to e1, the threat for the black pawn at f3 is eliminated, and there is no need for the dark-squared bishop at d6 to provide cover for the f3 pawn. As such, the weak piece or ineffective piece now turns out to be the dark-squared bishop.

30. …. Be7
31. Nc2 Bh4
32. Nb4 Qd1

The game is almost over for White. The decision to move the dark-squared bishop from d6 to e7 and then follow it with a move to h4 (Bh4) is too good for white to handle, and as such lost the initiative. The end game is more of a formality now, with black firmly in control.

Analysis of the positions and the relative strengths and weaknesses should precede any tactical ploys, and this game is a best example for this useful trick, which might turn out to be so handy in the middle game.

A look at Pawn Endings and Opposition

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The Power of Pawn – Pawn Promotions

In this brief article we will go over some situations where you can end up in pawn ending game. Pawn ending games are always the trickiest part for beginners as they always end up playing it wrong.One important tip to remember when in a pawn ending game is that the King should be in front of his pawn, with at least one intervening square.

(Example 1)


Pawn Promotion – 1 pawn vs 0 pawn

One of the most important endgame position, the whole sequence of moves are important and you must familiarize yourself with the procedure. The reason behind learning the position really well is that, this principle will help you learn the more advance variations of such position. Every beginner should study this position until they can play the moves without any trouble.  I cannot stress enough how important is the given position. As mentioned earlier for any such endgame to be won the king must be in front of the pawn, in this example the game is drawn because white king is not in front of the pawn with at least one intervening square and thus there is no way that white can promote the pawn.

(Example 2)


Pawn Promotion – 1 pawn vs 0 pawn cont.

In this position white is winning given it knows what to do. The strategy to follow is not that difficult the idea is to move the king as far as is compatible with the safety of the pawn and never to advance the pawn until it is essential to its own safety.

The ending is similar to the last one, but in this one white wins and you must study the position thoroughly and practice it as many times as possible to master the sequence of moves because the position can arrive on any side of the board and in many different manners. Thus it is essential to master the moves and then try to over the moves every now and then until the idea is grasped and digested.

A simple sequence of moves to win the position would be as follows –

1.Ke4   Ke6
2.e3     Kf6
3.Kd5  Kf5
4.e4+   Kf6
5.Kd6  Kf7
6.e5      Ke8

Now no matter where black moves white can secure either f7 or d7 and then promote the pawn to a queen.

(Example 3)


Pawn Promotion – 2 pawns vs 1 pawn

Now we shall move to some more pawn endings these will be bit advanced and thus will require more time to digest than the first ones, but the idea remains the same. Best way to learn these methods would be to practice and practice, this article can only guide you and the rest should be done through practice.

From the diagram above at first glance it may seem easy but these situations can be very daunting to new players and most games can end up in a draw. For example in the given position the best way for white would be to play the following moves –

1.Kd7   Kg8
2.Ke7   Kh8
3.f6       gxf6
4.Kf7    f5
5.g7+    Kh7
6.g8Q+ Kh6

As you can see at first glance it may look difficult but with practice it can become a lot more easier, you just remember the basic ideas. In this case we know that king has to be cornered and then give up the pawn in order to push the g pawn and then promote it to queen and then mate is followed. Again you must practice the position good number of times so that you know it inside out and can apply the moves in a real game.

Lets look at another position which can also be very easy but can be very daunting to some beginners and most of them do make mistakes when they end up in a position as such.

(Example 4)


In the following position white cannot win if he/she plays f5 because then black will play g6 and then the game is a dull draw. Same goes for g5 because then again black will move g6 and it is a draw. In this position the best move is Ke4 and then black plays Ke6 you may be wondering why not g6, well if black plays g6 then (kd4 Ke6 Kc5 Kf6 Kd6 Kf7 g5 Kg7 Ke7 Kg8 Kf6 Kh7 and Kf7 wins the pawn) and that is why Ke6 is a better move.

After Ke4 Ke6, the next best move for white is f5+ Kf6 and then Kf4 g6 and after that a series of moves such as 1.g5+ Kf7 2.f6 Ke6 3.Ke4 Kf7 4.Ke5 Kf8 and now white has to give the f pawn in order to get into a position so that the win can come by easily in this case by giving the f pawn white forces the king to capture it and then corner it and win the g pawn and queen its own g pawn. The moves are as followed after Kf8.

1. f7       Kxf7
2. Kd6 Kf8
3. Ke6  Kg7
4. Ke7  Kg8
5. Kf6    Kh7
6. Kf7    Kh8
7. Kxg6 Kg8
8. Kh6    Kh8
9. g6        Kg8
10. g7       Kf7
11. Kh7

And now white will promote the pawn to queen and the mate to follow.

(Example 5)


Pawn Promotion – 3 pawns vs 2 pawns

In this position white can either move f5 or h5 or Ke4. But a simple procedure would be as follows.

1.f5      Ke7
2.Ke5 Kf7
3.g5     Ke7
4.h5     g6
5.hxg6 hxg6

In this position if g6 or f6 is played earlier then one of the earlier positions will come into play by now you should have good idea of some basic positions if you learn the basics then the it will be easier to grasp the other one as well.

(Example 6)


Pawn Promotion – 3 pawns vs 2 pawns Contd

After doing some basics lets move to some other variations of the same positions with pawns vs pawns ending. This time around with pawns on other sides of the board. In a situation like such the general rule of thumb is that you must move your king to the side of the board where you have stronger forces in other words where you have more pawns. But as mentioned before if played incorrectly this winning position can turn into a draw.

Combination of moves to win the game would be the following. Remember the basic idea you move on the side of the board with stronger forces. And then once the king is pushed you can move the king to other side of the board and then win.

1.g4  a5
2.a4  Kf6 (in this position after black has played a5 it is best to move a4 just in case things go wrong the other side you will have the pawn already half way through to move.)
3.h4  Ke6
4.g5   Kf7
5.Kf5 Kg7
6.h5   Kf7
7.Ke5 Kg8
8.g6     h6
9.Kd5  Kg7

Now no matter what white wins so the white king can move to the left side of the board and capture the a pawn if the black king tries to capture white h pawn then the g pawn will move and there is no way to stop it. In this position things can get nasty so always make sure that you have control on one side of the board before moving to the other side.

Surefire Reasons Why You Should Play Chess

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Are you wondering why there are a lot of people who love playing chess? You might probably ask, what is in chess that makes these people fascinated with it. To make everything clear to you, below are the many reasons why people including yourself should play chess.

Chess is the game of individuals from all walks of like. Anyone of any age can learn how to play this game. Compare to other sports, there is no need to retire in chess.

Chess enhances memory. The theory of chess is complex and majority of players learn various opening variations. Also, you will learn different patterns and memorize extensive variations.

Chess develops concentration. When playing the game you concentrate on mainly one objective and that is to checkmate and win the game.

Chess enhances logical thinking. This game needs some knowledge of logical tactic. You are able to learn how to create techniques in order to secure you king. Although it is inevitable to make mistakes with chess, still it is comparable to life as it offers a continuous learning process.

Chess improves creativity and imagination. It motivates a person to be imaginative. There are indistinct quantities of pleasing combinations that are until now needed to be created.

Chess encourages independence. A person playing the chess is forced to crate significant decisions manipulated merely by his or her own opinion.

Chess improves the ability to foretell and anticipate consequences of any action. It will instruct you to consider both ways before doing any decision.

Chess arouses self-motivation. It promotes the search for the finest move, the greatest plan, the most pleasing continuation beyond nonstop possibilities. It persuades the endless objective towards improvement, always searching for ways to light the fire of victory.

Chess enhances academic performance and grades. Many studies have shown evidences that kids get a greater reading level, math level and a higher learning capability in general because of playing chess. For all of the reasons already mentioned above, kids playing chess perform well at school and thus have greater opportunity to be successful in his or her life.

Chess introduces you to the world. You don’t have to a top ranked chess player to join huge important competitions. Tournaments like the World Open and US Open receive players of different levels of strength. This game will offer you a lot of chances to travel not just your country but the entire world. The game is a universal language. Many people speak its language and you can communicate with them through the checkered plain.

Chess gives the chances of meeting interesting individuals. You can able to make long-term friendships with individuals you meet up with chess.

Chess is affordable. You do not necessarily need an expensive equipment to play this game. In fact, you might just need your computer. Also, it is great to play chess set with your family at home.

Chess is a total fun! This is not a simple board game. Every chess game is unique as you need to make a lot of new ideas for every game. It definitely never gets dull.

Therefore, to make this short, chess is a lot of things!

How to Improve your Chess Game

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How to improve your chess

Chess is considered by many to be one of the ultimate tests of intelligence and skill. It takes clever planning and a large amount of strategy to do well in this game. One not only needs to have a thorough understanding of the pieces and how they work, but they have to be familiar and comfortable enough in the game to relax enough to think through all of their potential moves. Understanding the opponent is another huge factor into how a chess game will run. Knowing your opponent’s skill level as well as the types of moves they favor and are likely to make will go a long way in playing a strong chess game. No doubt, it is a game of superior intelligence. The alertness of the mind, capacity to contemplate on and select the right future is some basic requirements of this brainy game. Of course, you cannot cultivate talent only with the help of your labor but if you have a little of it you can surely bone it. Do not forget the age-old maxim that genius is five percents inspiration and ninety-nine percents perspiration. Moreover, hardly any human being is totally devoid of the element of talent. Only when we fail to perspire for making it develop that we lag behind the others who do. This is what we purpose to do with this article.

There are times when in the absence of the right kind of guidance our talents wither. Since they don’t know how to properly irrigate and fertilize this plant of talent, this gets withered away. Remember that like any other discipline, chess also needs your unrelinquish devotion. The young boys normally don’t know how to utilize their free time, especially those who have the potentials. Follow the guidelines given ahead and become a good chess player.

1. Read Chess-books and Magazines

After playing some games, read the book carefully. Play more games and the read the book. Each time you absorb some points that seemed previously obscure or did not grip you.

The way you improve most is not by playing opponents, but by playing over well-annotated games. Cover one side’s move usually the winner’s) and think out of each move before looking.

If you are eager to improve your play rapidly, write down the moves of all your games, not only the competitive one (in which recording is compulsory). It is best to write them in chess scorebooks, as loose score-sheets are easily lost. Afterwards, play each game and jot down critical comments. This how the grandmaster developed his skill in chess and became proficient in a short time without any coaching. It is surprising how much the game became clearer when you see every position a second time, in the light of what happened first time. You become your own tutor. If, after writing your comments you submit some of your games and your comments to a competent coach or top player for assessment for a suitable fee will improve more rapidly still.

Reading chess books by standard authors will also help. Try to follow the notations in a particular style. In case you get hold of those old books in which the notations are not in algebraic form, try to convert it in that form. Even this conversion exercise would give you a good peep inside the intricacies of the game. Write them down in a separate exercise book and the same way you do to develop you ability, say in Mathematics. This is very enlightening exercise. Just keep a small chess board with pieces alongside and convert descriptive notations into Algebraic notations. It is necessary because the algebraic notation was devised only a couple years ago while the earlier chess-books where only written in descriptive style. Remember that it is not a time consuming and boring exercise but a very rewarding one.

Besides doing this read some good magazines or newspapers having chess columns. Nowadays there is hardly any good journal or newspaper not having chess columns. Read those problems and solve them. Your intention while solving them should be to prove the given solution to be wrong! The idea is that you should independently try to attack the problem. In the process if you happen to hit some different solution deem it that you are on the right path of progress in your chess studies. You may join a club having the facility of chess. You might develop you chess skill in the company of the other learners.

Of course, you can enjoy chess without worrying about improvements. However, this is a natural tendency of an awakened mind to improve one’s performance in any sphere. By following the methods recommended here, almost anybody can become a strong player in a fraction of time normally taken.

Doctor Emanuel Lasker (World Champion 1897-1921) considered that given a logical approach, a person of average talent would not need to give chess more than 200 hours to reach a stage where a master player who conceded him or her handicap would surely lose.

Lasker’s 200 hours was an underestimate, no doubt, but certain it is that most players could reach in months a standard that usually takes them years to attain.

Some newspapers publish regular chess columns in which composed chess problems are a feature. In a problem, an artificial position is setup and a solver is required to find a way to check mate in a specified number of moves, usually 2 or 3, no matter what replies the defender makes. In these, for the sake of uniformity, White always makes the first (key) move. In 2-move problems, only the key move is required. In 3-move problems, the second moves are required for correct solutions. As the composer’s purpose is to make the task difficult, the key move is usually on that would be unlikely to occur to a player in an actual game, and is never capture (except of a Pawn) and never a check.

2. Play Handicap Chess with Senior Players

The often given advice to play against stronger players has two distinct drawbacks. Firstly, it is discouraging if you invariably lose. Secondly, it is painful boring for the opponent if the different in skill is great. The strong player would be too polite to tell you this, but will find some excuse to stop playing. To fore stat this, ask the opponent to give you a handicap (give you odds in the chess parlance) e.g. to remove a Knight, a Rook, a Rook plus Knight, or even the Queen. Once the right odds found, both players can have exciting game. When removing a Knight or a Rook as a handicap, convention decrees that it shall be the one on the Queen’s wing.

Another kind of handicap is possible with the use of chess clocks. The expert can play with a very short time limit, his opponents at a much greater one. If the difference in skill is not too wide, this sort of handicap is better, as there is no alteration of the starting position. If the difference in skill is very great, it is a good idea to use both systems.

For single games, you cannot use a time handicap unless you have chess clocks. However, in simultaneous exhibitions, a time handicap operates automatically.

Here the expert opposes a large number of players seated in a circle or rectangle, each with a board and pieces in front of him or her. The expert steps from board to board, making a move at each one. Obviously, the expert can take only a fraction of time that opponents take, as the master may have to make 10,20,30,40 or more moves in the time that each opponent has for one move.

Simultaneous exhibitions have provided, from time immemorial, an excellent opportunity for a large number of players to oppose a master under conditions that give the amateurs some chance of bringing off a draw or even a win.

3. Have chess software

Playing chess against a well-programmed computer also helps in your developing chess-skill. It was inevitable in our age of electronics that chess would engage the attention of computer engineers. The real revolution in computer chess was brought about by the introduction of portable, relatively inexpensive microcomputers. These have been steadily improving and the latest models feature up to sixty-four levels of play, programmed openings and games, a voice announcing moves, and sensitized squares to eliminate the need for a keyboard. Most can play a reasonable game, while the more advanced models complete successfully in open tournaments.

As hinted before, microcomputers are most useful to players who have a problem in finding an opponent. Teaching level with programmed opening variations and suggested best moves are provided to help the students. For top players computers provide a convenient way of storing information on openings and end games. Most top players use personal computer for this purpose.

4. General Advice

You should start playing preferably with another beginner, as soon as you have learned the moves. Do not be discouraged if you are slow in remembering the rules. With a little practice, you will get accustomed to the moves of the pieces and will be able to start working things out without trying to remember how each one move and capture.

Chess is competitive and a desire to win is its strongest motivation. This is why you should play with another beginner whom you have a chance to defeating. It is better if you have an instructor who can supervise the game to make you sure that the rules are observed and to point out where you went wrong after the game.

Textbook dealing with all aspects of the game in one volume, vary in scope and price. Some chess manuals are written by champions, others by chess teachers – they all help the beginner to delve deeper into the mysteries of chess. Later the person wishing to improve skills further more can specialize by studying various aspects of the game and here there is a vast choice of aids.

Books dealing with openings range from comprehensive manuals in several large volumes, not recommended for beginners, to books designed to explain the reasons why the openings are played in a certain way.

The Middle game is dealt with by explaining the basic strategic principles and by giving examples of tactical combinations. There are many books dealing with this subject.

The end game is part of the game, which all aspiring players should study. Here again there is a choice of many books. Best for beginners are elementary books, which explain basic principles that are most likely to occur in practical way. For advanced players there are books, which deal with specific ending in depth. Finally, we come to collection of games of great players. We recommend the books with detailed comments, especially those designed for beginners.

The young learners are advice not to rely heavily on chess problems to acquire mastery in this game. These problems are as removed from as crossword puzzles are from literature. Surely, they bone one’s power of visualization of the moves. Play as many actual games as possible and solve chess problem to keep your mind alert in the chess-sense. Remember in chess (the actual game) the object of the game is to defeat the opponent, the means by which this end is achieve or the time is takes, being unimportant. In problems, however, the opponent represents by time. Mate must be effect with in the stipulated number of moves. Since the position given in the problems is frequently quixotic, most of the seasoned chess players dismiss then as situation unworthy of consideration. On the other hand, the polemists maintain that game involves too much laborious and profitless wood shifting, and that the artistry of fifty games can be compound into a single artificial position. Nevertheless, the best courses open for young learners to have the judicious mixture of the two.

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Chess Tactics Forks 6

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White to move


White to move and win material, this should be easy to spot after all the Forks we have been doing so far.


1.Qxc6 Qxc6

2.Ne7+ (no matter what black plays Nxc6 wins the Queen)