Smithy’s First Ever YouTube Video!

Alright everyone, time for something brand new and exciting!  I have created my first chess YouTube video!

I’ve been toying with this idea for over a year, ever since I helped a friend create a few video, and I learned some of the ins and outs of the process.  Over the last few months, I’ve created several private videos for people, and I’ve used their feedback to mould the presentation, content and delivery.  The end result is what you see here.  Special thanks to Martin, Steve and Alex for giving particularly detailed feedback.  Much appreciated.

For my first video, I chose to help the most active reader of my blog, Gringo.  I offered to analyze a game of his, and he gave me a very interesting encounter against a National Master with a barely believable 2600 bullet rating.  This wasn’t a bullet game, but Gringo was clearly the underdog … and yet he had reached a very good position.  Let’s take a look.

In particular, this video tried to answer the fundamental question this game asked, namely, when is it good to sacrifice a piece for several pawns.  I offered the following criteria:

  1. Do you get an immediate initiative, an attack?
  2. Do you limit your opponent’s play?
  3. Can you reach an endgame where you can quickly push your pawns?

If you can answer all three, it is probably a winning idea.  If you get two, it’s still worth exploring deeply.  If you get one, you might want to check other candidate moves and only come back if this one fails.  If you get none, it’s probably not worth exploring.

Of course, you always need to calculate, but the above checklist can help you evaluate the position, or to decide if the idea is one worth spending much time on.  If you can’t see an immediate win (or a refutation), then the checklist can help you.

So there we go!  My first video.  Tell me your thoughts, your ideas, your comments.  Tell me if you like this better than my articles, if you want to see both.  Tell me if you have ideas for future videos.  Tell me if you like it, if you hate it, if you couldn’t care, if it were too long, if it were too short, if I talked too fast, too slow, too much accent.  If you tell me, I can fix it and/or keep doing it.

Hope you found it useful.

3 thoughts on “Smithy’s First Ever YouTube Video!

  1. Gringo

    This is quite a wonderful analysis. Of course you know I made these mistakes to make it easier for you to create a video out of it. Planned all this years ago.

    The first starteling change from reading your blog to listening to it was the change in mood. Your blogs are neutral to slightly negative in sentiment from my perspective at least. The video on the other hand was joyful. Everything was fun, exciting, and supercharged.

    For learning purposes the video was so much easier. Just watching the variations being explained and getting the pieces move in all directions. I’d say the combination is much better. I’d lean a bit towards the video simply because I could watch it passively even at work and re-watch it.

    In terms of delivery the speed at the start seemed a bit fast. By the middle or end I didn’t have issues with speed. Either I got used to the rythm or you slowed down.

    In terms of the game due to my lesser experience with a lot of games I had assumed no one would play sacrifice a piece the way I did. With you clearly written and oft repeated rules it’s a lot easier to know when it’s advisable to not get carried away with a scrifice. At the end of the day I feel it was well worth the time to watch your video as I have learned some valuable pointers from it.

    Well done.


  2. JP Post author

    I’m glad you enjoyed and benefited from it, Gringo, as I suppose you are the main audience!

    Thank you as well for the feedback. I’m surprised at the neutral to pessimistic slant from my writing, as I’m far from a pessimist. As a trained philosopher, though, almost all of my professional writing is deconstruction, that is, taking a complex thing, breaking it into smaller pieces and, usually, explaining why it doesn’t work. Hence, the pessimism. Perhaps that training has crept into my writing in general.

    Though I’ve had some public speaking training, I’ve always talked very quickly, and that doubles when I get excited. This will get better as I get more experienced. It is a strange experience, let me tell you, talking at my computer to record my voice. Very different from teaching in person.

    As an aside, I went through a period where I ALWAYS sacrificed a piece for two or three pawns, and that temptation still sits inside me. It didn’t always work, but it helped me learn when it works and when it doesn’t, which eventually became my little checklist I used in the video. Whenever I see an unusual idea, I feel I HAVE to play it, as otherwise I’ll never know if it works… and if it does, then I have an immortal game on my hands.

  3. Gringo

    Your negative slant might have been from your writings about your grandfather. Perhaps I have gone through too much of the blog to get a gist of it instead of what the recent trend in sentiment has been. Your blog is your voice, and it’s the authenticity of this voice that makes is special, special enough to be returned to.

    Perhaps it’s not the destination, but the journey that matters, as they say in Star Trek. Follow your heart, with a sprinkling on brains and we just might travel along with you on this beautiful journey of discovery.


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