Category Archives: Chess

Smithy’s Videos, August 2017

I only made about three blog posts, but I was very busy throughout August chess-wise.  I’ve studied, I’ve practiced, I’ve played a few games and, most importantly for today, I’ve created a few hours worth of video content. Indeed, about the only thing I haven’t done is write a post.

To make up for that, I’m going to write a post … about all the videos I’ve created.  Hey, it’s better than nothing, and I know most people haven’t subscribed on YouTube, so this may be your first chance to see the following. Continue reading

The Colle System and Kingside Attacks

A viewer asked me to create  a video on the dangers of castling, specifically, when is castling early a mistake.  Since this usually means castling into an attack, I focused on typical Kingside ideas.  You can see it below.

That said, the first part of the video deals with a Colle System game that completely shows everything involving a Kingside attack against the castled King.  See the full analysis of said game below, which expands on the video. Continue reading

Smithy’s Opening Crossroad

Why do we play chess?  Ultimately, it’s to have fun, right?  Sure, winning is nice and seldom gets boring, but given the choice, you’d rather win and have fun than win while being bored out of your mind, right?

This is where I am struggling, and it chiefly relates to my opening choices.  I have a very correct opening repertoire.  I play the Queen’s Gambit and Ruy Lopez as White, considered the two best openings after 1.e4 and 1.d4 respectively.  Against 1.d4 I chiefly play the Nimzo, perhaps the most sound yet ambitious opening Black can try, and against 1.e4 I have played a little bit of everything but mostly the Kan / Taimonov Sicilian and the Open Spanish, which are again two of the oldest and most respected openings around.

All of this is great and all, and it would compare to any GM anywhere … and yet I don’t think I like any of these positions. Continue reading

Miniature #3: Steinitz and the Evans Gambit

Another week, another miniature chess games.  This is a classic, one of my favourites, Steinitz – Rock, 1858.

You’ve likely heard of Steinitz before.  He’s the first official World Champion, who combined the tactical genius of the Romantic players but while also formulating the basic rules of positional play.  His ideas, especially when distilled and expressed through the great teacher Tarrasch, transformed chess from a back-room brawl into something more of a science, where a great position needs to come before a great attack.

You’ve likely never heard of Rock before.  That’s because he was an amateur, the equivalent of NN … and as you can imagine, he gets slaughtered in typical champion vs amateur fashion.  Let’s take a loo Continue reading

Blog Status Going Forward

For the last few weeks I’ve been busy, trying to make up for my lack of … anything during June.  In the process, I’ve produced several YouTube videos of varying quality, and I’ve enjoyed this new medium.  I’ve also spent hours going through GM Smirnov‘s course Calculate Till Mate, which is opening my eyes.  Let me go through everything and detail what the plan is going forward.

First, I think the videos are here to stay.  I’m having far more fun speaking my thoughts than I thought I would, and I’m getting far more engagement than my regular game analysis posts.  I mean, frig, I’ve gotten more comments in the last two weeks than I’ve had in the last six months.  Maybe that speaks more to YouTube’s ability to reach people more than my meagre SEO skills, but it’s still telling. Continue reading

Miniature #2: Taking Advantage of Mistakes

[Updated with extra analysis below: July 30, 2017]

Here’s the second in my video series on chess miniatures, featuring a game between Dukaczewski (2372) – Dineley (2264), Turin, 2006.

This analysis features a very common error in general (moving pieces multiple times in the opening) as well as specific (playing an early Na5 to chase a Bishop on c4).  I try to show both why these are mistakes and then how to react accordingly.

Let’s take a look. Continue reading

Miniature #1: Don’t Move the Same Piece Twice

Here we go.  SmithyQ presents YouTube video number two!

This one may become a regular series.  I adore chess miniatures.  These are games under 25 moves, usually finishing with a crushing attack or fancy tactics.  In order to lose in under 25 moves, one side has to make some decisive mistakes.  Studying miniatures teaches us both to recognize when these mistakes happen and how to punish them most effectively.  Your opening and early middlegame attacking skills will increase tremendously after even just a few games.

Also, miniatures are a heck of a lot of fun, so let’s take a look. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Free Lessons from Smirnov: How To Analyze Your Games

I would like to share the following, a free series of videos roughly 30min long from GM Igor Smirnov, where he explains how to analyze your games.  The approach he recommends is basically the same as the one I use, though he has one interesting twist which I don’t use often, and one I will definitely think about.  It’s free, it’s great, it’s Smirnov, take a look.

There’s also a personal reason I’m recommending it.  You see, Smirnov spends a few minutes analyzing a position from one of my games.  Not just any game, either, but my most important game.  Take a look. Continue reading

Game 22: Mortsdnil-SmithyQ: An Equal Colle Endgame

Let me start by echoing a popular sentiment: I dislike playing Black against the Colle and London setups.  You know what I’m talking about: some White players play the exact same set-up every single game, getting a fairly dry, sterile position.  You know, a snoozefest.

In particular, I dislike when I get ‘tricked’ into playing d5 against said lines.  White has a normal, weakness free position, and if he doesn’t do anything silly the position will remain even, the pawn structure symmetrical and very little winning chances for the second player.  I can be against a much lower-rated player and find it hard to win just because White’s position is so solid and his play so unambitious.  I can play very well and yet never have more than a draw, and that feels like it happens far too often.

This game is a good example.  Most of the game I play very well.  I’m better out of the opening, I’m better as Queens come off and I’m better in the endgame.  The entire time, though, I have only slight winning chances, and in the end, when I might have won after my opponent slipped up, I made one imprecise move and lost all winning chances.

This is clearly the opening’s fault.  Let’s take a look. Continue reading