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
In most GM games, if one side loses a piece, he then resigns. In most tactical puzzles, if you win a piece the puzzle ends. In a real game, though, your opponent might play on. That’s perfectly in his or her right, and that can lead to some practical difficulties.
I have seen many amateurs, myself included, struggle when up material, even a whole piece. Somehow, even though you know you should be winning, it doesn’t feel that way. Things aren’t so simple. If you know the general strategy of simplifying into the ending, though, then things can become very simple.
That’s what happened in today’s game. I won a piece very early on, and then spent the rest of the game single-mindedly focused on the endgame. In the end, it was a pretty easy win. Let’s take a look. Continue reading
In some ways, the game today is fairly simple. It’s ten moves and Black hangs a piece. GG.
This is true, but it isn’t the whole story. Black didn’t hang his piece randomly. He had a plan, and his first few moves were standard, and he played a standard central break. Things seemed fine on the surface, but if you look deeper, Black’s position was actually terrible. Why? Because Black didn’t follow opening principles. He moves a piece twice in the opening, and though it looked harmless, it basically brought him swift defeat.
Let’s take a look at how deep opening principles can take us. Continue reading