Tag Archives: sacrifice

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

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

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

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

SmithyQ-Gringo, April 2017: An Opening Crush

My opponent in this game is Gringo, long-time blog reader.  He offered a challenge, I accepted and the result is what you see here.  I can’t play against everyone who comments, but I’ll do my best, and I promise to analyze each game.  Best to do it now, because once I become a GM I’ll be charging money for this.

I’m joking.  Maybe.

In this blog, I’ve said repeatedly that the opening doesn’t matter and you don’t need to study it.  That’s true… and yet I won this game in 17 moves because of my opening.  What gives?  Some openings work much better at amateur level than professional level.  Most gambits, for instance, and systems like the Alekhine or Pirc score significantly better by those under 2000 rating.

I think the inverse is also true.  That is, there are some openings that masters play and do well with that are nonetheless not suitable for amateurs.  Any opening that leads to a solid but passive position is inherently dangerous at lower levels.  That’s basically what happened here.  Gringo got a normal QGD position, but he doesn’t have the requisite skills to play it properly.  I don’t think I have those skills.  I think the QGD is a terrible opening, but anyway, let’s take a look. Continue reading

OpaDragon-SmithyQ, April 2017: How I Think When Attacking

Let me start by saying this: I was in a bad mood, chess-wise, during this game, and so I was going to attack his King no matter what.  Today, we get to see an attacking game.  Is this the best strategy?  No, but sometimes you need to play chess for fun as well as improvement.

The game itself is surprisingly sound, all things considered.  The attack isn’t unfounded, and I still improve my position in my normal positional way.  What’s important in this game, I feel, is how I thought on each move.  That is, once the attack started, I was analyzing potential threats and sacrifices every move, several ply deep.  I didn’t stop until I found what worked, and then I dove it.

This analysis, then, will share exactly how I think during an attack.  It’s short and sweet, so let’s have a look. Continue reading

Using Chess To Learn About Yourself

Art imitates life. We all know this, especially if you are creative in any way. You’ll experience something, be it a cascading waterfall silhouetted by a sunset or two dogs chasing a ball and their owner’s attention, and you’ll be inspired to take action. Maybe you sketch an image or write a poem or construct a story. However you do it, the process is the same: experience something, get inspired, create something.

The same is true in reverse. Life imitates art. You see a painting, watch a movie, read a poem and something clicks. You get a fresh new perspective. Maybe you get inspired enough to take action, to do things different, or maybe you just sit back and think new, deeper thoughts. In either case, the very way you see reality has changed. Shift your perceptions and what you perceive shifts as well.

I find this interesting, as I’m a chess player. Chess is a game, but it has artistic qualities. Moreover, it’s a thinking game. It’s a direct portal into your own mind. If art imitates life, then chess definitely imitates life as well.

It’s not called the Royal Game for nothing.

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Examples of Winning via Defence

If you look at chess literature, you can find entire libraries devoted to the art of attack … and almost nothing on the art of defence.  Defending is much harder than attacking.  Often a defender only had one move to save the position, whereas the attacker can just throw pieces at the King and hope for the best.

I believe defence is at least twice as hard as attacking, if not more.  It is probably my weakest link, but I’ve still won a few games with accurate defence.  In general, the opponent will overreach himself, usually with an incorrect sacrifice, and then an accurate series of moves proves my advantage.

In what follows, I present three games in which I refute my opponent’s aggressive overtures.  Again, I’m not Petrosian, so my defending skills aren’t 100%, but they do the job for my level. Continue reading

Examples of Winning Via Attack II: Sacking the Castle

Every chess beginner knows the importance of castling.  If you leave your King in the centre, it remains in danger.  By castling you move it to the side of the board, away from danger and, usually, surrounded by defenders.  The castled position is undoubtedly the best place for the King in the opening and middlegame.

This section deals with some ways to beat the castled King, taken from my own games.  Though the games are from three different openings and very different positions, they all follow the same recipe for success.  I’ll explain it briefly here and go in depth during the games. Continue reading

The Appeal of Chess

If you are a non-chess player, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. People spend hours staring at a board, intermittently moving around small wooden pieces. There’s little talking, little movement, just a lot of staring and thinking … and smoking. For some reason, a lot of chess players smoke their brains out. My grandfather, the man who taught me chess, seemingly could not play without a cigarette between his fingers. It also made him look rather formidable, what with the constant stream of smoke blowing from his nose.

The legendary Mikhail Tal also smoked non-stop.

If you’ve never played chess, everything I’m about to say will seem strange. Nonetheless, I will try to illustrate the magic of chess, of how it ensnares an unfortunately few and refuses to let them go. Many people play chess, often just as a fun pasttime, but a select few become well and truly obsessed. Continue reading