Blog Profile / Chess Skills

Filed Under:Hobbies / Chess
Posts on Regator:906
Posts / Week:2.2
Archived Since:August 3, 2009

Blog Post Archive

Critical Moments

How do you analyze a chess game?I do several things, but the first step--whether my own game or one played by others--is identifying the critical moments in the game. When did the loser reach a technically lost position?Today was the last day of my tenth annual youth chess camp. Show More Summary

It's Only Blitz

I beat a National Master yesterday afternoon. It has been a couple of months since my last win against a titled player, so I was happy to get this one. It was my last game in a blitz playing session characterized by poor play, but it was a better game. Show More Summary

How to Think about Checkmate

This week is my tenth annual youth chess camp. During this camp, I am making more explicit a training process that I have advocated for many years: work backwards through the game in your study. That is, start with checkmates, move from there to endgames, then study tactics and middlegame strategy, and only then examine the opening. Show More Summary

Five Days to Better Chess

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Five Days to Better Chess: Essential Tools was published a few days ago. What is this book about? Who is the audience? This book offers content and process. This process is for all chess enthusiasts who seek to improve their own game, or who help others to do so. Show More Summary

Smother Checkmate

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

As I work my way slowly through Tal's Winning Chess Combinations (1979) by Mikhail Tal and Victor Khenkin, I am combing my databases for additional examples. In this way, I am building a database of exercises for personal training, teaching,...Show More Summary

Alekhine -- Lugowski 1931

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

An unusual smother checkmate piqued my interest. It is presented in Mikhail Tal and Victor Khemkin, Tal's Winning Chess Combinations (1979), where it is credited as Alekhin -- Lugovsky 1931 (58). Due to spelling variances, my initial efforts to turn up the game score fell short. Show More Summary

Lesson One

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Where do you begin when teaching chess to a beginner? Certainly, the first steps should be the board and how the pieces move, as Daniel Rensch offers in "Everything You Need to Know 1: Start Playing Chess" on Or, perhaps there is a flaw in this approach. Show More Summary

Checkmate Patterns

last monthHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Some readers of Chess Skills may have been disappointed that my postings have been limited the past two months. Much of my chess time has been devoted to preparing lessons for my camp in August. A standard feature of my annual summer chess camp has a been a camp workbook that each student receives. Show More Summary

Three Tactics

last monthHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

A pin, decoy, and fork often work together to exploit an elementary error. Sometimes, exploitation of the error is complex, but it remains rooted in a fundamental pattern that should be well-known.A few days ago in an online blitz game, I had this position. Show More Summary

Blundering into Victory

2 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

On Monday, David Griffin and I met at the Spokane Valley Library to play our game in the Spokane Contenders. This six player round robin began in early May and must be completed by early August. The winner faces Michael Cambareri in the City Championship. Show More Summary

Here we go again!

2 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Finding the study by Leonid Kubbel (see "One by Leonid Kubbel") in Tal's Winning Chess Combinations (1979), sent me back into a book that I bought last summer. Genrikh Moiseyevich Kasparian, 888 Miniature Studies (2010) contains fifteen of Kubbel's studies, as well as some background about the composer. Show More Summary

One by Leonid Kubbel

2 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

In Tal's Winning Chess Combinations (1979) by Mikhail Tal and Victor Khenkin, each section concludes with several exercises. There are six at the end of chapter II, "The Bishop". Five game me minimal difficulties. That is, I solved most quickly and all accurately. Show More Summary

Rook versus Bishop

2 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

When I think that I understand something, I expect to be able to execute the maneuver in mere seconds. Sometimes, my understanding of the patterns is not strong enough. It is well-known that rook versus bishop is usually a draw, but that a few positions favor the rook. Show More Summary

Making my Point

3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

In "Bishop and Knight Checkmate," I offered some mild criticism of Kevin at In his YouTube video teaching checkmate with bishop and knight and repeats the phrase, "it doesn't really matter," as he emphasizes general concepts. Show More Summary

Bishop and Knight Checkmate

3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Forcing checkmate with a bishop and knight requires piece coordination and foresight. It is the most difficult of the elementary checkmates. I remember being on the weaker side in a game on the Internet Chess Club in the late 1990s.Show More Summary

Seeing Patterns

3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Tal's Winning Chess Combinations (1979) has influenced my perception. Last week, I read the first chapter of this book by Mikhail Tal and Victor Khenkin, which exists under several titles with and without Tal's authorship. This chapter concerns the rook and corridor checkmates and checkmate threats. Show More Summary


3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

In a blitz game this morning, I had an uh-oh moment. Either I was losing my queen or a bishop. I spent 21 seconds contemplating the position, and reasoned that I had compensation for the queen. Then, in the complications, my opponent faltered. Show More Summary


3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

An appalling number of chess games are lost (and won) because a player puts a piece where it is free for the taking. Chess players use the term en prise, which no one in America pronounces correctly, when a piece is within grasp (see Edward Winter, "En Prise [Chess Term]," History Notes, updated 28 February 2015). Show More Summary

Develop Your King

3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

In one of my many blitz games this morning, I had one of those many experiences when I realized that I was playing poorly and now seemed to be losing material. Stripes,J (1806) -- Internet Opponent (1852) [D06]Live Chess, 16.05.20171.d4...Show More Summary

Play as Philidor

3 months agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

As may be well-known, François-André Danican Philidor asserted, "pawns are the soul of chess." In Analysis of the Game of Chess (London, 1790), he developed this idea with a number of games showing pieces standing in the rear so as to support a group of pawns that decide the game. Show More Summary

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