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Seeing Patterns

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

Dream Position

Most of the time, when we talk about a “dream position,” we mean a position that is too good to be true — all the pieces in just the right places, working together like a team. The position below, on the other hand, is an ACTUAL dream position: a position that came to me in […]


2 days 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 days 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

Semi-Slav defense

It was a new opponent and I got Black. I chose Semi-Slav, the opening went well and I was comfortable with the placing of my pieces. I lost that feeling after 15. h3, seeing f4, f5 threat. I thought that I don’t want to think about it all the time and played Bf5. Computer suggests 15… […]

Develop Your King

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

Triple Exclam touches down in Africa

Cape Town is one of the places that one must see when visiting South Africa. It has a complicated history, but also has a charm that is comparable to that of any other well-developed city. During my trip I visited the Claremont Chess Club and met with Reuben Salimu and other club members. I will […]

Play as Philidor

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

Imbalances and Planning

Years ago, I read Jeremy Silman, How to Reassess Your Chess, 3rd ed. (1993). The book offers useful instruction concerning imbalances and planning. However, sometimes in blitz, I play as if I am in utter ignorance of how to assess a position. Show More Summary

Elementary Checkmate

There is nothing difficult about this checkmate in two, but it is notable. This position arose in a blitz game this morning. Much of that game resembled a correspondence game that I won two years ago (see "Beating a National Master"). Show More Summary

More of the Same

2 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

In my Knight Award exercises, I include a position from Horvath -- Vigus, Haarlem 1998. White to move This exercise was part of my lesson of the week just before the winter holiday last December, where it was paired with a similar position...Show More Summary

DC Girls City Championship

Robin Samson has been running the DC Girls Chess Club for several years and has brought the joys of chess to girls and young women. On April 15th, she hosted the 2017 DC Girls Citywide Tournament with a 1st prize of $1,000. Amanda Loseff of the Alice Deal School won the prize and will represent […]

Filmmaker to document chess in Cuba

Club Capablanca will be one of the venues featured in the documentary. Photo by Daaim Shabazz. In January, Karney Hatch contacted The Chess Drum about a documentary he was filming on chess in Cuba. He had read the blog posts on the Drum here and here from the 2012 visit. The filmmaker mentioned that he […]

Breaking Down Tactics

3 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

Some tactics training sessions are long; others short. Yesterday morning, I attempted three problems on Tactic Trainer on my iPad. This app, which sells for $2.99, is one that I have used off and on for several years. As the database of problems are stored on my device, it is useful when I go off the grid--away from internet service. Show More Summary

The Polgar Brick: eBook Edition

3 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

A Review Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games by László Polgár contains 306 checkmate in one, 3412 checkmate in two, 744 checkmate in three, and then 600 miniature studies. These miniatures (game of 25 moves or less) are sorted into six groups. Show More Summary

First game of 2017!

I know this seems like a weird thing to say on May 1, but yesterday I played my first chess against a live human opponent in 2017. I’m not completely sure of this because I might have played a couple of blitz games back in January or February, but I have been so busy with […]

2017 CARIFTA Championships (Kingston, Jamaica)

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FOR THE JAMAICA CHESS FEDERATION 18 APRIL 2017 JAMAICA WINS 2017 CARIFTA CHESS CHAMPIONSHIPS David Thomas (Under-12 Champion) Kingston, Jamaica – 18 April 2017: After seven rounds of play in the 2017 CARIFTA Chess Championships, Jamaica regained the team title which they last won in 2013, when the event was […]

Watching Fireworks

3 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

A couple of evenings ago, I played a blitz game online that seemed as though it turned bad in a hurry. My assessment was wrong. At the very moment when my opponent opened up the center and initiated exchanges, causing me to feel helpless, I had a clear win. Show More Summary

The Final Lesson

3 weeks agoHobbies / Chess : Chess Skills

My after school chess clubs meet from October through April. The end date varies from year to year, but corresponds with the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship. This year, the state championship is tomorrow in Tacoma. It has been in Spokane twice. Show More Summary

Two knights, two rims, twice as dim

The Reykjavik Open concluded today, and the winner was not too big a surprise: it was Anish Giri, who went into the tournament with the highest rating. However, the way he won was definitely a surprise; going into round eight he was half a point behind the leaders. However, the beautiful victory I showed in […]

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