Chess Academy (120)




Beat 1.e4 with the Dragon - Part 1 Free

Some players are really not confident when they face a well prepared 1.e4 player.It is quite often the case when it comes to the razor sharp Sicilian defence.Being aware of that problem, the Dragon expert IM Spas Kozhuharov decided to create a repertoire concerning his beloved opening variation. His first article deals with the main line, where white plays 9.Bc4 followed by 0-0-0.After reading the expert analysis of IM Kozhuharov, you will realise that the Dragon is not such a risky opening when we know it is positional basics. read more…

The Weakness of "c6" ("c3") Square in Positions with Open Center Free

Have you ever thought about the secrets of the Soviet chess school? What makes Russian chess players so powerful? No need to wonder anymore! The 1985 URSS champion GM Viktor Gavrikov is here to reveal the basics of the greatest chess school in the world. His first article concerns the positions with an open center and marks the beginning of a complete middlegame course which deals with all the basic pawn structures.Good structural knowledge will enhance your opening understanding. read more…

The Skill of Maneuvring - Middlegame Positions

In this article, we will have a look at excellent examples of manoeuvrings in the middlegame from the games of strong players. Manoeuvrings in middlegames can serve a lot of useful purposes, for example:- 1) Favourable exchange of pieces:- We can use manoeuvrings to achieve the favourable exchange of pieces. 2) Increase attacking potential:- Sometimes some of our pieces are already near the opponent's king but they still need the support of other colleagues to crash through! Manoeuvrings can help us bring more pieces in the attack. 3) Exploiting weak pawns:- Some opponents' pawns can be weak as they are left with little support. We can manoeuver our pieces to win such lightly guarded pawns. 4) Exploiting weak squares:- Advance of pawns can create weaknesses of squares. Such weak squares can be exploited by good manoeuvres. 5) Increasing pressure:- Sometimes with efficient manoeuvrings, we can increase pressure on opponents' position. The annotated games will be followed by test positions for you to solve! All these annotated games and positions are selected from recent tournament games. All the best! read more…
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Understand the English Hedgehog - Part 3

This is GM Marin's last article on the English Hedgehog structures. This time, he explains when Black should go for the advance ...e6-e5. Marin presents the article in the following way: The pawn breaks examined in the previous two articles (...b6-b5 and ...d6-d5) are mainly aimed at questioning White's stability on the light squares. Since White's central space advantage is ensured by the c4- and e4-pawns we may call these the main pawn break plans. Additionally, Black disposes of ...e6-e5, which we can consider as an auxiliary break. The usually favourable circumstances for Black are with the g-pawn on g6 (or else with Nd4-f5 inoffensive) and the white pawn on f4, in order to clear the e5-square for the black pieces or else provoke the opening of the e-file with increased pressure on e4. Sometimes, ...e6-e5 can prove effective even with the pawn on f2, as driving the knight away from d4 would make ...b6-b5 easier to carry out. And of course, it would help if White has played g3-g4, chronically weakening the e5-square. If White plays h2-h3 Black can sometimes try combining ...e6-e5 with ... h5-h4, gaining control over f4. All these aspects make us understand that the potential danger of the break on dark squares tends to inhibit the active plan based on f2-f4, or at least, provoke the willingly knight retreat from d4. We had this situation in the previous articles, but now we will examine games in which this pawn break came true. read more…
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Endgame Series 23 - Knight’s Versatility in the Endgame

In this issue of Endgame series, we will talk about the special role of the most unpredictable chess piece, the knight, in the endgame. The specific geometry of movement of the knight, unlike any other piece on the board, gives rise to many unique possibilities in the endgame. It is this knight’s versatility that inspired many chess composers to compose beautiful and instructive endgame studies, some of which we will see in this article, as well. While being quite short-legged when it comes to covering large areas of the board, knight is a very tricky piece on a smaller area since it can cover a lot of important squares and ‘shape-shift’ its routes in many different ways. I am sure that every chess player had a situation in their career when he/she missed some unexpected knight jump that changed the situation on the board sharply. It is not without a reason that knights are more coveted pieces than bishops when in time scramble or in a blitz game. read more…
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Master the Pawn Play

When I was a kid, I was always afraid of facing passed pawns. I remember that fear and I think, this was the first time in my career that I had seen a problem and consciously made a decision about it. The decision was simple: To avoid situations in which my opponent was able to sacrifice material to achieve passed pawns. Of course, it was not the smartest move, but at least it was a move. Now I would like to take a look at this problem armed with 25 years of experience and artificial intelligence. Our task is to see situations where one player sacrifices a piece or exchange for passed pawns and to determine which typical ideas can be used in such situations by both attacking and defending players. read more…
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Tactical Vision - Battery and Discovered Check

"Chess is 99 percent tactics" said the German master Richard Teichmann meaning that throughout the entire game our thoughts and decisions are continuously affected directly or indirectly by tactical possibilities. This article is the first in a series of articles dedicated to common tactical devices we use over the board, or behind the scenes, in almost every game. Trainers worldwide naturally use examples from master and grandmaster games but also more and more endgame studies and they have plenty of good reasons to do that. Composed positions demonstrate tactics in their purest form with the most relevant pieces at the focus. Solving studies have the power to improve one's calculating skills as well as endgame knowledge and understanding. In my book "Extreme Chess Tactics" (Gambit 2017) I emphasize also the importance of the sharpening of the crucial sense of pattern recognition and the appreciation of chess beauty in general as well as piece power and harmony. Our first theme in this series is battery play and discovered attack A battery is a set of two pieces of the same color targeted at an enemy piece, not just the king, or even a certain square. Moving the front piece exposes the target to the threat of the rear one. The rear piece may be any line mover (queen, rook or bishop), while the front piece may be any piece but the queen. Unleashing the battery may generate a Discovered attack or even a discovered check. read more…
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Rook Versus Knight

In a recently played super-tournament in Shamkir, the game between Veselin Topalov and Ding Liren drew worldwide attention as the Bulgarian lost the ‘elementary drawn’ rook vs knight endgame. If a world-class player can lose this endgame, it means that things may not be as simple in practice as they are in theory. Therefore, I decided to investigate rook vs knight endgame in this issue of Endgame series. After reading this article, you should get a better idea about typical ideas and dangers in this endgame, or at least refresh your memory of this endgame. read more…
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The Skill of Maneuvring

Ever wondered how strong players take their pieces effortlessly to the best squares? It seems, transferring the pieces from worse to good posts is their second nature. As an expert driver drives without really thinking about it, so does a strong Grandmaster Maneuvers his pieces without much conscious thinking. They can ‘feel' the way for their pieces. Maneuvering is essentially transferring pieces to better squares, where they can do a better job than what they are doing currently. Such a transfer of a piece may enhance our chances of achieving the desired result (gaining an advantage, equalizing, etc.). I consider maneuvering a skill just like driving which can be improved with proper training and practice. By solving a lot of positions on maneuverings, by studying the games with instructional maneuverings one can develop a good feel for the good placement of their pieces. read more…
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Understand the Najdorf Structures - Part 3

In this article, IM Quintillano completes his survey on the Najdorf structures. This time, he deals with 8 structures which arise from the sharpest Najdorf lines. Each structure is dealt with in the following way: Explanations of the general ideas, model game, interactive test position. read more…
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