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Chess Academy (125)




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…

Master the Leningrad Structure

The Leningrad Bird and Dutch openings, to which I will from now on referring as "Leningrad", in order to simplify the discourse, are mainly positional systems. We spend a tempo on move 1 to advance the f-pawn, short term weakening our king without gaining any immediate compensation. The opportunity to start dynamic play will come later, in the early middlegame. The main aim of the Leningrad is to achieve an improved version of the King's Indian. Later in the opening, after the centre is blocked with ...e7-e5 and d4-d5, Black needs to spend some time to achieve ...f7-f5 (usually with ...Nf6-d7, ...f7-f5 and then ...Nd7-f6). If the same structure arises via the Leningrad move order, this implies having saved two whole tempi. While this surely sounds like the optimal scenario and it usually leads to comfortable play, it does not always lead to a clear advantage, due to some strategic limitations of the King's Indian itself. In fact, things can remain interesting and far from one-sided. read more…
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Saving Lost Positions

For people who never played in chess tournaments and are distant from the professional life of our game, it looks like a regular board game, where sporting qualities are not a factor. But any chess professional can confirm that it's hardly possible to be successful at chess without having an exceptional fighting spirit. Fighting spirit comes in many different ways, associated with numerous abilities (the following list is certainly not complete): 1) to win important "must-win" games, 2) to save difficult and even seemingly hopeless positions, 3) to grind out wins from slightly better positions by persistently posing new problems for the opponent, 4) to beat higher-rated players instead of taking draws from good positions, 5) to keep playing ambitiously when leading in tournaments. read more…
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Typical Pawn Structures in Slav Defence

In this article, GM Delchev covers the most important structures which arise from the variation 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 read more…
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Practical Endgame Miniatures

Top chess trainers recommend solving endgame studies daily as an important part of the learning program at all levels. This enjoyable method is aimed at improving one's creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. It is highly efficient in polishing your calculating and tactical skills, enriching your arsenal of tactical weaponry not to mention the obvious: deepening your endgame understanding and keeping you sharp for your upcoming challenges. All these virtues are essential in shaping a complete and original player; no less so than the knowledge of opening theory and middlegame strategy. Quite a few top grandmasters were also captivated by the charm of composing endgame studies themselves. For this article, I have selected miniature studies created by leading players. Miniatures use not more than 7 pieces to express mainly tactical chess ideas in an artistic, purest form with a unique solution and move order. read more…
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Endgame Series 24

In Endgame series issues #18 and #19, we covered in-depth opposite-colored bishops endgames. We looked at many instructive practical examples and formulated a number of important conclusions with the theoretical value. I listed these conclusions right below this introductory passage. We will loosely refer to them as ‘principles’ (e.g. ‘’White followed principle 3’’, or ‘’Black forgot about principle 5’’…) for easier reference, as we explore new examples with opposite-colored bishops endgames in this issue of Endgame series. Most of these examples have been taken from very recent top-GM practice. read more…
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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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