Dear chess friends, In Issue 11 of Modern Chess Magazine, we provide you with the following articles:
Alert Defence - Part 1
GM John van der Wiel
In his first article for Modern Chess Magazine, the famous Dutch GM John van der Wiel, starts dealing with an extremely interesting topic - Alert Defence. Despite it's somewhat "exotic" title, the article features a typical practical situation. Let's see what the author has in mind when using the term "Alert Defence":
" It happens to all of us. Sometimes we find ourselves in a position, where we understand: 'if I don't find something good here, I'll be in trouble for the rest of the game.' Or worse. Naturally, it would be best to avoid such situations in the first place, but as we aren't all prophylactic geniuses like Petrosian or Karpov, we had better deal with it."
It is very important to point out that this article is designed to improve your practical skills in defence. That is the reason why the material is highly interactive - the reader is regularly invited to make evaluations and to find the best moves. GM John van der Wiel is convinced that the technique of Alert Defence could spare the reader a lot of suffering.
Master the Grunfeld Structure - Part 2
GM Mihail Marin
In the second article of his series on the Grunfeld structure, GM Mihail Marin starts dealing with different positions where White goes for the d4-d5 break. The article features the following typical structure.
Here is what the author has to say about the topic of his article: "Optically and not only, playing d4-d5 implies a completely different approach with respect to e4-e5 examined in the previous article. Instead of restricting the g7-bishop, White actually opens the whole long diagonal for it. This is especially effective if he had managed clearing in advance the diagonal. In our featured structure, this means removing the queen's rook from the bishop's range and inducing a previous exchange on d4 so that the c3-pawn is not hanging. This can lead to a paradoxical situation when the bishop is actually useless since attacking empty squares do not contribute to the fight"
Sometimes, however, Black could make use of the tremendous potential of his dark-squared bishop. Here is what GM Mihail Marin has to say about the potential activity of the bishop. "Things are different, of course, if the bishop sustains other pieces' activity, for instance of a knight could jump to b2 or c3, paralysing White's army."
After reading the article, the reader will be familiar with all the subtleties connected with the d4-d5 advance in the Grunfeld structures.
King's Indian Structures - Black Releases the Tension in the Centre
GM Petar Arnaudov
GM Petar Arnaudov continues dealing with the subtleties of the KID structures. His current article marks the beginning of a three-part series concerning the positions in which Black releases the tension in the centre by playing ...exd4 at a certain point.
In the first part of his study, the author deals exclusively with the positions when the move ...exd4 is followed by Nc6.
The starting position of the entire survey arises after the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.0-0 exd4 8.Nxd4 Re8 9.f3 Nc6
One could say that Black's set-up looks antipositional since White has managed to establish a complete domination in the centre. Nevertheless, GM Petar Arnaudov proves that things are far from simple. It turns out that Black's pieces have a lot of potential in this position.
In the first part of the material, the author deals in a great detail with all the strategical and tactical ideas for both sides. Later on, the reader could go to the theoretical section of the article in which GM Arnaudov features the current state of theory in the variation. As you are going to discover, after learning the typical middlegame ideas, it is a big fun to proceed with studying the opening.
Of course, in order to make use of our knowledge, we should practice. That is why in the final part of the article the author provides the reader with an interactive test section. If you achieve a result greater than 50%, you could consider that the material is well studied.
Practical Decision-Making - Part 2
GM Boris Chatalbashev
In the second part of his series on Practical Decision-Making, GM Boris Chatalbashev continues examining situations in which it is much more important to find the most "unpleasant" move for the opponent instead of looking for the objectively strongest one.
As he did in his first article on this topic, GM Chatalbashev focuses mainly on the games of the reigning World Champion Magnus Carlsen. The reason is quite simple - the ability to take the best practical decisions enabled Magnus to become the best player in the world.
Let's take a look at the following position which is taken from the article:
In this position, Magnus Carlsen is playing White against Veselin Topalov. It seems that White is in trouble since he has no compensation for the pawn. Objectively speaking, this evaluation is true. Nevertheless, the World Champion finds a way to create practical difficulties for his opponent. You could try to find White's best practical chance in the position.
In the article, GM Boris Chatalbashev tries to explain the way in which we should think in order to come up with good practical decisions. After reading the article, you could try to apply the same method in your own games!
Endgame Series - Part 11
GM Davorin Kuljasevic
In this part of his series dedicated to the endgame, GM Davorin Kuljasevic focuses on an extremely important topic - Mined and Correspondent squares. Let's see what the author has to say about the importance of the current material:
" So far we have focused on pawns' and king's roles in endgames, but in this issue, we will see how squares can be of great importance as well. When we talk about squares, you might remember that we have previously explained the "anomaly" of the chess board and how the king can "bend space" by using this unique feature. For example, reaching square a7 from a1 can be done in the same number of moves (6) with the most natural straight-line movement (Ka1-a2-a3-a4-a5-a6-a7) as well as via an apparent "detour" (Ka1-b2-c3-d4-c5-b6-a7). We can also use various combinations of squares between these two routes to get to a7 in 6 moves. I bring up this "anomaly" of the chess board again as an introduction to today's topics: 1) mined squares and 2) correspondent squares.
Since we need to have in mind that in certain cases, not all routes lead to Rome, so to speak. There are positions in which stepping on a certain ("mined") square which might look like the "best" or the "quickest" way to your destination actually spoils the game, while the other, apparently longer, route brings you safely to your final destination."
As usual, immediately after explaining the theoretical concepts, GM Kuljasevic gives you the possibility to test your understanding.