Modern Chess Magazine - Issue 25
This issue of Modern Chess Magazine is different from the previous ones. Starting from Issue 25, Modern Chess Magazine will be getting more exhaustive and interactive.
First of all, we have increased the number of articles in comparison with the previous issues - 7 articles instead of 5. Additionally, 5 of the articles include video content.
In this issue, you will find the following articles:
1) Defence in Rook Endings - GM Davorin Kuljasevic
2) Improve Your Dynamical Play - GM Sundar Shyam
3) Intuition versus Calculation - GM Mihail Marin
4) Attack with the h-pawn - GM Vladimir Dimitrov and FM Gabriela Antova
5) Bishop Pair in the Endgame - GM Grigor Grigorov
6) Rook Endings in the Modern Practice - GM Nikolai Ninov
7) Bishop Endings - Must-Know Theoretical Positions - GM Petar Arnaudov
The PGN version of this issue includes 114 files.
Below, we will briefly present each article.
Defence in Rook Endings
In this lecture, GM Davorin Kuljasevic makes a survey featuring the defence in rook endings. Here is how the author presents the current topic:
The old chess saying goes: ‘’All rook endgames are drawn’’. This, of course, is not meant to be a true statement, but rather one that indicates a significant drawing margin that generally exists in rook endgames. Naturally, this increases the weaker side’s opportunities for a successful defence in a difficult position. In this issue of the Endgame series, we will, therefore, focus on defending worse rook endgames, a relatively rarely explored, yet practically quite important skill for every chess player. There are several reasons for drawish tendencies in rook endgames, but, in my view, the most important ones are 1) potential for active defence and 2) simplification potential.
Besides the video version, this article consists of 8 model games and 5 test positions.
Below, you shall take a look at one of the model games.
Improve Your Dynamical Play
GM Sundar Shyam is known for his dynamic style. In this article, he provides a throughout coverage of the most important principles of dynamic play. Even though considers the calculation to be extremely important, in this survey, he tries to explain how to make decisions based on intuition. At the beginning of the article, Shyam writes, "This article aims to not flood the folder with lots of computer/crazy analysis. I have selected the examples carefully so that my dear readers can have the pleasure of going through these games and I hope there will also be a significant improvement in handling dynamic positions. I have also chosen some of my games to explain my thought process and other practical things that happens when playing the game."
The article consists of 14 educational examples and 12 test positions. All the test positions are backed by extensively annotated answers.
Below, you shall take a look at one of the examples:
Intuition versus Calculation
This article is the logical follow-up of the previous one. GM Mihail Marin tries to refine your decision-making process by helping you to find the right balance between calculation and intuition.
Here is how Marin introduces the current topic:
For more than a century, amateurs and journalists have associated the image of a very strong player with his calculating skills. A frequent question used to be "How many moves ahead do you calculate?" Most players tried to give interesting answers. In order to illustrate the essence of this article, I will quote a few of them.
Alekhine said that he calculates as far as needed in order to win. Bogoljubov's answer was similar, but a bit more snobbish: "Always by one move further than the opponent!" It is obvious that they both considered that calculating is essential in order to achieve success.
Reti's statement was more intriguing: "Only two moves. But two good moves!" This introduces the idea of combining the calculation with intuition, with the latter playing the main part.
We can imagine how disappointed the reporter was when Capablanca answered: "I do not calculate. I know!" The Cuban's talent was of intuitive nature, indeed, he used to "feel" the right moves and plans, without forcing himself into deep calculating.
Leaving aside each player's specific style, we need to understand that we should use our intuition, calculation, or a combination of them, in accordance with the requirements of the position. There are cases when calculating "everything" is impossible and then we need to play by intuition. Some other times, the position is beyond our intuition's reach and we have to make our decision based on calculating the consequences of the important branches. These are extreme cases, though. Usually, intuition should go hand in hand with calculation.
This article includes three deeply analyzed educational examples and a video version.
You can try to solve one of the training positions:
White to move. What does your intuition tell you?
Attack with the h-pawn
The rise of AI-based engines changed our way of thinking. Alpha Zero has shown the tremendous potential of the rook pawns. As a consequence, top-level players started considering the advance of the h-pawn in almost every position. Additionally, the idea to push the h-pawn changed the evaluation of many opening systems.
We have the pleasure to provide you with a survey on that topic made by GM Vladimir Dimitrov and FM Gabriela Antova.
In the introduction, they write, "Conducting an attack is one of the hardest elements in chess to master as it requires the combining of both tactical threats and strategical concepts. Especially if aimed at the opponent's King, it can be one of the deadliest weapons in the strategic arsenal of a player. The following game revolves around White using subtle maneuvring and the advancement of the h-pawn to reach the Black king.
The best way to learn more about complex strategical concepts is to look at classical games from top chess players since they employ them perfectly. For this article, we are going to analyze a masterpiece by the current World champion: M.Carlsen - V.Ivanchuk, Morelia/ Linares 2007"
Bishop Pair in the Endgame
Playing with a bishop pair is a must-have ability for every ambitious player. In the introduction to the current article, GM Grigor Grigorov explains the importance of the topic in the following way:
Many opening systems are based on the advantage of the bishop pair. Such an advantage, however, does not mean so much if you are not able to utilize it in the middlegame and the endgame. The purpose of the current article is to illustrate the most important ideas in endgames with a bishop pair. In this way, get a middlegame with a bishop pair you will know what kind of endgame is favourable for you. I believe that this way of studying chess will help you to connect the different phases of the game. Very often we are told that the bishop pair is strong in open positions and weak in closed ones. While such a rule is logical, in reality, things are far from simple. Very often, the bishop pair can be strong in closed positions as well. The most important factor for the evaluation of the bishop pair is the pawn structure. The bishop pair is strong in positions with flexible pawn structures where many pawn contacts are possible. In order to create more opportunities for pawn contacts, the side playing with a bishop pair should gain space. In general, gaining space on both wings is the main strategy of playing positions with a bishop pair.
The article includes a video version and 14 educational examples. Below, you can take a look at one of them.
Rook Endings in the Modern Practice
This article marks the beginning of quite an ambitious project of GM Nikolai Ninov - analyzing the most important rook endgames in modern practice. The current article is only the first part of his survey that starts from the World Cup in 2019.
GM Ninov makes the following introduction to his project:
Next to the openings, the other stage of a chess game, which can be studied with mathematical punctuality, is the final one or, respectively, the various endgames. The rook endings are having a special place in this category for the least reason that they are occurring in practice more often than the rest. A lot of analytical work over the numberless examples has born legendary aphorisms like "All the rook endings are drawn" and "The rook is best placed behind a pawn." Of course, there are different opinions to eternal questions about who is the best player, specialist, etc. In the past fine masters like Rubinstein and Smyslov have left to us many classical examples, thus discovering how rich in ideas seemingly dry positions are. GM Marin, in his turn, has already examined the best endgames of another wizard - Ulf Andersson. Well, what about the new century and the contemporary players? A well-known grandmaster opined in a recent article that they (not only Carlsen) have excelled in using any small advantage and the top 100 of today will beat the best hundred players from 30 years ago with a margin. But in an interview, a representative of that older generation said he had hardly held his laughter while watching "how the World Champion is trying to invent something new in the rook endings." Whatever, let us put aside this discussion and which of these "teams" great players like Anand, Gelfand, Kramnik and Ivanchuk are supposed to join. Since the 90's the chess has changed and the increased dynamics is not the only difference. Indeed, nowadays the value of each move is higher than ever, big parts of the endgame manuals have been revised and replaced by tablebases. There are no longer adjourned games, instead, the increments on the clock are providing good opportunities to the player with the advantage to convert it. But there are also plenty of tournaments with two rounds per day and very often important decisions have to be taken in few seconds. These are the practical reasons, for which even blitz games will not be excluded from our research, as far as their course is of interest. Moreover, at the present growing level of knowledge and playing strength of the lower-rated competitors, most of the classical games are decided after move 40, when the time of the clock is so limited, that the rest can be characterized as rapid chess. The idea is to cover the major chess events since the autumn of 2019. Naturally, the individual ones will feature mainly encounters of the elite players, which have to show whether they are contributing to the theory of the endings and to what extent. On the other side, the team competitions will allow many others to come into the limelight and display their qualities. In this first part, the emphasis will be put on the World Cup, in which most of the matches have reached the knockout phase, and FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss - probably the strongest open tournament ever. The activity of the pieces has always been the basic criteria for assessing an ending and this principle will be leading in the selected games.
This article includes 14 extensively annotated instructive examples taken from modern practice.
Below, you can take a look at one of them.
Bishop Endings - Must-Know Theoretical Positions
In the introduction to the current article, GM Arnaudov writes, "I am providing you with the most important positions in the endgames with same-colour bishops. I divide the material into two parts: endgames with one pawn and endgames with two pawns. In my opinion, the fundamental knowledge that you should get is to recognize the winning and the defensive methods in the endings with one pawn. Also, I am providing you with a few exact positions which are must-know. In the second part of the article, I analyze positions where the stronger side has two extra pawns. Those positions are usually easy to win but can be very tricky. In some examples, I explain to you the winning mechanism for the stronger side. Also, I choose several drawing positions that will help you understand the weaker side's defensive resources. I believe that by studying this article carefully, you will be comfortable playing these tricky endgames."
The article consists of a video version and 18 educational examples.
We invite you to think on the following training position from the article:
How can Black save the game?