Introduction and Free Preview
The camp Material Imbalances is already a digital product. This product includes all the videos from the camp as well as the PGN file related to the training sessions. Overall, the material consists of approximately 9 hours of video and a PGN database which includes 121 files!
You will find the following lectures:
Queen versus Various Piece Tandems - GM Dejan Bojkov
Long-Term Piece Sacrifice - GM Davorin Kuljasevic
Irrational Games with Material Imbalance - GM Ilya Smirin
Rook versus Two Minor Pieces - Middlegame and Endgame Aspects - GM Grigor Grigorov
How to Sacrifice an Exchange - GM Ioannis Papaioannou
How to Play for a Long-Term Compensation - GM Petar Arnaudov
In this article, we will briefly present some interesting moments taken from the lectures
Queen versus Varius Piece Tandems
Sacrificing the queen is one of the most difficult operations in chess. Even very strong players have difficulties evaluating whether they have enough compensation for a queen or not.
In this lecture, GM Dejan Bojkov shows how the queen is fighting against different piece tandems. After studying the material, you will learn the key factors that must be taken into consideration before giving the queen away. Mastering this kind of imbalance will help you win many games.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 29 model games. Below, you shall take a look at one of them.
Long-Term Piece Sacrifice
In this lecture, GM Kuljasevic covers one of the most important topics in chess - the long-term piece sacrifice. When it comes to long-term sacrifices, your general feeling and understanding are much more important than the calculation of concrete variations.
Here is how GM Kuljasevic presents the topic himself:
Sacrificing material for long-term compensation is not easy. It implies that we possess a good understanding of the delicate balance between relatively abstract positional and time factors and concrete material considerations. In such cases, we usually don't expect to get the sacrificed material back by force but rather go for a less tangible return in the form of more active pieces, strong passed pawn(s), or the initiative. Every educated chess player is probably familiar with at least a handful of great examples of long-term exchange or pawn sacrifices, usually from games of great chess players like Alekhine, Petrosian, or Kasparov. Interestingly, a long-term piece sacrifice is a less common method compared to the previous two types of sacrifices. The way I see it, the reason for that might be that the burden of proof of the correctness is greater when we have sacrificed a full piece as opposed to the long-term exchange sacrifice when we have the same number of pieces, only of different nominal strength. Our goal in this lecture is to understand which factors contribute to the correctness of a long-term piece sacrifice. I would like to suggest the following five factors:
1) Quality of the pawns you get for the piece (connected, passed, protected)
2) Mobility of opponent's piece(s) - misplaced or trapped pieces
3) Space advantage
4) Mobility of our pieces, superior piece coordination
5) King safety, initiative The more factors from this list are present, the better the chances for the piece sacrifice to not only be correct but also a very strong one.
The PGN version of the lecture consists of 11 extensively annotated model games.
Below, you can see one of them.
Irrational Games with Material Imbalance
In this lecture, GM Smirin shows irrational games where one can see many imbalances. Usually, in such positions, you cannot rely on your knowledge since the usual strategical patterns are not present. Having a lot of experience in imbalanced irrational positions, GM Smirin is the perfect lecturer on this topic.
Here is how the author presents the topic himself:
I will show you several irrational games, we can also call them wild games. This is a crucial topic. Those are usually games with material imbalance where it is tough to find logic. In my opinion, playing such positions well improves your results a lot. You should develop strong intuition and believe in it and in yourself more importantly. To be brave enough to sacrifice without concrete calculation until the end. The lecture includes four games. Two of them are mine and two are from the practice of some of the world's best players.
You can try to solve the following exercise taken from the lecture of GM Smirin.
Black to move. Take your time and try to find the best solution.
Rook versus Two Minor Pieces - Middlegame and Endgame Aspects
In the introduction to the PGN version of this lecture, GM Grigorov writes:
Rook versus two minor pieces is one of the most common material imbalances. Besides arising very often in practical games, even more often you are forced to calculate a possible transition in such a position. Regardless of how good calculation abilities you have, you cannot take the right decision if you are not able to correctly evaluate the arising position. In this lecture, I will try to cover the most important elements of this material imbalance. I would like to start with an important clarification. Usually, people make evaluation mistakes when it comes to an endgame with a rook against two minor pieces. While in the middlegame, the minor pieces mostly outperform the rook, in many endgames, the rook tends to be stronger. Therefore, the biggest part of the lecture deals with endgame positions. The endgame section of the lecture is divided into the following subsections: 1) Pawns on One Wing
2) Distant Passed Pawn
3) Playing on Both Wings
The middlegame section starts with some exceptional cases when the rook is stronger than the minor pieces. Even though such situations arise relatively rare, knowing them will be very useful for you. At the end of the lecture, I provide an example showing how strong are the minor pieces when they support a passed pawn. I hope that after studying the material, you will be more confident when handling this type of material imbalance. Of course, I also provide examples featuring the middlegame play.
The PGN version of the lecture includes 22 extensively annotated examples. Below, you shall see one of them.
How to Sacrifice an Exchange
Sacrificing an exchange is one of the most important topics in chess. In return for the exchange sacrifice, we can get different types of positional dividends. We should also mention that the positional exchange sacrifice is incorporated in many opening systems.
Here is how GM Papaioannou presents the topic himself:
In this lecture, I will show you several examples of the exchange sacrifice. This is a very common theme in chess and a sign of an excellent chess understanding. I will provide you with several essential principles:
1. When the side who sacrifices exchanges attacks with all remaining pieces, the sacrifice is almost always working
2. You should constantly evaluate how fast the opponent's extra rook will come into play
3. Psychological factors - When the opponent has an ugly structure and position, he usually starts playing bad
4. When we sacrifice an exchange, it is good for us to have opposite-coloured bishops or any unopposed pieces
5. When you sacrifice and exchange, you should always consider how many good improving moves you have; when your opponent doesn't have a clear plan
6. You should consider if your opponent has open files for his rooks. In this good game, we have again the well-known principle: sacrifice the exchange, ruin the pawn structure, attack with all of your pieces and leave the Ra8 out of play until it's too late!
The PGN version of the lecture includes 43 model games.
Below, you shall take a look at one of them.
How to Play for a Long-Term Compensation
This lecture is a natural continuation of the material covered by GM Kuljasevic. Besides the piece sacrifices, here GM Arnaudov covers all kinds of long-term sacrifices. This lecture goes beyond the purely technical aspects related to the sacrifices. GM Arnaudov provides you with the right psychological mindset that you need when playing such positions.
He introduces the topic in the following way:
In this lecture, I will talk about sacrificing the material for long-term compensation. In my opinion, this is a very important subject. The ability to sacrifice without clear consequences brings a lot of points. You should always try to avoid following some dogmas blindly. Long-term sacrifices can be divided to several parts.
1. Sacrifice for a long-term initiative
2. Sacrifice for long-term achievements (ruined pawn structure, weakened king, etc..)
3. Sacrifice for taking control of the weak complex of squares
4. Sacrificing for keeping the initiative alive. 5. Sacrificing for changing the course of the game
Below, you can see one of the model games.