“The unexamined life is not worth living”
is a typically profound quote from Socrates. And exactly the same logic can be applied to chess. Quite simply you must analyse your own games if you want to improve. Only that way will you be able to identify where you have been going wrong, what mistakes you have been making and what to do about them.
Tagged: Opening Theory, Gorm
The Philidor defence is one of Black’s most solid defences to 1.e4. He aims to hunker down with as flexible position as possible and expand later. Recently this defence was given a boost by the “Black Lion” (I thought this might be something from one of David Attenboroughs programmes), a rather scary sub-variation that has been extolled by no less than the Ginger GM himself.
However, I wish to circumvent Black’s usual way of playing by recommending a system involving an early g4. This system is risky but it does have the benefit of immediately giving Black huge problems to solve. The whole idea of playing g4 in the Philidor I believe was first popularised by the ever inventive Latvian Alexey Shirov, who also created a similar idea against the Semi-Slav.
As we are on the eve of another world chess championship match, it seems like a pertinent time to talk about the oldest former world champion still alive, Boris Spassky, who was born in 1937. The reason I find Spassky interesting is because he’s the only world champion I’ve ever played. Before I played him I thought “yes, great player but nothing really more than that”.
Editors note: Danny sent us this article a long time ago, it’s my fault it wasn’t published earlier!
Spassky was always considered perhaps the first great “universal player”. During our analysis I got the distinct impression that his instincts lay in the area of attacking the opponents king, so really to be considered such an all-round talent was a great compliment.
In this article I want to look at some of the earliest games of Spassky, and try and explain how he was able to use these attacking skills at an early stage in the game.
I got a good response to my request for chess players to send me their games to try and look at some of their more obvious mistakes, and try to analyse the reasons for those mistakes.
A guy called Gerben sent me a game on Twitter, and (GM!) Bogdan Lalic also sent a selection of his games. I’ll look at their games later. But in this article I’m going to be looking at the games of Eric Gittrich. Eric is a 1500 plus rated player from the US and is very honest about some of his losses, coming out with comments like “I folded like a cheap suit”, and “I knew I was better but was intimidated by his rating”.
Tagged: Opening Theory, Gorm
I must admit out of all the openings I chose to do a shock and awe article against, the one I had most trouble with was the French. It seemed so solid that the only serious way to take it on was by choosing one of the main lines with 3.Nd2 or 3.Nc3.
The problem is for this series I only want to cover openings that haven’t been analysed to death, and there’s a SERIOUS amount of analysis that comes with either of those choices. I thought about a system involving an early 1.b3, but somehow combining 1.e4 with b3 has never made a lot of sense to me.
So, to cut a long story short, I finally settled on a system which might not be completely sound, but seems a lot of fun and at a lower level at least, is bound to score a lot of easy victories.
Please let us know what you think of our new PGN viewer in the comments.
Tagged: Gorm, Opinion
Remember when you were young, you shined like the sun? Shine on, you crazy diamond!
It seems to me that when I was younger, the whole experience of playing chess was a completely different one to what it is now. Chess was fun! I used to checkmate my opponents with the four move checkmate, I enjoyed finding combinations as I worked my way up the ladder. And now? Now for me chess has become a complete misery. Just woe piled on woe piled on woe. Woe is me, and woe is chess, and chess is me. Woe, woe, woe.
No greater example of this can be provided that the horrible two weeks I just completed which started with the misery of playing one junior after another in dreary hastings, and was completed in Harrogate, where my hopes of capitalising on my 300 rating points edge on the rest of the field were cruelly dashed.