An unexamined life is not worth living.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Book Review – Khalifman’s Opening For White Series

If you are are looking into buying a chess opening book these days, many books lack depth. This is clearly not the case with Alexander Khalifman’s “Opening for White according to Anand”! I have a copy of volume two – about the mainline Spanish Opening, and I must say the book provides the necessary combination of depth and detail. A few more good points on the book:

  • Specific moves are in most cases presented in the context of strategic plans
  • Most of the theory is up to date – at the time of the writing
  • The book is a solid foundation for a full repertoire
  • Transpositions are generally explained
  • Final positions are given evaluations
  • If necessary to illustrate the ideas of the middlegame – entire games are provided
  • The author is a reliable authority on opening theory
  • The entire mainline Spanish is covered – which must have been a ton of work for the author(s)


If you play the mainline Spanish as White (or even as Black), and have no coach to walk you through it, this book is a “must have” in your chess library!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Meditation and Chess

Recently I have been looking into the benefits of meditation, as well as trying to understand as general purpose.  One of the key aspects of successful meditation is supposedly being able to focus on the current moment rather than worrying about the past and the future. World chess champion Garry Kasparov has pointed out that being able to concentrate at the important moment is perhaps one of the most overlooked and important keys to becoming a successful chess player. I recall Canadian Chess Champion Kevin Spraggett has also indicated that he used meditation for his chess growth.

In our society there are so many distractions coming from the media, technology and pressures of everyday life that being able to focus on a chess position is a skill that I would guess can be improved with meditation.  I consider difficulty with focusing is one of the main obstacles for my successful studying of chess and better tournament results, so I am getting curious if meditation can help me with that ...


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

King Race in Pawn Endgame

This endgame occurred in my game almost 15 years ago.

Jiganchine – Verkhovskaya, Alushta 1997

image Black to move.

There are two legitimate questions associated with this position:

  1. What move should Black play?
  2. With best play from both sides, how should the game end?

Hint: Black stands no chance in the king race, so he must play correctly with his pawns!

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