An unexamined life is not worth living.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Karpov – Miles, Combination in the Endgame

Karpov – Miles, 1982

image White to move. Black had just captured on ‘d5’ with the knight, and Karpov has prepared a refutation. What is it?

Note: the first move of the combination is pretty obvious, but White’s second move is more difficult to find, and without it White would be in trouble.

For the solution, and brief overview of the entire game (taken from the “Mastering the Endgame” book by Shereshevsky) - watch the YouTube video from my YouTube channel:

A different blog post talks about the same endgame: Sicilian Dragon - from the opening into the endgame.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Botvinnik’s 100 anniversary

Mikhail Botvinnik was born exactly 100 years ago today, on August 17, 1911. There are quite a few events this year to celebrate this. I probably studied more Botvinnik’s games than the games of any other chess player, so recently I also made a series of videos for my youtube channel to share some of the lessons I learned from his books – you can watch them below.

The themes that percolate through Botvinnik’s 3 volume collection of best games are very wide spread, but the following immediately come to mind:

  • creating and exploiting weak squares in opponent’s position
  • the importance of correctly evaluating exchanging of pieces
  • fight for initiative in the opening from the very first moves, both with White and Black
  • deep preparation of home-made opening systems
  • playing training games to study typical positions
  • learning from the analysis of your own games, and applying those ideas in future games
  • psychology of chess as a sport
  • professional attitude to chess preparation and competitions
  • impact of chess on personality and vice versa
  • good understanding of weaknesses and strengths of your opponents

The list could go on and on. My blog also has a series of posts about Botvinnik.


Chess Strategy - Bovinnik attacks against the strong center

 Chess Strategy - Botvinnik Attacks in Isolated Pawn position

Attacking Chess - Botvinnik Finds a New Plan in the Opening

The art of chess planning from Mikhail Botvinnik

Chess Preparation - key improvement in Panov-Botvinnik attack

Chess Strategy - Botvinnik exploits a key weak square

Chess Strategy - Central Domination illustrated by Botvinnik

A typical Botvinnik game, according to Fischer

 Chess Strategy - Exploiting weak isolated pawn (Botvinnik - Zagoryansky)

Botvinnik - Ragozin - an overlooked counter attack

Botvinnik - Ragozin - gaining opening advantage in a chess game

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sicilian Dragon - from the opening into the endgame

DDT3000 – bobhill, ICC, 2010

image  White to move. Black’s rook is very active and is attacking White’s pawn, so White needs to find his own counterplay. Hint: the strength of the bishop is that it can transfer from one side of the board to another very quickly, White just needs to find targets for the bishop on the queenside.

See the video with the solution and overview of the complete game:

This video shows a 15 minute chess game I played on the internet; an example of applying familiar endgame patterns I learned from Anatoly Karpov's games. Typical Bishop vs. Knight themes apply here as the bishop ends up being stronger when there are passed pawns on both sides of the board.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Geller Defeats Andersson in the endgame

Geller – Andersson, 1982
image White to move. How to best develop the initiative that White has due to control of open ‘d’ and ‘f’ files’?

Ulf Andersson is a renowned endgame specialist, so this game is a rare case of Andersson being outplayed in his area of expertise. After obtaining two bishops, Geller sacrifices a pawn for initiative and activates all his pieces to win in only 31 moves.

For the solution, and brief overview of the entire game (taken from the “Mastering the Endgame” book by Shereshevsky) - watch the YouTube video from my YouTube channel:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Improving position of pieces – play like Mikhail Botvinnik

Riumin – Botvinnik, 1935
image  Black to move.

The 6th World Chess Champion was a great annotator, and his notes to his games tend to get to the heart of the position in very simple words. Mikhail Botvinnik’s explained his reasoning in this position as follows: “to ensure a successful attack Black must post his Bishop at h5. This can be achieved only with the Queen's cooperation. But the Queen is burdened by defence of the Queen pawn; hence” …

For the solution, and brief overview of the entire game - watch the YouTube video:

The whole game is an illustration of great piece coordination and strategic planning.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Botvinnik Creates Decisive Attack

Lisitsyn – Botvinnik, 1932

image Black to move

White was playing without a plan, and by a series of well planned manoeuvres Mikhail Botvinnik built up the pressure against White's position. He has space advantage, pressure against the ‘e2’ pawn and his pieces are placed ideally. Now it is time to create decisive threats. Hint: g3 is a weak spot that Black should aim to undermine.

For the solution, and brief overview of the entire game - watch the YouTube video:

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