Chess Lectures from 2007

Date Run Time Name and Description
1/15/2007 49:41 King’s Gambit Declined: Inspiration from
David Bronstein

The King’s Gambit Declined is less familiar for a lot of players than the King’s Gambit Accepted. Who better to learn from than Grandmaster David Bronstein, the former world championship candidate? I analyze a 1970 game between Bronstein and Jerzy Kostro.

2/7 34:03 Tactical Motifs 101: Forks, Part I

A lot of ChessLecture subscribers have been requesting more basic instructional material, so I started a series on the nuts and bolts of chess — the tactical motifs everyone should know. This lecture focused on forks in the opening.

2/20 34:48 Tactical Motifs 102: Forks, Part II

Continuing the previous lecture with examples of forks in the middlegame. One of the examples, incidentally, features another lecturer on the website, International Master Bryan Smith.

3/1 45:35 Tactical Motifs 103: Skewers and X-Ray Attacks

More basics. Examples from Kasparov, Kasimdzhanov, Chigorin, the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” and a couple of my own games.

3/19 44:49 Tactical Motifs 104: Discovered Attacks and Armageddon

Carlos Torre’s famous “windmill” combination against world champion Emmanuel Lasker, a modern-day version of the windmill by Jerry Hanken, a smothered mate by Jan Timman, etc. Also I rant against “Armageddon” playoffs. (This had no relevance to the main topic.)

4/3 59:09 A “Nuke the Sicilian” Twin

After seeing my article in Chess Life, life master Stephen Tomporowski sent in two games of his own in a very similar opening variation. Not quite the same but close enough to be its twin. In this lecture I analyze both games.

4/12 46:26 Tactical Motifs 105: In-Between Moves (Zwischenzugs)

A suggestion from a listener. “Zwischenzug” sounds like a Scrabble word, but actually it’s a very important way to surprise the opponent and seize the initiative.

4/27 1:03:07 Tactical Motifs 201: Trapped Pieces

In this lecture I talk about typical ways to trap a knight, a bishop, a rook, and a queen. The examples get progressively more difficult. The last one (from a game between me and National Master Renard Anderson) involves some really cool computer analysis.

5/10 46:20 Strategic Decisions 101: When Should I
Chase the Bishop?

I decided to start a new series with a lecture about a question that always bothered me when I was a beginner. I contrast an amateur game, with a much too early bishop chase, to a Bobby Fischer game where Fischer times it just right.

5/24 44:14 Strategic Decisions 102: When Should I
Trade Queens?

Here I debunk a couple myths about early queen trades — that they are drawish and they favor the weaker player. The last example is especially nice, a game where Grandmaster Gregory Serper demolished me by using a queen trade as a surprise weapon.

6/6 46:45 Pon-ishing the Ponziani

What an awful pon!
In this lecture I go over a key game from the 2007 U.S. Championship between Hikaru Nakamura and Julio Becerra. Nakamura played the seldom-seen Ponziani Opening, and Becerra was more than ready for it.

6/18 48:44 Hikaru’s Long March

After the last lecture I felt bad about picking on Nakamura, so I devoted this lecture to a fascinating game he played in the National Open against Renier Gonzalez. This was a must-win game for Hikaru, and just from looking at his face, I never doubted that he would win it.

6/29 34:44 Strategic Decisions 103: What Should I Do When My Opponent Doesn’t
Play the Book Move?

This is a question asked by a subscriber, and I think that it’s a frustration everyone has felt after reading an opening book and then not being able to apply it to real games. Basically, my answer is that you have to understand the book moves, not just memorize them.

Date Run Time Name and Description
7/13/2007 31:42 Tactical Motifs 202: Reversing the Move Order

This is a very little-known idea that can sometimes help you spot unexpected combinations. When you’re analyzing a line where Move A seems to come “naturally” before Move B, stop yourself and ask whether it might work even better to play Move B first, then Move A.

7/30 50:05 Eight-Dimensional Chess (Inspired by Jeremy
Silman)

My reformulation of Jeremy Silman’s system of imbalances, packaged in an easy-to-remember mnemonic device. With some great illustrations from the Sveshnikov Variation of the Sicilian Defense. This lecture turned out to be very popular, and I have rewritten it as an article that will appear in Chess Lifein 2008.

8/14 42:31 Fun With a Supposedly Inferior Variation

The variation in question is the Marshall Defense to the Queen’s Gambit Declined (1. d4 d5 c4 Nf6), a move so unorthodox that some opening books don’t even mention it. But I’ve had some very interesting games with it — including draws against two grandmasters.

8/31 53:05 Two Knights Defense, Part I: The Fighting Fritz

A listener requested a lecture on the Traxler Variation of the Two Knights Defense. But first I just had to talk about the line I actually play in my own games, the Fritz Variation. It’s exciting, dangerous, and little explored. What more could you want?

9/14 49:44 Two Knights Defense, Part 2: The Terrible
Traxler

Here I finally responded to the listener request. It was fun, because I had never carefully studied the Traxler Variation before. My conclusion: after White’s move 6. Bb3, it’s really the “Toothless Traxler,” because White can get a risk-free advantage.

10/18 56:03 Dueling Masters: Crouching Ruy, Hidden Bird (featuring IM Josh Friedel)

Another listener suggestion — why not show a game between two ChessLecturers, with comments from both? This game was a real back-and-forth struggle between me and Josh Friedel. The lecture was a little bit chaotic. In fact, I got disconnected at one point. Nevertheless, it was fun.

10/31 32:41 Shifting Gears Between Strategy and Tactics

Sometimes you get stuck in a mental rut. In a strategic, maneuvering game, you overlook some tactical possibilities. Or in a tactical, sacrificial position, you forget to think strategically. Good players (including computers) can think both ways at the same time.

11/12 37:12 Two Knights Defense, Part 3: A Recipe from
my Secret Underground Laboratory

If you play the Two Knights Defense for very long, you’ll find that most White players don’t play the greedy 4. Ng5 (as in my first two lectures) but play the much more sensible 4. d4. Here’s a pet line of mine for dealing with that move.

11/29 49:49 Two Knights Defense, Part 4: Modern
Variation (or the “Nimzo-Two-Knights”)

I conclude my series on the Two Knights by talking about what I think is the best and most thematic line for both sides, the Modern (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d4 ed 5. e5). White’s strategy, in particular, is very Nimzovichian, which accounts for the subtitle.

12/13 49:48 Strategic Decisions 104: Where Should I Put
My Rooks?

Two games from former world champion Alexander Alekhine illustrate most of the classical themes of rook play: open files, half-open files, pawn breaks, doubling rooks, the seventh rank, and rook lifts.

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