||Strategic Decisions 105: Using Your Rooks Together
Sort of a sequel to my 12/13/2007 lecture, covering things like entry squares, the eighth rank, and minority attacks, but most of all emphasizing the coordinated power of two rooks. Examples this time were all from my own games.
||Learn From Your Fellow Amateurs: Episode I
The first of my longest-running series. Listeners send in their most interesting or instructive games and I lecture on them; the submitter wins a free month subscription. The first game was between Stan Nawrocki and Michael Oldehoff (CL subscriber). Michael blunders his queen for a couple pieces, but doesn’t give up and pulls off a remarkable comeback.
||Tactical Motifs 203: Mating Nets
When you least expect it, your king might get caught in a web! Examples from Petrosian, Capablanca, and my all-time favorite, the last game from the Kramnik-Leko world championship match in 2004.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs: Episode II
Outstanding game between Larry Tamarkin (CL subscriber) and Ilya Solonkovich in the Two Knights, Modern Variation. Relates to both my 11/29/2007 lecture and my 5/14/2008 lecture.
||Tactical Motifs 204: Berserker Pawns
Not a standard term, “berserker pawns” is my name for passed pawns that suddenly break free in the middlegame. Usually such a pawn is either created or its path is cleared by a surprise sac. Every chess player knows about the importance of passed pawns in the endgame, but they can be important in the middlegame, too.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs: Episode III
John Wagner versus Matthew Hass (CL subscriber). A classic permanent pin — as I wrote in my notes to the game, “White has a bishop surgically implanted in his gut.”
||A Prize-Winning Endgame
An oldie but goodie from 1990. This is the only time I ever won a best-endgame prize. In fact, it may be the only time I played in a tournament that even had a best-endgame prize! I pulled out a tough win in a queen-and-pawn endgame.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs: Episode IV
Weinstein versus Florian Biermann (CL subscriber from Israel). A very complicated game with lots of big changes in momentum.
||Tactical Motifs 205: The Hit and Run
After the lecture I found out that this tactical motif, which I had not seen discussed before, is actually called “rubber banding.” Because it’s not so well known, it’s easy to miss. This lecture was inspired by the listener submissions for my 2/27 and 4/30 lectures, which both featured rubber-banding (or hit-and-run) combinations.
||The Lighter Side, Part I: Quadrupled Pawns
This series didn’t last too long, because listeners didn’t seem to care about it. My idea was to lecture on some weird and wacky things that happen on a chessboard. In this lecture we see two occurrences of quadrupled pawns, and one time the pawns even won!
||The Lighter Side, Part II: Krabbe’s Kuriosity Kabinet
I take you on a tour of Tim Krabbe’s website, a repository of everything weird and wacky on the chessboard. Example: A bona fide tournament game where the players castled three times total. (Yes, one of the castles was illegal, but neither player realized it!)
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs: Episode V
Nick Panico III (CL subscriber) versus Thomas Pattard. In the Long Island Industrial Chess League, Panico pulled off the amazing, Fischer-esque feat of going 15-0. Before the Internet, who would have ever known about his accomplishment?
||Learning from My Own Lectures
In a King’s Gambit Declined, I got a chance to apply some of the lessons I learned from the game Bronstein-Kostro that I lectured about on 1/15/2007.
||Basic Endgames Matter
This lecture covers one type of endgame in particular: R + 2P versus R, where the two pawns are separated by one file. It is notoriously difficult, especially when the two pawns are a bishop pawn and a rook pawn.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode VI
David Hayes versus Josh McClellan (CL subscriber). A nice example of counterattack against a hyper-aggressive opponent.
||The Lighter Side, Part III: Checkmate with the King
The famous king-chase game between Edward Lasker and George Thomas, which ends with the unique move 18. Kd2 checkmate. Also, the game Prins-Day (1968) could have ended with 31. … O-O-O checkmate (but alas, White resigned first).
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode VII: Desperadoes Galore
Sebastian Fernandez (CL subscriber) versus David Schell. The finish of this one is amazing, as both players put their rooks en prise and neither one can be taken. Unfortunately, Fernandez did take his opponent’s gift and lost as a result.
||The Lighter Side, Part IV: Double Queen Sacs
Most of us are lucky if we play two queen sacrifices in our lives. Can you imagine playing two in one game? Rudolf Charousek did it. So did Vladimir Kramnik, Larry D. Evans, and Dennis Monokroussos (who later joined the ChessLecture team).
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode VIII: Red Flags
i12c (online handle) versus Jim Krooskos (CL subscriber). Games between lower-rated players are often more instructive than master games, because the players allow the tactical shots that masters have learned to avoid. Here, I talk about the “red flags” that you need to notice to avoid blunders — such as loose pieces, pins, and discovered attacks.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode IX: See the Mate
Jacob Parrish versus Allan Jiang (CL subscriber). Another way to avoid blunders is to consciously visualize your opponent’s biggest threat — the worst thing that could happen to you — and make sure it never happens. Clearly, there is no threat bigger than mate. In this game, both players overlook mate threats and lose material as a consequence.
||The King is a Fighting Piece
I had a couple of amazing endgame saves in the fall of 2008 — both in the last rounds of tournaments with prize money at stake. Here I won a double-rook endgame, even though I was a pawn down, by remembering a cardinal rule: “The King is a fighting piece.”
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode X: Dark-Square Domination
Diogo Franco (CL subscriber) versus HollowPlayer (online handle). The title says it all.
||Another Endgame Miracle: Winning with R+B vs. R+3P
My second endgame miracle of fall 2008. Even R+B vs. R (with no pawns) is supposed to be a draw — so how can you win when your opponent also has three pawns? Answer: Some R+B vs. R positions are wins. I knew that and my opponent didn’t. So I just ignored the pawns and headed for one of the winning setups.
||Learn from Your Fellow Amateurs, Episode XI: When 3P = 1R
Matthaeus Weiss (CL subscriber from Austria) versus H. Koller. When are three pawns as strong as a rook? When they are on e5, d6, and c7. Rooks are rather bad at controlling far-advanced connected passed pawns.
||My Oldest and Favoritest Trap
Around 1982 or 1983, when I was a grad student, I discovered this trap in the French Defense that isn’t in any books. I finally got a chance to play it in a tournament game in 2008 — 25 years later!