as-Suli's Diamond

From Wikipedia (English):
The problem called "as-Suli's Diamond" went unsolved for over a thousand years. In shatranj, the "queen" (counsellor) is a very weak piece, able to move only a single square diagonally. It is also possible to win in shatranj by capturing all pieces except the king.

as-Suli commented:

“This ancient position is so difficult that there is no one in the world who would be able to solve it, except those I have taught to do so. I doubt whether anyone did this before me.

Openings Workshop 2013

In contrast to previous instances in this unintentional series... http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/openings-workshop-2008 http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/openings-workshop-2010 http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/openings-workshop-2011 http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/opening-workshop-2012

...questions were expressed this time as a series of dilemmas.

1.e4 or 1.d4?

Short answer: 1.e4, but it's a matter of taste.

Long answer:

1.e4 is likely to lead to open and semi-open games, while 1.d4 is more likely to lead to closed and other more

Lucky escapes

Simon Webb in his book Chess for Tigers identified the "secrets of swindling":
(1) Be objective. The first prerequisite to a swindle is to be objective enough to realize early on when you have a lost position and start playing for a swindle while your position still has resources. If you wait until your position worsens and becomes hopeless, it will be too late.

Middlegame gym

"Failing to plan, is like planning to fail.” ― Stephen McCranie

Test positions in PDF with comments about planning in general

Summer Coaching Sessions 2013

7.30pm kickoff, in the small bar

Positions attached to the middlegame and escapes sessions

16th July Middlegame gym
Middlegame gym
"What I think might be quite good is to take a few positions – possibly not highly tactical ones – but then just look how you come up with candidates and plans etc

23rd July Opening Workshop
Openings Workshop 2013

Chess coaching

   My personal website for chess, coaching, publishing and other things: http://drdaveexeter.wordpress.com/

Dr.Dave's Adventures at East Devon, 2013

FRIDAY: I've lost my last 5 games of chess and familiar doubts about my
chosen hobby are pressing. I could park my grade and retire to publishing and
coaching, but that's not an admirable way to behave. Besides, having lost my
last 5 games, my grade wouldn't be quite as wonderful at the end of the season,
so, time to shape up!

{Black was unlucky to play a line I had
recently reviewed, and conceded a pawn. Despite some oversights by White in
analysis, it was actually Black who came up with a blunder.}

[Event "East Devon Open"]
[Site "Exeter"]
[Date "2013.03.01"]

A French Encounter

[Event "ECC"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2013.02.12"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Body, Giles"]
[Black "Earnshaw, Terry"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "C02"]
[PlyCount "90"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 {The Advance Variation, usually leading to a slow and
mysterious struggle on the wings.} 3... c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Qb6 (5... Bd7 {
is my preference.}) (5... Nge7 {and}) (5... Nh6 {are also played.}) 6. Be2 (6.
a3 {John Watson} 6... c4 (6... f6 {John Watson I have suggested this move as a
good weapon in every edition of 'Play the French', and I'm continually

Move order

Just a little practical example of something I often talk about: move order in analysis.

If you have a good idea, try it with a different order of moves: it might be even better!

For example:

[Event "Peter Rooke Semi-Final"]
[Site "Teignmouth"]
[Date "2013.01.25"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Amos, J."]
[Black "Ariss, John A"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "A20"]
[PlyCount "26"]
[EventDate "2013.01.25"]
[EventType "team-match"]
[EventCountry "ENG"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 f5 3. Bg2 Nf6 4. d3 Bc5 5. Nc3 O-O 6. e3 a6 7. Nge2 Qe8 8. a3

Opening Workshop 2012

Two open gambits

Richard was interested in the Urusoff Gambit and Eddie in the Scotch Gambit.
Gambits offer a pawn for fast development and/or control of the centre. I approve very much of this way of playing, and it's the first thing I offer juniors as an alternative to playing Old Stodge with both White and Black in every game.

Here's a starter for each:
[Event "Urusov Gambit"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2012.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "White"]
[Black "Black"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "A00"]
[PlyCount "19"]

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Chess Quotes

"She hung up and I set out the chess board. I filled a pipe, paraded the chessmen and inspected them for French shaves and loose buttons, and played a championship tournament game between Gortchakoff and Meninkin, seventy-two moves to a draw, a prize specimen of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object, a battle without armour, a war without blood, and as elaborate a waste of human intelligence as you could find anywhere outside an advertising agency."
— Raymond CHANDLER, The Long Goodbye, Chapter 24, final sentences.