Making Tactics Work

1. A chess tactic is an unstoppable threat.  Often you can Avoid, Block, Capture or Defend your way out of a threat, but if you can't, you're probably on the receiving end of a tactic.

2. Tactical themes include:

  • jumps, mates, forks, nets, pins & ties

A fuller list of tactical themes might be:

Opening development and coordination


There are useful opening 'rules' (really, guidelines) which should be known and adopted at least until you know better.  Sadly, even strict obedience to the rules can lead to trouble, so you have to learn some specific opening lines.  You don't have to know every opening, but you need at least one system for White and a couple as Black.  Which ones you choose depends on your style and your appetite for study.

Opening principles

It's useful to review and rehearse the reasons for the

Openings Workshop 2011

Four questions from the floor with comments from all

A defence to the Kings Gambit

1.e4 e5 2.f4
Asking around the group for moves for Black at move 2, we collected:

2...d5 ...

And that probably doesn't exhaust everything that has been tried, but it will do for now.  All have some logic so let's work our way through them.

Knight Work

I don't have notes but I do have this very nifty slideshow.

The 65th square

The secret of Grandmaster play is to make use of the hidden 65th square on the chess board. I'm sure you've all had the experience of having a piece come at you, apparently out of nowhere, to take one of your army. That piece came from the 65th square.

I can't show you the square, because it's not on the usual 8x8 grid system, but I can show you that it is there. Watch...

Take a 8x8 chessboard (64 squares, right?), and divide it up in a special way:

The two-minute rule

We had a 4-board match this week where eight Division One chessplayers weren't clear enough about the rules to give much confidence in the knowledge of the rest of you... 

Stewart Reuben says in the latest Organiser's Handbook that this rule "...continues to give arbiters problems. ... When I was in South Africa and held a seminar, the local arbiters wanted to spend the whole time discussing nothing else."

A la carte

I have been looking at French repertoires recently, and thought it was useful for my own amusement at least to see what various authors writing for the Black audience recommended.

Repertoire books these days often give you a choice, which is excellent.

McDonald 2008


"Happy is the man who can make a living by his hobby!", said GBS, but typically there's not a lot of overlap between my day job in health and education and my pastime of chess.

Then two come along at once :)

My colleague David McGeorge called to my attention to some research about going second, which looked at penalty shoot-outs and the game of chess.


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