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:

Endgame workout

Endgames are worth taking seriously - you can get extra points and
half-points by improving your endgame play.
Some endgames turn up rather often, certainly more often than some
of the odd bits of opening theory we end up looking at sometimes.

There are bits of theory to know, but as always the thing is to test
your understanding and practise.

The things you need to know are widely available, not least from our
website, so I won't trot through it all, just give some examples.

Summer Coaching 2012

Summer Coaching 2012

Suggested programme so far - watch this page for updates!

19 June Open session - bring along a game (or preferably send one to me in advance)

26 June Endgame workout

03 July Open session - bring along a game (or preferably send one to me in advance)

10 July Isolated Queen's Pawns - what's that all about?

17 July Open session - bring along a game (or preferably send one to me in advance)

24 July ...

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:


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