Exeter Chess Club: An ABC of Chess
Here's a mental
toolkit for the improving chess player.
I think that for each of these elements there are
different levels of understanding e.g. bad Bishop
1) I've heard of it!
2) I know what it is and could explain it to a
3) I understand enough to make use of the idea
in a game.
4) I never fail to notice the feature in a game, and
rarely (if ever) make a bad choice of plan based on
I suspect we're all OK at (1) but aren't all at (4) yet.
(3) is a fair goal.
Please see also: Opening guidelines, Middle game guidelines, and Endgame guidelines.
KLM of chess tactics
ABC of chess strategy
"He jumps so terribly
" - Dick van Geet's
(Fuller - Sakurai,Haifa [B07], 1976) 1.e4 d6
2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 5.f4 h6 6.Bh4 Bg7 7.e5 Nh5 8.Nh3
dxe5 9.dxe5 Nb6 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.0-0-0+ Ke8
The last rank is also vulnerable,
making the fork unstoppable.
"Feet of clay..."
(Adams-Torre): 18.Qg4 Qb5 19.Qc4 Qd7 20.Qc7 Qb5
21.a4 Qxa4 22.Re4 Qb5 23.Qxb7 1-0
A striking display
which has the appearance of a study.
"The game is won by the player who has
checkmated his opponent's king.
" - FIDE rules
(Plachetka - Zinn, Decin [A04] 1974) 1.Nf3 c5
2.b3 Nf6 3.Bb2 Nc6 4.e3 d5 5.Bb5 e6 6.Ne5 Qc7 7.0-0 Bd6 8.Bxc6+
bxc6 9.f4 0-0 10.Rf3 Nd7 11.Rh3 g6
"Parting is such sweet sorrow
(Crotto - Hindle,Haifa [B71] 1976) 1.e4 c5
2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Bg7 7.e5 dxe5
DIAGRAM 9.Bb5+ Bd7? 10.Qxg4 ...
"The straw that broke the camel's
" - Proverbial
17.Rxf7 Kh8 18.Rxd7 1-0
pin is mightier than the sword
" - Reinfeld
(Alekhin - Nimzovitch,San Remo [C17] 1930)
30...Qe8 31.b5 1-0
"Every Pawn is a potential Queen
1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.d5 Ne5 5.Qd4 Ng6
6.Nxe4 e6? 7.Bb5+ c6
DIAGRAM 8.dxc6 Qxd4
9.cxb7+ Kd8 10.bxa8Q 1-0
"What is immobile must suffer
" - Lasker
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 d6 5.d4 b5
6.Bb3 exd4 7.Nxd4 Nxd4 8.Qxd4? c5 9.Qd5 Be6 10.Qc6+ Bd7 11.Qd5
The Noah's Ark trap.
"Examine moves that smite!
" - Purdy
(Blackburne - Blanchard (London) [C30],
1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Nf3 exf4 ? 5.d4 Bb4
6.Bxf4 d5 7.e5 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3
Be6 9.Bd3 h6 10.0-0
Nge7 11.Rb1 b6 12.Qd2 0-0 DIAGRAM13.Bxh6! gxh6 14.Qxh6
Ng6 15.Ng5 Re8 16.Rxf7 Bxf7 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Qxf7# 1-0
"All combinations are based on a double
" - Fine
(Christiansen - Karpov,1993 [E12]) 1.d4 Nf6
2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.a3 Ba6 5.Qc2 Bb7 6.Nc3 c5 7.e4 cxd4 8.Nxd4
Nc6 9.Nxc6 Bxc6 10.Bf4 Nh5 11.Be3 Bd6
"For the want of a horse a rider was
" - Franklin.
(Legueltel - Studev,Kuortane [D60] 1976) 1.d4
d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Nf3 0-0 7.cxd5 exd5
8.Bd3 Re8 9.Qc2 c5 10.dxc5 Nxc5 11.Bxf6 Nxd3+ 12.Qxd3
DIAGRAM 13.Qxd5?? 13...Bxc3+ 0-1
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Bb7 5.Bg2 Bb4+
6.Bd2 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 0-0 8.Nc3 Ne4 9.Qc2!
9...Nxc3 10.Ng5! Ne4 11.Bxe4 Bxe4 12.Qxe4 Qxg5 13.Qxa8
"The Achilles' Heel of a chess position...
(Paul Roberts - NN [C23] East Devon, 1996) 1.e4
e5 2.Bc4 Be7 3.Qh5 ... 1-0
"Castles built of sand..."
(Tarrasch - Mieses (3) [C10] (Berlin m.), 1916)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3 Be7
7.0-0 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nf6 9.Bd3 b6 10.Ne5 0-0 11.Nc6 Qd6 12.Qf3 Bd7
13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bg5 Rac8 15.Rfe1 Rfe8
16.Qh3 Qd6 17.Bxf6 gxf6 18.Qh6 f5? 19.Re3 Qxd4 20.c3
"Stap me vitals..."
Skewer frenzy in a Rinck study: 1.Ra8! Qa2! 2.
Rxa4! Qg8! 3. Ra8 Qh7 4. Bg6! 1-0
"A man does not die of threats
(Robatsch - Jansa,Sochi [A10] 1974) 1.c4 f5
2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 g6 4.b3 Bg7 5.Bb2 0-0 6.Bg2 d6 7.d4 c6 8.0-0 Kh8
[8...Qc7] 9.d5 Qa5 10.Nc3
11.cxd5 Bxc3 12.Qd2 Qxd5 13.Qxc3+ e5 14.Nxe5 1-0
"When you see a good move, stop - there
may be a better one
" - Lasker
(Spassov - Kritiansen, Kringsja [E91], 1976)
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.d4 0-0 6.Be2 c5 7.0-0
cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.Be3
) 11.Nxc6 Qd7
12.Nxe7+ Kh8 13.f3 1-0
"The most important feature of the
" - Stean
(Rubinstein-Schlechter, San Sebastian
: White's active pieces give him the advantage.
"Quality, not quantity
Tarrasch - Noa [c11] Hamburg, 1885
White's great Knight and Black's dismal Bishop are the key
to this position. 38.g5 h5 39.Rcf1 Kg8 40.g6 f6 41.Re2
Bc6 42.Rfe1 Rd8 43.Kf4 fxe5+ 44.Rxe5 Kf8 45.Nf7 Re8 46.Ng5 Rce7
"I'm the King of the castle...
extraordinary piece of centralisation: despite the exchange
less, and the King's-side attack, White soon won.
"The early bird catches the King!
(Spielmann - Flamberg, Mannheim [C29], 1914)
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.f4 d5 4.fxe5 Nxe4 5.Nf3 Bg4 6.Qe2 6...Nc5
? [6...Nxc3] 7.d4 Bxf3 8.Qxf3 Qh4+
9.g3 Qxd4 10.Be3 Qxe5 11.0-0-0 c6
DIAGRAM Black is
fighting with only half the army. Sortez les
pieces!12. Nxd5 cxd5 13.Rxd5 Qe6 14.Bc4 Qe4
"Fair exchange is no robbery
(Fischer-Petrosian, seventh match game 1971)
Not an easy one to spot, but once seen, easy
to appreciate: White removes the defender of the dark squares,
leaving Black with a crummy light-squared Bishop.
"Let a Lord once own the happy
lines, How the wit brightens!
" - Pope
(Anderssen-Zukertort, Barmen 1869)
(Fischer-Petrosian, seventh match game,
: the rank
(Fischer-Anderssen, Siegen 1970)
"Pawns are the soul of chess
" - Philidor
(Deep Blue-Kasparov, m1 1996)
hideous: every Black Pawn is isolated and most doubled! Black
tried a King's-side hack but it was desparation and he knew it.
"Perils of both wind and limb
(Bernstein-Mieses, 1921) - That is, perils of
both the dark-square holes and the backward Pawns on White
""Thou shalt not shilly-shally!
" - Nimzo
(Alekhin-Poindle (simul.), 1936)
White plays the one move that stops Black
getting on with normal development.
"Give me a place to stand, and I will
move the Earth
" - Archimedes
The Knights are
worth a Rook each, I reckon!
This is a list long enough to get you started comfortably.
There are a few other ideas, like "coordination", which you may
come to later, and through Nimzovitch we learn about themes
like "overprotection" and "prophylaxis".