Coaching discussions at the Riviera Tournament, 2012

At the Riviera Tournament on Saturday 6th October 2012, I plonked myself in a room and did an all-day drop-in coaching session.

This is what we talked about:

[Click [TOP] to come back to this menu] Basics
Improvers
Experts
Opening (Harry) - Fool's Mate
Christopher - Scholar's Mate
What's the best second move? (Jasmine)
Thinking about Rooks in the Opening (Jasmine), including: Scotch Game
Italian Game with c3
Ruy Lopez with c3
Petroff's Defence
Old Stodge (Joshua)
Home-made openings like William's Opening
The Fried Liver How do you defend against the Fried Liver Attack? (Ollie & Alfie) & Lasker's Improvement (Lasker's improved Fried Liver)
Defending the Two Knights' Defence (Oscar) using the Ulvestad Variation
Carlito - Petroff's Defence
Torre Attack
Queen's Gambit (Matthew)
Queen's Gambit and the Swiss Defence (William)
What to play against the Scandinavian (Edmund)
Scotch & Bishop's Opening (William)
Middlegame
Help! I keep making silly mistakes (Sam)  & exercises to help [Eight Queens] [Six types of tactic]
Help!  I keep missing my opponents's threats (including pins) (Tiago)
Help!  Even if I castle, I still get checkmated! (Olivia)
Defending the fianchettoed King's Position (Carlito)
Doubled pawns
Finishing off
Help! I allowed a stalemate (Christopher)
KR v K (Alec & Fraser)

(Thomas) - KBN vs K
Sorry if I forgot anyone's name, but I hope you recognise what we talked about!

Help! I allowed a stalemate (Christopher) [TOP]

There are three things to know do about this:
1. Make sure you know the most common stalemate positions
2. Practise against a friend or a computer
3. Always ask yourself, once you have chosen a move, "what is my opponent's best reply?"  If they don't have one, think again!

TOP TIP: Thinking about your opponent's best reply is good advice - not just for finishing off, but from the very start of the game!

What to play against the Scandinavian (Edmund) [TOP]

The Scandinavian Defence is

1.e4 d5. 

rnbqkbnr
ppp-pppp
--------
---p----
----P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKBNR

If White swaps, Black can take back the Queen or aim to take back with the Knight.

2...Nf6
2...Qxd5

Taking back with the Knight can lead to an IQP position, and I think that's what White ought to head for.

2...Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.d4 cxd5 5.Nf3

or

3...e6 4.d4 exd5 5.Nf3

rnbqkb-r
ppp--ppp
-----n--
---p----
--PP----
-----N--
PP---PPP
RNBQKB-R

Taking back with the Queen often leads to a position where White has a bit more space, but Black is very solid. 

3.Nc3 Qa5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6 6.Bc4 Bf5 7.0-0 e6 

rn--kb-r
pp---ppp
--p-pn--
q----b--
--BP----
--N--N--
PPP--PPP
R-BQ-RK

Some White players get frustrated with this type of position, which has so little tension and no obvious ways to attack.

If you want to stir it up, you can hold back with your pawns, then when Black develops the Bc8, throw in b2-b4! 

4.Nf3 c6 5.Be2 Nf6 6.0-0 Bf5 7.b4 

rn--kb-r
pp--pppp
--p--n--
q----b--
-P------
--N--N--
P-PPBPPP
R-BQ-RK

That's not a real gambit, as after 7...Qxb4 8.Rb1 Qa5 9.Rxb7, White has regained the Pawn.

If you're a real gambit player, you can try to head for the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit:

2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3

rnbqkb-r
ppp-pppp
-----n--
--------
---Pp---
--N--P--
PPP---PP
R-BQKBNR

Even strong players can be bowled over by the BDG:

5.Nxf3 e6 6.Bg5 Be7 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe1 c5 10.Qh4 g6 11.Ne5 Re8 12.Nxf7 Qc7 13.Bxg6 hxg6 14.Qh8+ Kxf7 15.Qh7+ Kf8 16.Bh6#
1-0 Houska,M-Moskovic,D/9th S&W Young Masters 1999

Queen's Gambit (Matthew) [TOP]

Gambits generally lead to exciting, attacking games if your opponent accepts.  But... meet the boring Gambit!

1.d4 d5 2.c4

rnbqkbnr
ppp-pppp
--------
---p----
--PP----
--------
PP--PPPP
RNBQKBNR

The Queen's Gambit isn't a 'real' gambit, as White can always get their pawn back if they insist:

2...dxc4 3.e3 b5 (3...Be6 4.Na3) 4.a4 c6 5.axb5 cxb5 6.Qf3

rnbqkbnr
p---pppp
--------
-p------
--pP----
----PQ--
-P---PPP
RNB-KBNR

So, Black should allow the pawn to be captured, before they get in a mess.

Black can take the c4 pawn and steer for an IQP position, but quite often they decline, getting a solid but not particularly exciting position.  I recommend the Swiss Defence.

2...e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0 6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 a6 8.Bd3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 c5 11.0-0 Bb7

r--q-rk-
-b-nbppp
p---pn--
-pp---B-
---P----
--NBPN--
PP---PPP
--RQ-RK

Defending the Two Knights' Defence (Oscar) [TOP]

Steinitz was once asked this question.  He set off explaining, white goes there, you go here... His questioner interrupted, "No no, I want to know how to defend when you are playing a better player, and your opponent starts the game without either of their knights."

This is the Two Knights' Defence:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p---
--B-P---
-----N--
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

Instead, 3...Bc5 is perfectly safe, if a bit dull.  The 2ND is riskier, but also you have more to gain.  I guess it depends if you like winning more than you hate losing!

Anyhow, White has two moves that might give you trouble:

4.Ng5 and
4.d4

4.Ng5

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p-N-
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

The main line of this goes:

4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5

And now you may know

5...Nxd5 6.Nxf7!? ...

r-bqkb-r
ppp--Npp
--n-----
---np---
--B-----
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

...is very awkward for Black to defend against.  You may not realise that 6.d4 is even worse!

So, on move 5 you have to pick something else. 

r-bqkb-r
ppp--ppp
--n--n--
---Pp-N-
--B-----
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

5...Na5 is the move for masters, but I like 5...b5 for juniors:

r-bqkb-r
p-p--ppp
--n--n--
-p-Pp-N-
--B-----
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

with ideas like:
6.Bxb5 Qxd5;
6.dxc6 bxc4;
6.Bf1 Nd4

4...Bc5!? is a fantastic line for brave attackers!

4.d4

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p---
--BPP---
-----N--
PPP--PPP
RNBQK--R

The main line of  this goes:

4...exd4 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.Re1 d5!

r-bqkb-r
ppp--ppp
--n-----
---p----
--Bpn---
-----N--
PPP--PPP
RNBQR-K-

And now there's a tricky bit:

7.Bxd5! Qxd5 8.Nc3 Qh5 9.Nxe4 Be6!

5...Bc5 is even trickier, but doesn't fizzle out.  Again, if you don't mind losing but like winning, go for it!

Silly mistakes (Sam)  [TOP]

The best ways to avoid silly mistakes are:
1. Make sure you know the most common types of tactic (also on  this page)
2. Practise spotting tactics in books or with a computer
3. Always ask yourself, once you have chosen a move, "what is my opponent's best reply?" 

Eight Queens [TOP]

This is a good way to sharpen your brain: try to get eight pawns on a chess board so that no pawn is on the same file, rank or diagonal as any other.  Imagine they are all Queens that mustn't attack or defend each other.  It's possible ... but not easy!

Here's one:

----q---
--q-----
q-------
------q-
-q------
-------q
-----q--
---q----

Find another! (rotations and reflections don't count!)

Torre Attack [TOP]

Some of you know the Torre Attack from Mr.Cross.  This is a solid way of building up your position.  Remember that one day you will want to get your Rooks into the game.  You will need to open a file: either c-file, or the e-file, or the f-file.  You're going to find it hard to do any of those if you put your Knights on c3 and f3 and don't move them!

r-bq-rk-
pp--bppp
--n-pn--
--pp--B-
---P----
--PBPN--
PP-N-PPP
R--Q-RK-

Old Stodge (Joshua) [TOP]

a.developing the Bc1

After our Old Stodge opening system:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6

r-bqk--r
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-P---
--NP-N--
PPP--PPP
R-BQK--R

White played:

6.b3

I asked, What's the idea?  And was told, To develop the Bishop so it controls the centre.

Quite right!  But that's not the right move in this position.

The Bishop can already develop, so no need for another pawn move
The pawn cuts off the retreat of the Bc4
I'm not sure that Bishop is having much say over the centre from b2.  It can't see very far, and even if the Nc3 moves away, d4 looks firmly under Black's control.

Better moves are:

6.Be3
6.Bg5

But the best move of all is to avoid Old Stodge! 
Aim for d2-d4 and get the Bishop out to e3 or g5.
So, try instead 4.c3 (idea d4) or 4.b4 (Evans' Gambit, idea c3 and d4) or 3.d4.

b.doubled pawns

Doubled pawns are a blessing and a curse.  They give you a nice half-open file to attack along, but they can be weak,  So, you can afford doubled pawns on the side of the board where you are strong, but not where your opponent is trying to attack!

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.b3 0-0 7.Bb2 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3

r--q-rk-
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-P---
-PNP-b-P
PBP--PP-
R--QK--R

Here, taking back with the Queen is best.  It's going to be hard for White to attack down the g-file, with so many pieces stuck on the other side of the board.  Also, the hole on f4 looks nice for Black after ...Nh5!

r--q-rk-
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-P---
-PNP-Q-P
PBP--PP-
R---K--R
 
r--q-rk-
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-P---
-PNP-P-P
PBP--P--
R--QK--R

William's Opening vs. The Italian Game (William) [TOP]

Home made openings are fun, but the reason you see the same named openings in the books is because they are the best ones!

So, this is the William Opening:

r-bq-rk-
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--P-P---
--NP-N--
PP--BPPP
R-BQK--R

Not bad!  A good strong centre and places for all the minor pieces.

But the Be2 is not really doing as much as it can, and there is a hole on d4 that Black can use.

This is the set-up from the Italian Game or Ruy Lopez:

r-bqk-nr
ppp--ppp
--np----
--b-p---
--BPP---
--P--N--
PP---PPP
RNBQK--R

A good strong centre again, but no holes, and the Bishops have a good clear view across the board. 

We have been a little bit unkind to the Nb1, but:

a. The Knight can hop around to a nice outpost like d5 or f5 by Nb1-d2-f1-e3-d5 or Nb1-d2-f1-g3-f5.

b. Black might take on d4, and after you take back with the c-pawn, you have c3 for the Knight!

Queen's Gambit and the Swiss Defence (William) [TOP]

1.d4 d5 2.c4

rnbqkbnr
ppp-pppp
--------
---p----
--PP----
--------
PP--PPPP
RNBQKBNR

If someone plays the Queen's Gambit against you, and you don't like to give up your central stake by taking the c-pawn, I recommend you play the Swiss Defence.  You take the c-pawn later, once White has developed the Bf1, and that way they waste a move!  Also, even though ...e6 is a bit harsh on our Bc8, after ...dxc4 it has a nice long diagonal to look along.

First, support your d-pawn:

2...e6 

rnbqkbnr
ppp--ppp
----p---
---p----
--PP----
--------
PP--PPPP
RNBQKBNR

Now, develop your King's-side and castle.

3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e3 0-0

rnbqkbnr
ppp--ppp
----p---
---p----
--PP----
--------
PP--PPPP
RNBQKBNR

Good, now start moving your Queen's-side.  Put your Knight on d7, not c6, as you want to leave your c-pawn free.

6.Nf3 Nbd7 7.Rc1 a6

r-bq-rk-
-ppnbppp
p---pn--
---p--B-
--PP----
--N-PN--
PP---PPP
--RQKB-R

7...a6 is the secret weapon of the Swiss Defence.   Why play a little pawn move like that?  Watch...

rnbqkbnr
ppp--ppp
----p---
---p----
--PP----
--------
PP--PPPP
RNBQKBNR

8.Bd3

When White moves the Bishop, take the pawn.  Then, chase the Bishop, and develop your Bishop, and play ...c5.

8...dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 c5 11.0-0 Bb7

r--q-rk-
-b-nbppp
p---pn--
-pp---B-
---P----
--NBPN--
PP---PPP
--RQ-RK-

Neat, eh?

Black is at least equal in that line and has a fine free game.

Help!  Even if I castle, I still get checkmated! (Olivia) [TOP]

Danger on f7

The best defender of f7 is your Rook on f7. 

-----rk-
-----ppp
-----n--
----p-N-
--B-----
--------
--------
--------

Some players will take twice on f7, swapping B+N for R+P.  If you add up the points off the board, the two sides are equal, but if you look on the board, Black is usually ahead in development.

--------
-----kpp
-----n--
----p---
--------
--------
--------
--------

Danger on g7

-----rk-
-----ppp
-----n-B
----p---
--------
------Q-
-----PPP
--------

Defend with ...Nh5!

---q-rk-
-----ppp
-------B
----p---
--------
------Q-
-----PPP
--------

Defend with ...Qf6

-----rk-
-----ppp
-------B
----p---
--------
------Q-
-----PPP
--------

Defend with ...g6 (better to lose the Exchange than a King!)

Danger on h7

-----rk-
-----ppp
--------
-------Q
--------
---B----
--------
--------

Defend with ...h6

-----rk-
-----pp-
--------
-------Q
--------
---B----
--------
--------

Defend with ...g6

-----rk-
-----pp-
--------
---n---Q
--------
---B----
--------
--------

Defend with ...Nf6

-----rk-
-----pp-
--------
---n----
-------Q
---B----
--------
--------

Defend with ...Nbd7

-n---rk-
-----pp-
-----n--
---N----
-------Q
---B----
--------
--------

See also here: attacking the castled king

Eight Queens or even Nine? (Alec) [TOP]

Can you get 8 or 9 Queens on a chessboard?

I think so: if you promote all your pawns, you will have nine Queens!

Can you put 8 or 9 Queens on an empty c[/chessboard, without any of them attacking any of the others?

Well, I'm sure you can't manage nine - there are only eight files, and each Queen will need a file.   So I know nine is possible, but I don't know if eight is possible - try it!

Defending the fianchettoed King's Position (Carlito)  [TOP]

-----rk-
-----pbp
-----np-

This is the second-best castled King's position.  Very safe and solid - at least, while you have the Bishop!  Otherwise, it becomes the Swiss Cheese Defence (full of holes!).

If you want to checkmate the King, you can play:

-----rk-
-----pbp
-----np-
--------
---PP-PP
--N-BP--
PPPQ----
--KR---R

e5, Bh6, h4-h5xh6, Bxg7, Qh6+ and Qxh7#

-----rk-
---n-p-Q
------p-
----P---
---P--P-
--N--P--
PPP-----
--KR---R

...checkmate!  It works like clockwork, all the little cogs move around in the right order to give checkmate.

If you want to stop your King being checkmated in this way, here are some ideas:

1. When your opponent plays h2-h4, play ...h7-h5

2. When your opponent plays Bh6, play ...Bh8

----r-kb
-----p--
-----npB
-------p
---PP--P
--N--P--
PPPQ--P-
--KR---R

3. When your opponent takes on g6, take back with the f-pawn.  Your Rook might come to f7, defending h7, or your King might flee that way.

4. The real secret to defending your King is to make a distraction somewhere else - either blow up the centre, or attack your opponent's King!
That's fine in an open or semi-open position, not so easy in a closed one.  So, in a closed position, don't be in a hurry to castle into an attack.  In a closed position, your King may be safe in the centre, so here you can delay castling and do other things in the opening. 

(I know, I know, that's not what I said earlier!  Chess is complicated!)

(Harry) - Fool's Mate [TOP]

The fastest checkmate is not Scholar's Mate (four moves) but Fools' Mate - two moves!

1.f4 e5 2.g4 Qh4#

rnb-kbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p---
-----PPq
--------
PPPPP--P
RNBQKBNR

You might even recognise that idea from the front page of Mr.Onions' Score Pads!

Surely, no-one ever does that?  Well, no, but you can use the idea.

For example, 1.f4 is Bird's Opening, a perfectly OK opening.

The game might go:

1.f4 e5 2.fxe5 d6 3.exd6 Bxd6

rnbqk-nr
ppp--ppp
---b----
--------
--------
--------
PPPPP-PP
RNBQKBNR

This is From's Gambit.  Black gambits a pawn for free development.  Now, if it were Black's move in this position, it's mate in three moves!  Can you see how?

4.a3 Qh4+ 5.g3 Bxg3+ 6.hxg3 Qxg3# 

rnb-k-nr
ppp--ppp
--------
--------
--------
P-----q-
-PPPP---
RNBQKBNR

So, White has to do something to stop that.

4.Nf3 is natural.  Black goes on with 4...g5! 

rnbqk-nr
ppp--p-p
---b----
------p-
--------
-----N--
PPPPP-PP
RNBQKB-R

Black's threat is to play ...g4 next move, saying: you must give me a Knight or your must give me a King!

I did see one game at Exeter where White saw this threat and played: 5.h3??  But can you see why that is a double-question-mark move, a blunder?

Quite right!  5...Bg3 is checkmate! 

Another line with a version of Fool's Mate is

1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 h6 3.Bh4 g5 4.e4

rnbqkbnr
ppppp---
-------p
-----pp-
---PP--B
--------
PPP--PPP
RN-QKBNR

If you tahe the Bishop with ...gxh4, you will be checkmated on h5!  So, you don't see Fools' Mate, but you do see the idea.

KR v K (Alec & Fraser) [TOP]

This is explained on a separate page here.

(Thomas) - KBN vs K [TOP]

Can you checkmate with K+B+N vs. K?

Yes!  Here's how:

-------k
--------
-----BKN
--------

Can you force a checkmate with K+B+N vs K?

Yes!  But ooh, it's hard!  If you really want to see it done, here's how:

How do you defend against the Fried Liver Attack? (Ollie & Alfie) [TOP]

The Fried Liver Attack is this line of  the Two Knights:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7

r-bqkb-r
ppp--Npp
--n-----
---np---
--B-----
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK--R

Black can get a sort of defensible position like this:

6...Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Ke6 8.Nc3 Nce7 (or 8...Ncb4!?)

r-bq-b-r
ppp-n-pp
----k---
---np---
--B-----
--N--Q--
PPPP-PPP
R-B-K--R

The moves that White wants to use after the sacrifice are
d4 O-O Re1 Bf4...

If White can play all those moves, Black might not be able to defend.

But the best way to play for Black is to avoid it with something like the Ulvestad Variation [see Defending the Two Knights' Defence for more about that line]

Actually, the best way for White to play is to avoid it too!  Let's look at an idea of Lasker:

Lasker's improved Fried Liver

Lasker realised that you can play all the moves you want to use after the sacrifice, before the sacrifice!

6.d4 exd4 7.0-0 Be7 8.Nxf7!

r-bqk--r
ppp-bNpp
--n-----
---n----
--Bp----
--------
PPP--PPP
RNBQ-RK-

And White has his cake, and is eating it too.

Not so much plain Fried Liver, as a fine rustic pate' on toast with parsley garnish.

Openings and Rooks (Jasmine) [TOP]

What do you play after 1.e4 e5?

rnbqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p---
----P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKBNR

Well, you may know that the things you should try and do in the opening are:

get your pieces out towards the centre
get at least a share of the centre (try and keep at least one pawn there)
get your King away from the centre by castling
get your Rooks towards the centre files, which might be open or openable.

So, what's the best move after 1;.e4 e5?

There is one move that helps with ALL FOUR of the things you want to do, and it makes a threat too!

2.Nf3 - five points for that move!  A*!

rnbqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p---
----P---
-----N--
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

2.Bc4 - four points - B, not bad
2.Nc3 - two points - just a C, could do better!

There's a funny thing about the opening that you can end up forgetting about your Rooks.  So, juniors often play Old Stodge:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6

r-bqk--r
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-P---
--NP-N--
PPP--PPP
R-BQK--R


Points all round, but I don't know how you are planning to get the final points for getting your Rooks onto files that are open or openable.

Play one of these systems instead:

Scotch Game: 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.d4

r-bqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--n-----
----p---
---PP---
-----N--
PPP--PPP
RNBQKB-R


Scotch Four Knights' Game: 1.e4 2. Nf3 3.Nc3 4.d4

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p---
---PP---
--N--N--
PPP--PPP
R-BQKB-R


Italian Game with c3: 1.e4 2. Nf3 3.Bc4 4.c3 5.d4

r-bqk-nr
ppp--ppp
--np----
--b-p---
--BPP---
--P--N--
PP---PPP
RNBQK--R


Ruy Lopez with c3: 1.e4 2. Nf3 3.Bb5 4.O-O 5.Re1 6.c3 7.d4

r-bq-rk-
--p-bppp
p-np-n--
-p--p---
---PP---
--P--N--
PPB--PPP
RNBQR-K-

Help!  I keep missing my opponents's threats (including pins) (Tiago) [TOP]

There are three things to know do about this:
1. Make sure you know the most common types of tactic and practise doing tactics puzzles from a book or a computer.
2. Practise spotting attacks and defences over the whole board by doing Dr.Dave's Brain Sharpening Exercises.
3. Always ask yourself, once you have chosen a move, "what is my opponent's best reply?" 

Christopher - Scholar's Mate [TOP]

Scholar's mate is the "Four move checkmate" which caught me out the first time I ever played a game of chess in a chess club!

1.e4 e5 2.Qh5

rnbqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p--Q
----P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-KBNR


White attacks a pawn, which Black defends.

2...Nc6 3.Bc4

r-bqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--n-----
----p--Q
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-K-NR


White targets f7, which is defended by the King.

3...Nf6

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p--Q
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-K-NR


Black attacks the Queen, hoping to take it or at least drive it away.

r-bqkb-r
pppp-Qpp
--n--n--
----p---
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-K-NR


4.Qxf7# Checkmate!  The King cannot take the Queen, for it is defended by the Bc4.  Line

r-bqkb-r
pppp-Qpp
--n--n--
----p---
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-K-NR

If Black defends correctly, the White Queen may waste time running away from attacks by Black's minor pieces.

So, you have to know how to defend against it, but I don't advise you to play it yourself.  Against a player who knows the best moves, you are more likely to force a mistake by playing something else.

TOP TIP: you should always expect your opponent to play the best moves.    `

Scotch & Bishop's Opening [TOP]

The Scotch is one of the best ways to start a chess game, whether you are a beginner or a Grandmaster. 

Scotch Game: 1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3.d4

r-bqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--n-----
----p---
---PP---
-----N--
PPP--PPP
RNBQKB-R

If you want a second-string opening, try Bishop's Opening:

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4

rnbqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p---
--B-P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQK-NR

After 2...Nf6 3.d3 Nc6

Now, if we plan to play d3-d4 later (to open a file to help our Rooks), we will have wasted a move.

But we can plan to play f2-f4!?

r-bqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--n--n--
----p---
--B-PP--
---P----
PPP---PP
RNBQK-NR

Yet after 2...Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.f4!? d5! I think Black has equalised.

So try  2...Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nc3 and you can aim for f4 later.  This line can become a version of the King's Gambit Declined:

1.e4 e5 2.f4 Bc5! 3.Nf3! d6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bc4 Nc6 6.d3

r-bqk--r
ppp--ppp
--np-n--
--b-p---
--B-PP--
--NP-N--
PPP---PP
R-BQK--R

Carlito - Petroff's Defence [TOP]

The Copy Cat Defence!

1.e4 e5

rnbqkbnr
pppp-ppp
--------
----p---
----P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKBNR

Can't be bad!

2.Nf3 Nf6

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
-----n--
----p---
----P---
-----N--
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

Looking good!

3.Nxe5 Nxe4

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--------
----N---
----n---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

Makes sense!

4.Qe2 Qe7

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
-----n--
----N---
--------
--------
PPPPQPPP
RNB-KB-R

Still smiling!

5. Qxe4

rnb-kb-r
ppppqppp
--------
----N---
----Q---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNB-KB-R

Oops...

Well, that's not the end of the story...

5...d6 6.d4 dxe5 7.dxe5 f6 8.f4 fxe5 9.Qxe5

rnb-kb-r
ppp-q-pp
--------
----Q---
-----P--
--------
PPP---PP
RNB-KB-R

but I don't think I want to play like that.

Try again:

2.Nf3 Nf6

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
-----n--
----p---
----P---
-----N--
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

Looking good!

3.Nxe5 Nxe4

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--------
----N---
----n---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

Here's hoping!

4.Qe2 Nf6

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
-----n--
----N---
--------
--------
PPPPQPPP
RNB-KB-R

How about that!

5. Nc6+

rnbqkb-r
pppp-ppp
--N--n--
--------
--------
--------
PPPPQPPP
RNB-KB-R

Ouch...

The move that makes this defence work is from Janisch:

2.Nf3 Nf6

Still looking good!

3.Nxe5 d6!

rnbqkb-r
ppp--ppp
---p-n--
----N---
----P---
--------
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

That's the ticket!

4.Nf3 Nxe4!

rnbqkb-r
ppp--ppp
---p----
--------
----n---
-----N--
PPPP-PPP
RNBQKB-R

Catching up!

5.Qe2 Qe7!

rnb-kb-r
ppp-qppp
---p----
--------
----n---
-----N--
PPPPQPPP
RNB-KB-R

Is that all you've got?

White's best approach is actually

5.d4 d5!

rnbqkb-r
ppp--ppp
--------
---p----
---Pn---
-----N--
PPP--PPP
RNBQKB-R

When the game can start safely.

Six types of tactic [TOP]

The different types of tactic are:

jumps (discovery)
mates
forks
pins/skewers
nets &
ties (undermining and overloading)

Here's one example of each: on a separate page.  You can play through the games, they're only short!

More advice is here.

legacy nid: 

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