U14 Training Day, 1st February 2014

U14 Training Day

Thanks to everyone who came to the U14 training day, and special thanks to Tim and Sally for their support.

Whether or not you were there, you might find it useful to have a look at the links below. I hope you will find everything we showed you on the day and a few more things that we didn't have time for. The page below has links to all the computer software I showed you, too.

I'm not quite ready to give away all the openings booklets to the world, but there is a list below and you can have anything you want as a PDF or a PGN file. If you've forgotten what PDFs and PGNs are, read on...

One thing I came away with was some enthusiasm for an Exchange Chess tournament. Watch this space...


Training Day exercises and answers
Opening booklets
PGN files
Chess software/apps: Windows or iPad/Mac


I think, if you want to improve, you should be

  1. 1. Writing down all your slow-play games and others if you can
  2. 2. Going over your games, (a) by yourself, (b) with another player, and/or (c) with a computer
  3. 3. Checking your opening moves against a book or database - who made the last 'book' move?
  4. 4. Doing a bit of study of (a) openings, (b) tactics, and (c) endgames
  5. 5. Playing often
If you aren't doing any or all of those things, you won't improve as fast as you could.

To check your opening moves, you need an opening book or database, and I can give you something to get you started for most of the common junior and club openings.

If you store your old games in a chess database, you can get them checked by a computer and, if you like, by me.

Training Day exercises and answers

Timetable & resources

9.30am - HELLO (DR & TP): Intro Slideshow

9.45am - Hit Miss Trap (TP): Slideshow | Exercise 1 (PDF) | Exercise 2 (PDF) | Answers 1 (PDF) | Answers 2(PDF) | 1+2 Answers (PGN)

11.00am - BREAK

11.45am - Think or thwim! (DR): Tactics Slideshow | Thinking Slideshow

12.15pm - Openings (DR): slides PDF Slideshow

12.30pm - LUNCH

1.00pm - Endgame Challenge (TP): Slideshow | Exercise (PDF) | Answers (PGN)

2.00pm - Positional puzzles (DR): Slideshow | Exercise (PDF) | Answers (PGN)

2.30pm - BREAK

2.45pm - Practical play (TP): Slideshow TP | Slideshow DR

3.15pm - Being your own coach (DR): Slideshow


Email me for any of the openings booklets, and let me know whether you want them in PDF, PGN or CBV


PGN files

Portable Game Notation is a way of swapping games between computers, and any chess software worthy of the name should be able to read and write PGN files. A PGN file looks like this:

[Event "Game for stakes"]
[Site "London, Simpson's"]
[Date "1879"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Schilling,PDQ"]
[Black "Blackburne,JH"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nd4 4. Nxe5 Qg5 5. Nxf7 Qxg2 6. Rf1 Qxe4+ 7. Be2 Nf3# 0-1

Usually, a programme will give you a board to make the moves and a little form to fill in the game information.


& Mac

I don't use an iPad myself but made some progress with Edmund, and we may be wrong but we think the best app to use is called Smallfish. It uses a strong chess engine (Stockfish) and can read and write PGN files. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/smallfish-chess-for-stockfish/id67504914...

Windows Chess Software

Windows Chess Software

Chess Titans

I'm sure this is a lot of fun to play against but as far as I can tell it doesn't analyse your game for you and you can't save and load games in the standard PGN format. There is a lot of commercial software which will do both jobs but you can actually do everything you need for free:

Fritz 5.32

Fritz 5 can store and analyse your chess games. This is an early version of the popular Fritz chess programme from ChessBase.

It is available for free download from: http://freechess.50webs.com/fritz.html

To see how to save and send your games using Fritz 5, see: http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/emailing-games-fritz-5


The Fritz programme is a bit old now, and there is a combination of two pieces of free software which do the job just as well now:

Penguin chess game database: http://www.dashstofsk.net/penguin.html
Houdini chess analysis engine: http://www.cruxis.com/download/Houdini_15a.zip

This combination is a bit more fiddly to install, but Houdini is or was the strongest chess programme in the world, and Penguin gives you PGN files automatically.

XBoard and Winboard

http://www.gnu.org/software/xboard/ http://www.open-aurec.com/wbforum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=51528
XBoard for Linux (Winboard for Windows) can read and write PGN files, and also plays a mean game of chess using a bunch of free chess engines. Latest versions can also play several chess variants like Exchange Chess (http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/exchange-chess), and get you playing against other people on the Internet, although the behaviour of some people on the Internet is pretty terrible.


If you want a login for Yes2Chess safe online chess play & tactics training, email me. See also: http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/yes2chess

Opening Booklets : Available Chess Openings Booklets & computer files

I believe that all young players should adopt and learn a set of opening systems as early as possible, and stick to them long enough be a bit of an expert in those systems. You need three or four systems to cover White and Black:
  • A system to play as White
  • A system to play as Black against 1.e4
  • A system to play as Black against 1.d4 and other openings
  • A system or set of systems to play as White when Black dodges your main line
Of course, you can play one system for both sides.

To support your choices, I have compiled over the years a set of introductory booklets:

10colle.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Colle System
10collzuk.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Colle-Zukertort System
10d4odds.pdf (**) - First chess adventures when Black dodges 1...d5
10d4secrets.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with Secret Weapons against Indian systems
10forrad.pdf (***) - F for Forward! Playing f2-f4 in the Open Games
10french.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the French Defence
10gambit.pdf (***) - G for Gambit! Playing Gambit Openings
10italian.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the Italian Game
10KIA.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the King's Indian Attack
10Morra.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the Morra Gambit
10oddsBe4.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the Open Games as Black
10oddsWe4.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with Odd Defences (against the Semi-Open Games as White)
10QGambit.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Queen's Gambit
10quid2.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the Queen's Indian
10RuyLopez.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Ruy Lopez
10scotch3.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the Scotch Game
10sicilian.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Sicilian Defence
10slav.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the Slav Defence
10SwissD.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the Swiss Defence
10TarraschD.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the Tarrasch Defence
10twoNs.pdf (*) - First chess adventures with the Two Knights Defence
Benonis.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with Benoni Systems
Danish.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the Danish Gambit
FrTarrasch.pdf (**) - First chess adventures with the French Tarrasch as White
JuniorRepHeadlines.pdf (*) - An opening repertoire for young players from 8 to 80 [ http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/FTP/JuniorRepertoire.pdf ] [ http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/x/PGN/juniorep.pgn ]
SicSchev.pdf (***) - First chess adventures with the Sicilian Scheveningen

(*) Beginners
(**) Improvers
(***) Experts

Each of these booklets exists as a Word document, a PGN file, a CBV archive and a PDF document. Uploads will be done and links added for local players.

Chess Quotes

The King himself is haughtie care,
Which ouerlooketh all his men,
And when he seeth how they fare,
He steps among them now and then,
Whom when his foe presumes to checke,
His seruants stand, to giue the necke.

The Queene is queint, and quicke conceit,
Which makes her walke which way she list,
Ans rootes them up, that lie in wait,
To worke hir treason ere she wist:
Hir force is such against her foes,
That whom she meets, she ouerthrowes...

— Nicholas BRETON (1542-1626), The Chesse Play.