Practical play

Exeter Chess Club Centenary Simul 1996

General Middlegame Advice

Meat and potatoes

Compensation for material?

Mostly, situations of material imbalance are fairly clear. Typically extra material wins: even with an otherwise level position, the extra firepower can make an attack pay, or make the opponent's defences overstretched.

  Occasionally, normal material values are overturned. This is most obvious in situations of sacrifice: the mutual possibilities of exchange sacrifices Rh1xNh5 and ...Rc7xNc3 in the Sicilian Dragon are well-known, if not always easy to judge. The sacrifices remove a key defender and open lines against the King.


Is there luck in chess?

Lessons from Rubinstein

Lessons from Capablanca

A chess glossary

Excuses for losing

This is what started it all:
Excuses for losing
Dan Scoones wrote:
Here is my off-the-cuff top ten list:

  1. Dog ate scoresheet;
  2. Dead batteries in hidden transmitter;
  3. Went outside for fresh air, forgot about tournament;
  4. Disturbed by own reflection in opponent's sunglasses;
  5. Still despondent over 1964 death of Fred Reinfeld;
  6. Inexplicably confused ECO A29 line 13 note 87c with ECO A13
    line note 87c; lost queen;
  7. Unlucky pairing with historical nemesis G. Kasparov;

What makes a difference?

"There is really only one mistake in chess - underestimating your opponent"


I found this session hard to prepare, and might try again! I have tried to find mistakes that are typical of a certain level of player - that is, mistakes of a characteristic kind, that better players no longer (or only rarely) make.

  The hope is that these are the sorts of error most easily avoided. This document is subject to two caveats:

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Chess Quotes

"A discussion between the top management of the firm Audi and grandmasters Darga, Schmid and Pfleger dealt with the similarities and differences between chess-oriented thinking and the thinking processes required in business, and in particular whether one can benefit from the other. The question arose as to how a chess master actually discovers his moves. Dr. Pfleger was of the opinion that in the last analysis nobody fully knows the reasoning by which he arrives at a certain move.
— PFLEGER and TREPPNER, Chess: the mechanics of the mind