Meat and potatoes

Exeter Chess Club: Meat and potatoes - three phases of a tough game.

Peter Lane and Dave Regis


Dave thought this would be a good idea to do as a coaching session because:
  • we're often looking at master games, not club games
  • when we do look at a master game, we often play through it pretty quickly and often use it to illustrate only one chess point
  • when we see master annotations, they tend to give a reassuring and definitive judgement about a position, instead of a

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?

From The Master Game, Book 2, Jeremy James and William Hartston (1981). London: BBC.
'Chess,' said the Dutch grandmaster, Jan Hein Donner, 'is as much a game of chance as blackjack; or tossing cards into a top hat.' There was a pained silence, then a polite babel of disagreement: it was a game of the utmost skill; a conflict between disciplined minds in which victory would inexorably go to the more perceptive, the more analytical player; a duel of the intellect in which luck played no part. Donner

Lessons from Rubinstein

Peter Lane, 10 June 1997

Akiba Rubinstein made enormous contributions to the game of chess. In the first place, our opening books contain Rubinstein's lines in the Nimzo-Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3), the Tarrasch Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3), the Four Knights' Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4) and the French Defense (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4). Secondly there is the legacy of his games, containing some superb

Lessons from Capablanca

Peter Lane, 22 January 1997

On Studying Master Games - a short digression

Polugayevsky, in the beginning of his book `Grandmaster Performance', quotes some advice he was given when a young player:

  "If you want to play well, in the first instance study games. Your own and other peoples'. Examine them from the viewpoint of the middlegame and the endgame, and only then from the viewpoint of the opening. This is more important than studying textbooks."

A chess glossary

"The meaning is the use" - WITTGENSTEIN

More than most of these pages, this represents work in progress, and particularly your corrections, additions, and examples in PGN are invited!

 I don't think it needs a search facility: it's not very long and you can use the one in your browser.

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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