Lessons from Larsen

The best advice you can give a young player is for them to play like Morphy and Tarrasch, and to play the openings they played. But, once your play has reached a certain standard, you need to appreciate more the complex and sometimes contradictory nature of chess. Then you are ready to look at Larsen's games.

Lessons from Petrosian

The wiliest, boringest, most elusive, most modern of world champions, Petrosian remains a difficult and contradictory figure. His play combines deft tactical awareness with an acute sense of prophylaxis , so that opponents have the greatest difficulty in laying a finger on him. And for his own part, he often seems content holding the margin of the draw than undertaking any heroics in pursuit of a win. In the analysis room, and in blitz games, Petrosian's abundant tactical skills were apparent to everyone, but to the spectator of

A disaster in the Stonewall

Alsop,A - Blundell,J [D00] East Devon Minor (Exeter) (4), 05.03.2000

1.d4 d5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Bd3 Nc6 4.f4 e6 5.Nf3 Bd6 6.Nbd2 0-0 7.0-0 Re8 8.Ne5 Bd7 9.g4 Nb4 10.Be2 b6 11.c3 Nc6 12.g5 Ne4 13.Rf3 Nxd2 14.Bxd2 a5 15.Rh3 Nxe5 16.dxe5 Be7 17.Bd3 g6 18.Qg4 f5 19.exf6 e5 20.f5 gxf5 21.Bxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Qc8 23.Qxh7+ Kf8 24.Qg7# 1-0

What went wrong here? Play over this game twice, once fairly quickly to see how it went, and then again slowly to see what went on in more detail, and think of other ideas.


Lessons from this game:

Contempt for Pawns

"The most important feature of the chess position is the activity of the pieces. This is absolutely fundamental in all phases of the game (opening, middlegame and especially endgame)." -- Michael STEAN, in Simple Chess.

  "One of the main aims has been to highlight the differences in approach between a Grandmaster and a weaker player, and to try and narrow the gap. To some extent this comes down to technical matters - more accurate analysis, superior opening knowledge, better endgame technique and so forth; but in other

Chess with Attitude


Phil Adams

"Games like this [Penrose-Botvinnik] (and there were plenty in this tournament) impressed on me that 'wanting to win' was perhaps more important than 'playing good moves'."
-- KEENE, 'Becoming a Grandmaster'.
"At that age (ten), the odd piece here or there often makes little difference. Rather, ingenuity and the will to win may prove decisive."
-- ZAK, Improve your chess results.

1) Draw?

Lessons from Bobby Fischer

  His book, My 60 Memorable Games, was one of the first adult books on chess I bought, and while it was far too hard for me at the time (and still is, I fear) there is much to be mined in its pages. Each time I come back to it I learn something new, and I have selected some positions below which have taught me something in each phase of the game.


Lessons from Morphy

  Morphy is probably the best player for the beginning player to study. Alas there are precious few games to go on, for he lived before the growth in international tournaments and was denied a match by Staunton.


  Morphy more or less perfected the art of winning in open games: smooth, fast development, opening up lines for the attack, dynamic piece play throughout the game, ruthless cashing in of advantages, wonderfully imaginative combination play. Even against inferior opposition he plays with great energy and balance.


Clock control

Or, The Thirty-Third Piece

A. Introduction

Chess is played not with 32 pieces, but 33: the handling of the extra piece, the clock, sometimes being the deciding factor.

  Time trouble is the most obvious manifestation of clock difficulties but there are other symptoms: I remember Brian Hewson being irritated just on principle that I had played an automatic move in a tense position - after the game it became clear that I had missed a mate in three at that point.

Simple Chess

Mark Blackmore

The aim of this session is to suggest some simple rules for how to get from 100 grade to the dizzy heights of 150. If applied firmly, I am convinced they will lead to better results without any extra study.

  This first game is more or less the opposite of how you ought to model your play: an unattainable standard of mayhem...

Lessons from Mikhail Tal

So many words have been written about Tal that my own observations are perhaps rather superfluous. The brilliance of his play and the dramatic way his wins are often achieved are apparent to all.

  For tonight's session, and with their instructional content in mind, I would just like to add that it was interesting to me how some of his most striking wins are introduced by apprently simple means - not striving for complications but building up with classically good moves. This may be partly a reflection of how familiar the GM play of the 1950s is to a club


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