Archive for May, 2016

My life these days is a never-ending search for interesting topics for my chess lessons and games or positions to illustrate the topic.  Most evenings I’m logged on to chess24.com to go through the latest overseas games and chess games.com is also a great source of historical games.

Last week for instance I decided to play through a few Lasker games, in particular I went through the Lasker v Marshall games as the previous week I used the famous “gold coin” game of Marshall in some of my lessons.  Of course Marshall was a great attacking player but a pretty average player in endgames and boring positions.  It was great to see how Lasker went all out to swap queens v Marshall and to get him into an endgame where he could be easily outplayed.   I showed such a game to one of my students yesterday and on several occasions we had to stop for a chuckle at the feeble attempts Marshall made to attack in a boring endgame.

The previous week I had done “tactics” and tried to demonstrate to students the need to be imaginative and to actually look for all the tactics in a position and then choose the best one.  After one lesson the students were playing their tournament game and I was moving around commenting on their play.  I stopped at one game where a player had just left his Bishop to be taken.  He did however have a tactic based on an overload theme so I commented “why are you sacrificing your Bishop?” to which he replied “Don’t worry … I have it all worked out!”  Sure enough his opponent fell for the trap (juniors love to take) and my player got a back rank checkmate at which point I butted in again and said “did you have it all worked out?  Sure, you saw a tactic but did you check for any tactics he may have in reply?”  Black in fact did have a good try in response … your mission is to find it and tell me if it works.  (See diagram below).

Next Wednesday night I’ve been asked to give another lecture to the Melbourne Chess Club novices group so I’ve been looking around for a suitable topic.   Last time I did “would you like a draw?”  and before that I did “How not to attack.”  This time I’ve chosen “Think Like a Grandmaster” which is in fact the title of my favourite chess book by the Russian GM Alexander Kotov.  I plan to use a very interesting game featuring old Russian GM Yuri Balashov outplaying a 2000 rated opponent which demonstrates the difference in understanding of the two players.