This is a very sad week for me because my former Olympiad Team Captain from the 1970’s, Peter Parr, has passed away unexpectedly in Sydney at the age of 66 years.  Peter was an institution in Australian Chess and next week I hope to say a bit more about his life and his contribution to chess in this country.   Meanwhile….

In recent weeks I’ve been playing through my student’s games and trying to encourage them to use their imagination more.  When it’s all boiled down chess is a battle between you and your opponent where you are trying to out-think your opponent and to find moves/ideas that he may have missed.   It’s very easy to just coast along mentally and look at the obvious moves, but that will never make you a good player.

When it’s your turn to move you should decide what are your “candidate moves” then analyse them and make your choice.  My new strategy is to have my students do this, then I ask them to find one more “really imaginative” candidate move.   Some are reporting back already that this new strategy has worked and they are coming up with ideas that they would normally miss.

For today’s puzzle I’d like to show you a position that came up in one of my lessons yesterday.  My student played Nb4 which doesn’t appeal to me because the N is out of play there – White’s advantage is on the kingside so that is where he needs his pieces.  “Why not 1.Nf4 I questioned?”   My student came up with a reason why he rejected Nf4 but was he right?   Perhaps he had not used his imagination enough?  We need your help dear reader.   Sit down, perhaps have a cup of coffee to stimulate your little grey cells, and see if you can see further than my student did.  Make sure you also spot any ideas for his opponent as well – before you draw your conclusion.

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