It’s been a hard couple of weeks for me.  I’ve had to log on at 11pm most nights to watch the World Chess Championship match between Carlsen and Anand and sometimes they have still been playing when I wake up at 6.30 am!  Of course I could catch up some missed sleep on the weekends except that that’s when the Vic. Youth Championships have been on at our new chess centre in Mount Waverley.  I dropped in a few times to watch the play and it was great that a number of the games were also entered live on Tornelo so that you could follow the action from home.

As a chess coach I must say that it has been rather frustrating.  Most of my students made some pretty elementary blunders at various times but fortunately so did their opponents!  The only exception was the Chan brothers, Kris and Luis, who dominated the U/15 and U/13 event (as their ratings indicated).  Of particular interest to me were the endgames.  It’s now clear to me that many young players have little idea about what they should be trying to do in an endgame and so over the next few weeks I have been working on some endgame lessons.  I found one really good example on Carl Gorka’s blog from a game he played against Drajecevic.  They agreed to a draw in a bishop of opposite colours endgame where Carl had an extra pawn but Dom had a better Bishop.  Dom had just exchanged off a pair of rooks on the only open file and then offered a draw.  I took one look at the position and was immediately puzzled.  Even though a pawn down it was clear to me that Black had a far better position and could probably win.  It was one of those typical positions where the better player normally plays on and on and tries to grind down his opponent.  I tested out my theory against my computer and was able to end up finding a winning plan for Black so that will be one lesson for my students for this week.

So I’m hoping that I can fix up my students’ endgames but what can I do about their blunders?  Perhaps you can help me if I show you an example.  In the position below Black has lost a piece for two pawns but his pieces are very active and White has just made a couple of incorrect moves.  If Black has his wits about him he can win the game immediately with a couple of clever moves.  Can you help him?  Black to play and win.  Of course in the actual game Black missed his chance and a few moves later blundered his rook for nothing.  Such is chess.


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