Most chess players like playing through games between top players but there is one sort of game that, as a chess coach, I find more interesting.   For me a game between a strong player and a weaker player (usually a junior) holds great fascination as it may serve to demonstrate the difference in understanding between the two players.  For instance a game between GM Zhao (Australia’s top player) and FM Zelesco (one of our better juniors) often serves up good chess lesson material for me.

How does the GM beat his lower rated opponent?  Can he analyse deeper or does he see more ideas in the position or is it just that he is better in endgames/pawn play/or planning perhaps?  This is why one of the best ways a young player can improve is to play against a stronger opponent and then go through the game with his coach to see why he lost.  I use this method with all my students and try to introduce them to such concepts as “pawn play”, “waiting moves”, “preserving your options” and “building up” and so on.

It’s very rewarding as a chess coach to see your students improve and begin to make their mark in senior chess.  I had a good student a couple of years ago named Gary Lin who was rapidly improving but then his family moved to Japan so I lost him as a student.  It was pleasing however to see Gary’s Facebook post the other day where he won the Japanese Junior Championship and  is doing well also in their senior chess.    I have a few promising (although much younger) students at the moment so it will be interesting to see how much they too can improve in the next few years.  To do that they need to play against adults as much as possible and there is a good opportunity to do that in a couple of weeks at the “Best in the West” weekender in Altona.   Hopefully I shall get the chance to drop in on the tournament and watch them play.

Meanwhile perhaps we can work on your own chess “understanding”.   Have a look at the position below and see if you can correctly guess what move the grandmaster played.   Needless to say he came up with an idea that most players would not even think of.

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