Bobby Fischer the Opening Model

The Never-Ending Influence of Bobby Fischer Since today is Bobby Fischer’s birthday, I felt I had to write something about him. Last year, I started this blog a bit after March 9. He’s a controversial figure, shall we say … but there’s one thing no one can deny: Fischer’s chess career basically ended 50 years

The Levon Aronian Transfer: My Thoughts

Levon Aronian from ARM to STL!? When I first saw the chess24 tweet with news that Levon Aronian will switch federations from Armenia to USA, I seriously thought it was an April Fool’s Day joke! Then I realized it’s only February 26… Holy Crap. Of all top players, I never expected to see Aronian transfer from

An Important Bishop Endgame Concept

Bishop Endgame Theory In particular, we’re going to discuss the same-color bishop endgame. The attacking side has one pawn, and the defender has none. If the defender can sacrifice their bishop for the last pawn the game is drawn, so the attacker must proceed carefully. What the Defender Wants in this Ending The position is

Which Chess Opening Move is Best? Part 1

Should I Open with 1.e4, 1.d4, or something else as White? Not surprisingly, the short answer is “it depends.” Let’s dig deeper. First, there is one thing you certainly should not do. Don’t play offbeat moves (1.b3, 1.b4, 1.f4, 1.Nc3, etc.)  just to avoid theory. I’ve touched on this before. Only use moves like this

Positional Chess Handbook: Strategy for All Levels

495 Chess Lessons in Your Pocket Positional Chess Handbook can be considered a strategy cousin to 1001 Chess Sacrifices and Combinations, the iconic puzzle book by Fred Reinfeld. Both are pocket-sized and ideal for studying on-the-go — but PCH is definitely the superior book. I recommend Positional Chess Handbook to players (and coaches!) of all

The First Master Game I Studied

A Special Birthday Today is the 65th birthday of the man who taught me how to play chess — my dad. One Saturday night when I was eight years old, my dad was cleaning out the hallway closet of our family’s apartment. I noticed a folded chess board, similar to this one. I knew it

Chess Tactics: Spassky — Rashkovsky, 1973

Boris Spassky (born 1937) was the tenth World Chess Champion (1969-1972). Before that, however, he was one of the greatest prodigies of early modern professional chess. Born in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Spassky defeated Mikhail Botvinnik in a simul as a ten-year-old in 1947, a year before Botvinnik became World Champion. With a third-place finish

Chess Tactics: Gashimov — Gelfand, 2009

Vugar Gashimov (1986-2014) was a top player from Azerbaijan who was dogged with ill health for much of his life. Despite this, he rose as high as World Number 6 in November 2009. Gashimov reached a peak rating of 2761 in January 2012, the same month as Wijk aan Zee. As it turned out, this

Mihail Marin: Great Chess Authors, Part 8

Today I want to discuss a very popular and highly-regarded chess figure who also happens to be the first currently-living author in the series. Serious work for serious people, yes, but more approachable than most Dvoretsky volumes. Mihail Marin Mihail Marin (1965 – ) was born in Bucharest, Romania. A three-time Champion of Romania (1988,

Chess Tactics: Timman — Geller, 1973

Born in Odesa, Ukraine, Efim Geller (1925-1998) was one of the world’s best from the 1950s through the 1970s. He was a six-time Candidate (1953, 1956, 1962, 1965, 1968, 1971) and twice USSR Champion (1955, 1979). He defeated eight world champions in all, achieving plus-scores against Mikhail Botvinnik, Bobby Fischer, Tigran Petrosian, and Vasily Smyslov.