Chess Position Evaluation: Who is better, and by how much?

Chess Informant popularized a classification system that is now universally used in chess literature and when discussing positions. Who is better, and by how much? When I was struggling to learn chess, I didn’t really feel what these meant. Now, I hope others will be a bit less confused! This is a short post, and

Hacking Up The King: Chess Calculation Practice

Killer Instinct in Chess Hacking Up The King is all about trying to checkmate the enemy king, whether castled or still in the center. There are countless books in this genre, but the 2014 work by English International Master David Eggleston is better than most. If you like Attack with Mikhail Tal (which I reviewed previously)

Winning Slowly at Chess

Frustrate Your Opponent Some readers may groan upon seeing the title of this post, and that’s okay. I get it. Who, when taking their first steps in chess, dreams of winning wars of attrition? Probably no one. On the contrary, I often fantasized about winning a brilliant game in a tournament hall or chess club

The Canal Trap

The Canal Trap arises from the Italian Game (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4): This has been extremely popular at high level for many years now. The consensus among top players seems to be that black’s strongest reply is 3…Bc5, entering the Giuoco Piano: From there, White typically plays the modest pawn pushes c2-c3 and d2-d3 and develops

Chess Tactics: Shirov — Polgar, 1994

Polgar turns the tables on Shirov’s aggression It was the perfect setting for a showdown between two of the most combative players of the 1990s and 2000s: a thematic tournament stipulating every game begin with an Open Sicilian (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 and, after 2…Nc6, 2…d6, or 2…e6, 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4). Polgar chose a Paulsen Sicilian,

Chess Tactics: Velimirovic — Rajkovic, 1971

The Pirc Defense is dangerous for both players! When black answers 1.e4 with the Pirc (1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6), things can get weird in a hurry. Defenses like the French can become complex and tactical, but in a “standard” way. Pirc Defense players fight for more wins, and are willing to risk more

Chess Tactics: Svidler — Vallejo-Pons, 2004

Svidler and Vallejo’s Rapid Race in the English Attack We pick up the action after white’s 25th move. White has just moved his king out of check. Peter Svidler has been one of the world’s best players since the 1990s. The 8-time(!) Russian Champion has played many outstanding games and has become one of the

Chess Tactics: Anand — Lautier, 1997

There must be something The sudden finish In Przepiorka—Cohn was a little unexpected because few pieces were left on the board. The chess tactics in Anand — Lautier arise out of a wild struggle where calculation will decide the day. To find the possibilities, we need to look for checks, captures, and threats … and

Don’t Worship Your Chess Engine!

Chess engines can be a valuable tool… Chess computer software is extremely popular, and has been for a long time. A chess engine can analyze your games and give you an idea of how well or poorly you played. With ratings topping the 3400 mark, these monsters are several hundred points stronger than any human