12 April 2018

Quest for Advantage

This morning's blitz session ended after two games, a win and a loss. In the second game, the win, I found the only move that maintains a slight edge from this position. My opponent then failed to find a move that kept it close and his position deteriorated rapidly. He resigned three moves later.

Black to move


What should White do?

11 April 2018

Winning Advantage?

Stockfish and other engines give White an advantage of 1.7 to 2.3 pawns, but cannot suggest an approach superior to that played in the game.

White to move

52.Rh7 Kb6 53.Kb3 Ka6 54.Rc7 Rg8 55.Ka4 Kb6 56.Rg7 Rf8 57.Rg6+

Black to move

57...Kxa7 58.Ka5 Kb7 59.Rg7+ Kb8 60.Kb6

Black to move

Black saw that he had reached a Philidor Position and easily held the draw with mere seconds remaining on the clock.

Did White have another means for securing a win that the engines might suggest if allowed to "think" longer?

09 April 2018


During Inland Chess Academy's Spring Break Chess Camp last week, I presented four sessions. My topics were weakness, patterns, coordination, and finishing. The following is an outline of the fourth, finishing. Click on the links for some of my previous posts that expound upon some of these techniques.


To score well consistently in chess competition, you need to have the skill to convert an advantage into a win. Often, also, you need to hold a draw when you have a slight disadvantage.

To develop this skill, learn (in approximately this sequence):

Checkmate with heavy pieces—two rooks or rook and queen
Checkmate with one heavy piece
Winning and drawing positions and techniques when one side has a single pawn (opposition and outflanking)

Black to move
Black draws with best play
Winning techniques when one player has a pawn majority on one flank and an equal number of pawns on the other flank
Use of opposition and outflanking to secure the win or hold the draw when both sides have the same number of pawns
Some stalemate ideas when kings and pawns are all that remain
Checkmate with two bishops
Holding the draw with Philidor’s idea in rook and pawn against rook
Winning from the so-called Lucena position (building a bridge)
Queen versus advanced pawn—winning techniques and positions, drawn positions and techniques
Tactical tricks in rook endings (and the corresponding drawing ideas)
Checkmate with knight and bishop*
Queen versus rook—elementary winning positions and ideas

Of course, these skills are only a beginning, but they are a very important beginning. These skills are called fundamental because they are the foundation upon which you can build lasting skill. Without this foundation, your success in the opening and middle game will often crumble in disappointment.

*Jeremy Silman does not agree that this skill is necessary

08 April 2018


Does Black have a winning advantage?

Black to move

This position is from an online blitz game where White made an obvious blunder in time pressure. I am not certain that Black could have broken down White's effort to construct a fortress without the error.