How did Morphy and Alekhine get so good at chess?

Question: How did chess players like Morphy/Alekhine get good at tactics without the computers, books, and databases that we have today? Paul Morphy and Alexander Alekhine Answer: Both Morphy and Alekhine were born wealthy in a household that valued chess. Paul Morphy learned chess at an early age by watching games between his uncle andContinue reading “How did Morphy and Alekhine get so good at chess?”

Do strong chess players today possess different qualities than their predecessors in the 1800’s?

Question: Given the increase in chess theory, are different kinds of people likely to be strong chess players now than in the 1800s or earlier (e.g., people with greater memory)? Answer: It’s also important to realize that brute memorization is not a very important factor in chess success. The important factors that the 19th centuryContinue reading “Do strong chess players today possess different qualities than their predecessors in the 1800’s?”

Do you learn chess better by playing or watching?

Question: Do you learn chess better by playing or watching? Answer: Ideally, there needs to be balance between learning by watching examples of strong play and attempting to apply what you have learned through playing chess. Following a study plan will help achieve this balance. Emmanuel Lasker was the World Chess Champion for twenty-six yearsContinue reading “Do you learn chess better by playing or watching?”

Is it easier to learn chess or reading music?

Question: Is it easier to learn chess or reading music? Chess notation and musical notation have a fair amount in common. Those who have studied diligently are rewarded with a chessboard/symphony in their mind. Still, reading musical notation and/or recording chess games are arguably the least fun aspects of “playing.” Some instructors even claim thatContinue reading “Is it easier to learn chess or reading music?”

(GM) Rashid Nezhmetdinov

Question: Why wasn’t Rashid Nezhmetdinov a Grandmaster? Answer: By most accounts, Rashid Nezhmetdinov should be a Grandmaster (if for no other reason than having won the Russian Championship over a talented field in 1950, 1951, 1953, 1957 and 1958.) It wasn’t until 1950 that the Grandmaster title was first awarded by FIDE and only 27Continue reading “(GM) Rashid Nezhmetdinov”

Basic Chess Strategy

Question: What are some common chess strategies? Answer: Below is a list of chess strategies known as Reuben Fine’s “Thirty Rules of Chess”. Chess is a complicated game and there will always be exceptions to any rule. However, it is a good exercise to understand why each item below is generally recognized as good chessContinue reading “Basic Chess Strategy”

The Grandmaster of Unorthodox Chess!

Question: Who are the most controversial or unorthodox chess players? Why? What do you think of them? Answer: GM Bent Larsen (Jørgen Bent Larsen 3/4/1935 – 9/9/2010) was the greatest unorthodox chess player to have ever graced Caïssa with his devotion. Famous for his innovative and unorthodox style, Bent Larsen was the first Western playerContinue reading “The Grandmaster of Unorthodox Chess!”

The Greatness of Viswanathan Anand

Question: Which Indian GM can replace Vishy Anand? Answer: In a recent interview, Viswanathan Anand likened the the proliferation of chess Grandmasters in India to a “snowball effect.” This common analogy couldn’t be more fitting for how the Anand Effect has so rapidly increased the popularity and skill level of chess in his native India.Continue reading “The Greatness of Viswanathan Anand”

Bobby Fischer Style

Question: What was Bobby Fischer’s playing style at chess? And what was his approach to the game based on the openings he played? And how was it, that such a narrow opening repertoire, made him so machine like? Answer: Bobby Fischer played chess the manner in which chess aficionados trust it ought to be played.Continue reading “Bobby Fischer Style”

A Fine Book on Endgames

Question: What is the best book on theoretical chess endgame positions? Answer: Reuben Fine’s “Basic Chess Endings” is an incredible manual for both fledgling and advance players. While I battled through this book as a beginner, my exertion was paid off with overall improved aptitude in the endgame. Some will feel the intermittent grammatical mistakeContinue reading “A Fine Book on Endgames”