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Best Educational Chess Lesson

Awarded by Chess Journalist of America I am deeply honored and humbled to have been selected to receive the Chess Journalists of America’s Best Educational Lesson award. It was especially meaningful to receive this award for A Night at the Opera. The very first time I showed this game to a class, I put aContinue reading “Best Educational Chess Lesson”

Puzzle Worthy Position 39

Perhaps you have not heard of the chess player Peter Dely. During his lifetime, Peter was certainly a force to be reckoned at the chessboard and was the Hungarian Champion in 1969. Peter Dely earned the IM title in 1982 and FIDE awarded him the honorary Grandmaster title in 1999. I recently discovered a real-gameContinue reading “Puzzle Worthy Position 39”

Winning Chess Moves: Chiburdanidze vs. Malaniuk, 1990

Grandmaster Maia Chiburdanidze, the Sixth Women’s World Chess Champion, has played many notable games that I regularly use as lesson material. Today’s puzzle comes from her final move against GM Vladimir P Malaniuk played in Round 9 of the 1990 Kusadasi Open in Kusadasi, Turkey. Chiburdanidze (white) plays a crushing move that causes her opponentContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Chiburdanidze vs. Malaniuk, 1990”

Francisco Friday for 7/1/2022

German chess master Alexander Fritz (1857–1932) suggested 5…Nd4 in the Italian: Two Knights Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4) to Carl Schlechter who publicized the line in a 1904 issue of Deutsche Schachzeitung. Sixty years later, the Fritz Variation famously re-emerged during Bobby Fischer’s crushing loss to Robert Eugene BurgerContinue reading “Francisco Friday for 7/1/2022”

Puzzle Worthy Position 38

This puzzle worthy position has long been one of my favorite instructive combinations to use as a part of beginner classes on checkmating. The player with the white pieces is none other than the fifth World Champion Max Euwe but our feature position occurs twelve years before Max famously defeated Alexander Alekhine in a closeContinue reading “Puzzle Worthy Position 38”

Winning Chess Moves: Yates vs Capablanca, Moscow 1925

In today’s feature position, Fred Dewhirst Yates (white) has just played 38. Ka1 leaving Jose Raul Capablanca (black) with a decisive advantage in king safety, material, space and force. Capablanca puts the final nail in the coffin with a brilliant 38th move after which Yates (white) immediately resigns. What is black’s winning move?

Chess Position Worth Sharing 147!

Spent 27 minutes of my time this evening working out the solution to this beautiful endgame puzzle by Leonid Kubbel. It was time we’ll spent! For those who are unfamiliar with Kubbel’s work, he composed many of the finest endgame studies of the early part of the twentieth century. In fact, Kubbel likely could haveContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 147!”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 146!

“Capablanca’s phenomenal move-searching algorithm in those early years, when he possessed a wonderful ability for calculating variations very rapidly, made him invincible.” – Mikhail Botvinnik

Chess Position Worth Sharing 143

The 1927 World Championship Match was a fiercely contested clash of chess styles. Jose Raul Capablanca had a straightforward playing style which, combined with his famously precise endgame play, was his recipe for success. Alexander Alekhine, on the other hand, preferred creating complexities and oftentimes employed risky attacks in route to his victories. Capablanca wasContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 143”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 142

Tonight I showed Werner Springe vs Hans Gebhardt, Munich 1927 to my chess students at Gomes Elementary School in Fremont, California. This game, played by relatively unknown players, is a delightful choice for a chess lesson. In the position below, black has just played pawn to h6 threatening white’s bishop. What is white’s best move?

Winning Chess Moves: Koltanowski vs. Tholfsen, 1928

GM George Koltanowski, simply known as Kolty to his many friends, was the most passionate chess player I have ever met. He was always sharing his love for chess through his daily San Francisco chess column that ran for over five decades straight. His blindfold simultaneous exhibitions set world records and many new chess fansContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Koltanowski vs. Tholfsen, 1928”

Chess Position Worth Sharing 140

A young fan of this blog enjoyed the last Sam Loyd puzzle I shared (see: Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle 63) but asked if I had a “slightly easier problem by Samuel Loyd.” So, as was requested, this evening I am sharing another Sam Loyd mate in 3 that is much easier to solveContinue reading “Chess Position Worth Sharing 140”

Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 63

During the mid-nineteenth century, Samuel Loyd was one of the strongest chess players in the United States. However, his real passion was for the compositional art of chess puzzles, not tournament play. Known as the “Puzzle King”, his book Cyclopedia of 5000 Puzzles was published in 1914, three years after his death. Below is aContinue reading “Betcha Can’t Solve This #Chess Puzzle! 63”

So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 43

National Chess Day is celebrated in the United States on the second Saturday in October. The 38th U.S. President Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr. declared National Chess Day on October 9th, 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration. Today, the day honors chess’ lengthy history and the role it has played in uniting people fromContinue reading “So I was just playing a game of #chess and then this happened! 43”

Winning Chess Moves: Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 1968

During her illustrious career, WGM Valentina M Borisenko-Belova (1/28/1920-3/6/1993) won the Women’s Soviet Championship five times (a record she shares with Nona Gaprindashvili.) Zara Nakhimovskaya was a formidable chess player who won the Latvian Chess Championship for Women four times. In our feature position, Valentina M Borisenko-Belova is playing with the white pieces against ZaraContinue reading “Winning Chess Moves: Borisenko-Belova vs Nakhimovskaya, 1968”

Joseph Norman Cotter (June 25, 1929 – May 23, 2021)

It is with great sadness that I am sharing the news that Joseph Norman Cotter passed away on May 23 at the age of 91. Mr. Cotter was a chess player, educator and friend whom I met during our shared adventures in the 2006 USCF Golden Knights correspondence chess tournament. During our game, Norman spokeContinue reading “Joseph Norman Cotter (June 25, 1929 – May 23, 2021)”

GM Yuri Averbakh is Checkmating Covid

At age 99, Yuri Averbakh has spent the better part of of his life checkmating opponents but off the board, it appears that he used his famous chess stubbornness to checkmate COVID.

#Chess Position Worth Sharing 133

Tonight I finished a long day of teaching chess by presenting an absolutely superb mating combination played by the first World Chess Champion. A brilliant positional player, particularly in his later years, Wilhelm Steinitz rose to prominence in the mid-nineteenth century as a dangerous attacker in the romantic style of chess that had been popularisedContinue reading “#Chess Position Worth Sharing 133”

Today is Paul Keres’ Birthday

Happy birthday to Paul Keres, who was born on January 7, 1916. From 1935, when he debuted as a sensational nineteen-year-old at the Sixth World Chess Olympiad in Warsaw, Paul Keres was one of the top five players in the world before his untimely death from a heart attack on an international airplane flight fromContinue reading “Today is Paul Keres’ Birthday”

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?”