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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?”

Wyzant Chess Tutoring

Question: What is your opinion of Wyzant.com chess tutoring? Wyzant is a tutoring platform with many great educators. Having been a chess instructor for several decades, I recognize the profiles of many other highly qualified chess teachers. The whiteboard on Wyzant is easy to post chess problems on, I simply tilt the camera toward myContinue reading “Wyzant Chess Tutoring”

(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”

A Plan for Adding New Chess Openings

Question: How do I manage my desire to learn multiple chess openings (I play 1 e4 and suddenly I want to learn the Catalan from a book I bought)? Answer: Perhaps restrict yourself to playing online blitz games with your e4 repertoire on days that start with S and T and attempt to play theContinue reading “A Plan for Adding New Chess Openings”

Backwards Chess

Question: Who can play chess backwards? By playing “chess backwards” I assume you are referring to retrograde analysis chess puzzles. The individuals who appreciate these bewilders enjoy intelligent reasoning yet are exhausted by standard chess puzzles. A well conjured retrograde chess puzzle presents a harmless looking chess position and an apparently difficult to-respond to addressContinue reading “Backwards Chess”

Two Hands Aren’t Better Than One

Was playing with both hands ever allowed in chess? You can play chess with either hand or both if you choose. The standard that you need to press the clock with the same hand that you use to move the pieces is there to keep players from touching the clock before they have finished theContinue reading “Two Hands Aren’t Better Than One”

My Answer on Quora to: “What is it like to meet Susan Polgar?”

(Link to Original Quora Answer) Meeting Susan Polgar would be an awesome experience for any chess enthusiast. Susan was the first woman to be awarded a non-gender biased grandmaster title from FIDE, the first World Chess Champion to win Chess’ Triple Crown, has become a worldwide symbol of women’s achievement in intellectual competition and wasContinue reading “My Answer on Quora to: “What is it like to meet Susan Polgar?””