Let’s begin our chess journey together …

We’ve got a great collection of chess players this year. It’s also a collection of varying abilities … that means, if I want to do a good job coaching you (which means making you better), I need to challenge everyone at their own level.

I will do my best to get better and better at this.

Let’s first review the most important things I’ve taught until now – to all of you, from top to bottom.

1. Organise your pieces; bring your pieces out in a rational way at the beginning (opening) of the game. I’ve had students who ignore this idea – but if they do, they never improve. Development of pieces at the very beginning of a game is the most important idea there is to start with.

What’s going on in the diagram below … what can you say about development, specifically? Be specific!


Did you notice: White’s rook?

Did you notice: White’s white bishop?

Did you notice: White’s queen and King?

Both rooks have nowhere to go and nothing to do. The light bishop (on f1) is blocked in … it literally only has one square open. At least the dark bishop has the c3-h6 diagonal.

White is horrible here and will lose. Black did fine and is poised to win.

Second topic:

Strategy vs. Tactics.

In chess, Tactics are combinations of moves that can happen immediately and can be connected like chains (or combo’s if you play video games!). It’s like hitting your opponent once … and while they’re reeling, hitting them two or three more times when they can’t respond. Here’s a tactical situation:

First, look calmly at the position. DON’T RUSH. DON’T RUSH.

Secondly, get impressions. Some impressions:

1. Whites pieces are (his rook and queen) are getting dangerously close to the black king).

2. White’s rook and Queen are working together – this is called a BATTERING RAM in chess (see the way they can help each other out like a battering room to smash through?).

3. Black has great threats as well … it’s not all roses. So, the position is DYNAMIC (there are many active threats, captures, pins and attacks that could happen) … the alternative to dynamic is “static” i.e. boring (quiet).

4. Violent, forcing moves are the best! If I can make a harsh check, black has NO choice but to respect me … and respond to my move. Where can I check? How can I follow?


I’ve decided to play Rd8+. Black must meet the check with Rxd8. Then, I must capture back with my queen … Qxd8+ … so, black is still in check. In this “combo” or “tactic”, black is being punched and he must keep defending; he has no choice.


Black must run away with his King. Is the tactical/chain combination all over for white, or can he continue punching black? What do you see in this position? That’s right, the Black knight is hanging (open to take). After the tactical fight, black’s piece was left for you to take … now you’re winning. This is what happens when you string moves together like that!

Please go to http://www.chessclub.net … or http://www.chess.com … please explore some of the features. If at all possible, please download Dasher, for free, with the permission of your parent’s. It’s the official software of the ICC. Once you have that software, you can do free tactical problems (as many as you want). If you to the problems, you’ll get BETTER and BETTER.

You can do puzzles on chess.com also …

It’s up to you – I’ve told you how to improve; will you put the effort in?

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