Sunday, September 30, 2007

New Video: Chess Trick #1 - Quickly Calculating King vs. Pawn movements

In this video I talk about a little trick that I came across from Josh Waitzkin's segments on Chessmaster 10. I had previously calculated every move in my head for king vs. pawn end-games, and this will save a fair amount of time. Hope you find it usefull as well if you haven't come across it yet. You can access the video here or by visiting my YouTube channel page.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My first chess video

My first youTube video. Hopefully it is interesting enough. I am working on the Sicilian defense, and although this is a somewhat unorthodox game in the Sicilian, I think it demonstrated some important themes that I will be discussing more in depth later.

Thanks for watching!

The votes are in!

This week's question was if time was limited, what tactics training should trump the rest, and here is the spread:

Mate in One (7%)
Mate in Two (15%)
Mate in Three (15%)
Pin Tactics (0%)
Fork Tactics (23%)
Skewer Tactics (0%)
All Equally! (38%)

Pretty clear results there - all tactics should be practiced equally even if time is limited.

This week's poll is: "For teaching young children chess, the most important thing to focus on is ..." Looking forward to your opinions on this one!

New Video: Exploring Fischer's Openings #4: King's Indian Defence vs. Queen's Pawn Game

Posted a new video today continuing my exploration of Fischer's opening strategies. This video takes a look at Fischer's match against Mark Taimanov in 1971, played in Vancouver. Fischer won the match using a King's Indian Defence against Taimanov's Queen's Pawn Game. Fischer has a lot of matches that show consistent use of the King's Indian Defence along with Benoni systems as black against Queen Pawn openings. You can access the video here or by visiting my YouTube channel.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Susan Polgar Documentary: "My Brilliant Brain"

If you haven't seen this documentary yet, I highly recommend it. You can access the videos from the following links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Evaluate the Position

A large part of playing chess is being able to evaluate a position. Usually it is not the person who can calculate the deepest that has the advantage, it is the person who can better evaluate the positions that will arise from the calculation. In this position, from a game I recently played, the material is even, but both players have certain advantages.

Which side would you rather be, black or white? Why? What advantages and disadvantages does each side have? I will list them below, but try to think of them before looking.

1. Has the potential for controlling a partially open A or B-file.
2. Bishops on neighbor diagonals.
1. Pawn Structure a little weakened (disadvantage for the end game).
2. Advanced pawns in castle position weaken king.
3. White-squared bishop and Queen blocked in.

1. Controls open E file.
2. Unobstructed bishops on long neighbor diagonals.
3. Invasive pawn structure with no exploitable weakness.
4. Safe king position.
1. White F pawn potentially may disrupt king position.

If I have missed anything or have wrongly evaluated the position please let me know. With this knowledge, we can come up with reasonable plans for White and Black.

White should seek to exchange pieces to alleviate the cramped position. He may also, if he can secure a safe king, play for counter-attack on the queen side.

Black should seek to exploit White's weakened king and try to transform his spacial and quality advantages into material advantages for a winning end-game.

It is Black's move. Do you see a tactic that will accomplish this goal?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Chessmaster 10 Arrived

Took a number of weeks, but finally got it in. I will post a review in a week or so. Got it primarily for my son, so I will let him determine the overall quality, although there are a number of features that I am sure will help anyone, including myself. Can't argue much for $9.99 regardless.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Votes Speak Volumes: Tactics Prevail!

The weekly poll ended early this morning with the following voter percentage:

Openings! (6%)
Middle Game! (6%)
End Game! (17%)
Tactics! (58%)
Play lots of matches! (10%)

This week's poll focuses on what tactics should be a priority if time is limited. Looking forward to the results!

Some Different Fischer Video Clips

Found this clip on Manju's blog and it has some video clips of Fischer I had not seen before. Sharing it with you this morning.

Susan Polgar in Mexico

Susan Polgar has been doing an amazing job at covering the championships in Mexico on her blog. She has travelled down to the event, and is covering things from a different angle than other online chess publications. Rich with pictures, thoughts, and analysis, Susan's blog has become the place to go to check out happenings in Mexico.

You can access her blog here, and participate in her new chess forums here.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Chessmaster: Grandmaster Edition Announced

Chessmaster fans (I am still waiting on mine to arrive by mail!) will be excited about this news and the tons of new features.

Link for info is

Bring on the weekend!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chess Club Night!

Was a great night for the chess club. Some great games were played. My son won 4 games and lost 1 to one of the stronger club players, and I won 1, had 1 draw against the player that beat my son (I think now we are 3-1-1 over the last 4 weeks, so he came close to making that 3-2 tonight) and as per usual I had a good trouncing from the club organizer, making my record 1-4 against him. But that's the way you learn, and it is super helpful to have an organizer that instructs while you play which is awesome.

Next week we have to start writing down our matches in preparation for our first over the board tournament, so I will most likely start a chess club video series to add to the ones I am already doing on the YouTube channel. Should be fun!

I will be registered with the chess federation along with my son here in Canada within the next couple weeks. I will keep you all up-to-date on our efforts in that front. Take care and enjoy the last day of the week before the weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Video: Chess Match

I have uploaded a new video going over a chess match I had tonight that highlights just how important assessing material trades can be. You can view the video here or from my YouTube channel here. Full PGN's of all my videos are located on the links to the right.

Thanks Susan Polgar!

Today started off as a normal day - woke up around 5:30AM, checked my messages and played a couple quick chess matches online while enjoying a cup of coffee, and headed off to work. Got home and found out that both this blog and my YouTube channel were mentioned on Susan Polgar's chess blog ... and it was one of those moments! When my son saw mention of his daddy's videos on Susan's blog ... his blue eyes were just beaming! Thank you Susan and also thank you for doing what you do with children and the chess community!

You can read the post here on Susan's blog if you haven't visited yet today, and the link to her main blog is on the link menu to the right:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Most Powerful Knight

I ordered a book called How to Play the Sicilian from amazon, and I soon hope to have a review of it for everyone out there. Until then, I recently played a game that had a position that was somewhat beautiful. If not beautiful, it was at least interesting!

It's black to move. The move Nxd3+ should be immediately apparent. I don't know why white moved the king to b2 here, probably a case of time pressure and not expecting the knight check in the first place. But here you can see the absolute power of the Knight. A Knight can be interesting because when it attacks other non-Knight pieces the attack is never mutual. Here the Knight is forking every single kind of piece (other than another Knight) and they are all helpless against him!

Tactics Pulling Ahead!

3 days left on the poll and the tactics option is pulling ahead. Big surprise or not? Cast your vote below on the right-hand side of the blog.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tactics Practice!

This position was emailed to me by our chess club organizer. It's white to move. There are two ways that I can see to checkmate the black king - can you find them?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Susan Polgar Starts a Chess Forum Community

I was very excited to come across the news on Susan Polgar's blog that she has started an online chess forum community! You can access Susan's blog on the links to the right, and the new forum community is located at I have absolutely no doubts that there is going to be some amazing discussions there, and definitely recommend that everyone check it out!

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Results are in!

Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov tied in the online poll at 50% each with the question: "who do you think was the strongest at chess?".

This week's poll concerns what you believe to be the most important training for an amateur to spend his or her time at. Looking forward to the results!

Chess Club Night Roundup

Chess club night was fun this week, and had some interesting twists. I brought some score sheets, my two sons, and some students from the local high school. My seven year old son beat the strongest student there 3 games to 1, and even beat me in a blitz match. The night was all his, that's for sure. I went 0-2 with the club organizer, along with some rapid blitz losses. We didn't track with score sheets, but I am going to make a point to do so in my non-blitz games next week, win or lose.

New Video: Chess Tactics #1

I posted a video tonight going over the position I put on the blog last week. I am going to make videos of interesting positions that come up on occassion in my matches. You can check out the video here or from my YouTube channel. On a side note, the weekend is here! Time to initiate weekend-warrior mode.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Club night!

Thursday evenings are my favorite - it's chess club night tonight. I am going to transcribe my matches, and post some details. This week has rocketed by already, which is fine by me ... makes the weekend closer. =)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Introduction to Slatts: Playing Chess with Principles

This is my first post here at the jrobichess blog and I thought I would post an example of a game I recently played. I am an amateur chess player (very amateur!) and like jrobi I have an interest in getting better at chess. My favorite aspect of the game is the endgame and I hope to have much to share on that subject. I want to share chess positions and explain the principles that make the position work.

I reached this position as black in which my opponent made a fundamental error. He let the center open up without castling. Not only that, but he put his Queen in front of his King. And if that isn't enough, I had a Rook gazing longing past a single enemy pawn that stood between him and a very lovely royal pin.

It is black to move. White just played Bxb5 (a pawn) attacking the rook at e8. It looks strong because it not only takes a pawn but does so with tempo. What is the best move for black in this position?

Chess Principles at work:
(1) Important in the middle-game is king-safety. (2) Do not let the center "explode" or "open up" when your King is caught in the middle. In this situation with both black rooks on the e and d files white must be very careful about the tactics. The objective for white here should be to castle as soon as tactically possible.

Did you come up with the move? Hint: It may not spell the immediate end of the game, but after the dust settles white will only be able to struggle in a hard endgame for a draw.

Post the move if you see it!

Simul of all time! Enjoy! =)

Chess Puzzle and New Contributer

First, I would like to welcome Slatts to the blog! He is planning on posting various things like puzzles and end-game analysis in the future, so stay tuned! If you would like to be a contributer to the blog, you will be more than welcomed! The more chess addicts we have here the better in my opinion! Simply email me at and introduce yourself and what you would like to do on the blog!

As for the puzzle, here is a game I had today on FICS. I was black playing a Sicilian Defence. It is black to move. What do you think was possible from this position?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Looking for contributers!

I would like to make the page here even more interesting, and build a team of chess enthusiasts if possible. Basically if you are interested in posting chess tidbits, news, puzzles, and things of that nature right here on the main page of the blog, please email me at introducing yourself and what kinds of things you have in mind. I believe you would need to create a blogspot ID but if you have gmail already that will be a snap, and if you don't it's still a snap. Hope everyone's weekend is going great so far!

New Video: Exploring Fischer's Openings #3: Four Knights Game

In my new video located here I take a look at how Bobby Fischer handles a four knights game, avoiding losing a pawn which can be a common mistake by white. This match took place in 1955 against Ames. Hope you find it useful in your chess play!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another Fun Chess Club Night

I took my boys to the chess club tonight, my youngest is the stronger of the two in chess, and the older son is showing interest in the game. There wasn't many people there tonight but it was still a fun night of chess. The picture here is a position I was in as black, which I won. I am posting the position to see what you guys might have played as white. In the image, it is white to move.

The match was won via promoting the A7 pawn after exchanging rooks. After moving rook to E1, and my opponent moving his knight, I took my rook down to D1, forcing the exchange, creating a knight vs. bishop end-game.

Monday, September 3, 2007

New Video: Exploring Fischer's Openings #2: Sicilian vs. King's Pawn

I have made another video in the series "Exploring Fischer's Openings", this time looking at Fischer playing black against his favorite King's Pawn opening. The match was played in 1966 in Santa Monica against Wolfgang Unzicker, with Fischer winning. The video looks at Fischer's play against the King's Pawn opening with the Sicilian Defence. You can access the video from my YouTube page or directly here.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The votes are in!

The results from last week's poll are in. The question was "Do you think someone in their 30's can become an International Master with training and determination?"

Absolutely! (33%)
One can try, that's for sure! (55%)
Most likely not. (11%)
You must be joking! (0%)

Interesting spread! I am definitely going to try hard to reach IM status over the next few years. Will I make it? I am not sure, but I know one thing: I will definitely enjoy the ride!

There is a new poll up - check it out and place your vote!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

New Video: Exploring Fischer's Openings #1: King's Pawn vs. French Defence

I have started a new series for my YouTube channel to go along with my other ones. I am going to be looking at Bobby Fischer's opening strategies, covering the first 10-13 move segments from each player. In the video which you can see here I examine the match he played against Bent Larsen in Denver, 1971. The purpose of these videos is to improve my opening play as white, along with my counter-play with black. I also plan to do similar videos with Fischer playing black against a number of white openings. I welcome your feedback to see if this is an idea you think will be useful or not.

Fischer vs. Spassky: Documentary

These videos were very fun to watch - passing them along to you.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

I enjoyed watching the series. I can only imagine the tension back then during that match that was sweeping the nation. Fischer at that time elevated chess to a level much like baseball and football.