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Chess Tips

for the
Improving Player
Amatzia Avni
Quality Chess
qualitychessbooks.com
First edition 2008 by Quality Chess UK LLP
Copyright © 2008 Amatzia Avni
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape,
photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher.
ISBN 978-1906552008
All sales or enquiries should be directed to Quality Chess UK LLP,
20 Balvie Road, Milngavie, Glasgow G62 7TA, United Kingdom
e-mail: info@qualitychessbooks.com
website: www.qualitychessbooks.com
Distributed in US and Canada by SCB Distributors, Gardena, California
www.scbdistributors.com
Edited by John Shaw
Typeset: Colin McNab
Proofreading: Jacob Aagaard
Cover Design: Oscar de la Riva and Josep A. Rivero
Printed in Estonia by Tallinna Raamatutrükikoja LLC
CONTENTS
Symbols 4
Introduction 5
Acknowledgements 5
1 Te Board 7
2 Pieces: Value, Placement, Exchanges 21
3 General Approach 37
4 Rules of Tumb 61
5 In Search of Ideas 77
6 Phases of the Game 95
7 Strategy 109
8 Tactics 127
9 Attack and Defence 143
10 Planning 161
11 Decisions 183
12 Learning 205
Training Exercises 220
Solutions to Exercises 225
Index of Players and Composers 230
46 Chess Tips for the Improving Player
Most of us aspire to control our lives; to
know what is happening, to foresee coming
events, to minimize uncertainty.
But sometimes things happen which are
beyond our control, in real life and in chess
too. For example, when you are involved in
a mutual pawn race, it may not be possible
to calculate in advance who will be frst to
promote. Or when a sharp turn of events
has transformed a tranquil manoeuvring
battle into a sharp tactical mêlée, where well-
grounded positional principles are of no use.
What should one do in such moments,
when the opponent’s very next move is a
mystery to us? When we have no idea if we
are winning or losing?
I will advocate GM Maurice Ashley’s sage
advice: ‘Embrace chaos’ he says, meaning that
sometimes one has to accept chaos as an
integral part of reality, not resisting it.
Geller – Bronstein
Kislovodsk 1968
1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 ¤c6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4
e5 5.¤b5 a6 6.¤d6† ¥xd6 7.£xd6 £f6
8.£d1 £g6 9.¤c3 ¤ge7 10.h4

ôº´×´ Ã
´À´ÀNÀÀÀ
À´9´ ´=´
´ ´ À ´
´ ´´
´ ´ ´
´ ´
÷ ~=÷~´÷

White must play sharply to gain an
advantage in this variation.
10...h5 11.¦h3 d5 12.¦g3 ¥g4 13.f3 dxe4
14.¤xe4 ¦d8 15.¥d3 f5

´ Ã×´ Ã
´À´ N À
À´9´ ´=´
´ ´ ÀÀ´À
´ ´´º
´ ´~´÷
´ ´´
÷ ~=÷ ´

16.¤g5 e4 17.fxg4 hxg4 18.¤xe4 fxe4
19.¦xg4 £d6
19...¦xh4!? is a viable alternative for
Black.
20.¦xe4 £g3† 21.¢d2 0–0 22.¢c3

´ à Ã×´
´À´ N À
À´9´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´÷´
´ ÷~´ =
´ ´´
÷ ~=´ ´

Given a choice, you wouldn’t jeopard-
ize your monarch’s well-being willingly,
would you?
Don’t be a Control Freak
47 General Approach
‘Players try to avoid chaotic situations like
the plague… (but) the endless possibilities…
often produce situations where even the
best chess players face confusion and panic.
(Paradoxically) the more the mind tries to
impose logic and order, the more slippery and
frustratingly defant the position becomes…
Not everything can be anticipated precisely,
nor does it need to be.’ – GM Ashley
22...¤d5† 23.¢b3 ¤a5† 24.¢a3 b5
25.£g4 £c7 26.¥d2 ¤f6 27.£e6† ¢h8
28.£e7 £b6 29.¦e6 £d4 30.£b4 ¤c4†
31.¥xc4 a5 32.£xb5 £xd2 33.¦f1 ¦b8
34.¦fxf6! ¦xb5 35.¦xf8† ¢h7 36.¥d3†
g6 37.¦e7†
1–0
54 Chess Tips for the Improving Player
A Finnish story goes like this:
In 1939 two Finnish foot soldiers were
pinned down in a battle during the war
between Finland and Russia. ‘We’re
outnumbered’ – said one soldier – ‘Tere must
be over forty of them, against the two of us.’
‘Dear God’ – his mate answered – ‘It will take
us all day to bury them!’
Tis anecdote tells us a lot about the
diferent interpretations people ascribe to
the same reality. Te same lesson shines
through in many stories, which are basically
variations on a similar theme:
Two salesmen went to Africa, to check the
potential of exporting shoes to the continent.
Te frst sent a disappointing e-mail: ‘No
market for shoes here, everyone walks barefoot.’
His friend was thrilled, and faxed ‘Everyone
here walks barefoot; there is a huge market for
shoes!’
‘But shouldn’t we be objective in our
assessments?’ the reader might ask. Yes,
we should. Evaluation of our position
should be done in an objective manner.
Interpretation of this evaluation, however,
is left to our choice and is therefore totally
subjective.
Defending an inferior position, one player
may view it as an arduous task, a thankless
torment with few prospects of success, while
his colleague would look at such a situation
as challenging and rewarding.
Selecting how to interpret the facts rests
entirely in our minds.
1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6
5.¤c3 a6 6.¥g5 e6 7.f4 b5!? 8.e5 dxe5
9.fxe5 £c7

ÃNº´×º Ã
´ = ´ÀÀÀ
À´ ´ÀN ´
´À´ ~
´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´
´ ´
÷ ´=÷~´÷

Tis is the start of the famous (infamous?)
Polugaevsky variation in the Sicilian
defence, one of the sharpest and boldest of
all opening variations.
In a candid description of his analytical
work on this system, extending over more
than two decades, GM Polugaevsky recalled
many occasions when it appeared that his
brainchild had run into difculties. Te
GM experienced disappointment but he
was never so disheartened as to abandon his
pet system.
‘I defnitely knew that I would play Te
Variation until I encountered a complete
refutation of it, and then… I would
again get down to analysis. I would seek a
refutation of the refutation…’
Polugaevsky chose to interpret his oppo-
nents’ fresh ideas in his beloved variation as
stimulants to creativity, not obstacles. Every
new twist that his adversaries uncovered only
gave him a renewed drive to counter it with
one of his own. When encountering new
surprises he told himself ‘Something will also
turn up against this move.’ Time and again he
did indeed fnd an antidote.
Choose a Positive Interpretation
96 Chess Tips for the Improving Player
Each phase of a game has its own
characteristics. In the opening the emphasis
is on swift development and king safety.
In the middlegame, when the armies
clash, strategic and tactical considerations
predominate. Te endgame, in which one
converts previous gains into a concrete
fnal result, is regarded as more technical in
nature.
Sometimes players assume that they
inhabit a certain phase of the game, while
in truth they are in another phase. For
instance, they continue to develop their
pieces unpretentiously and fexibly, missing
that they are already in a middlegame where
they should form a more specifc plan. Or
they might believe that since queens have
been exchanged, the game had reached the
fnal phase, while actually the middlegame
is still in progress.
So, an important task of a player is to
identify which stage of the game he is in.
Votava – Miladinovic
World Youth, Singapore 1990

ô ´×´ Ã
´º´Àº ÀÀ
À´9´À´ ´
´À´ ´=~
´ ´´ ´
´´ ´´
´=
´ ´÷´÷÷
Black to play
Employing the Smith-Morra Gambit in
the Sicilian Defence, White gave up a pawn
at an early stage for quick development.
However, in the diagram position his
compensation is negligible, and with some
incisive, accurate moves Black neutralizes
White’s initiative.
17...¤e5 18.¤xe5 £xe5 19.¥xe7 £xe4
20.£xe4 ¥xe4 21.¥d6 ¥c2 22.¦c1 ¥xb3

ô ´×´ Ã
´ ´À´ ÀÀ
À´ ~À´ ´
´À´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´º´ ´ ´
´
´ ÷ ´÷÷

Te situation has simplifed into a
double-rook, opposite-coloured bishops
tussle, with Black holding a two-pawn
advantage. It is easy to categorize the
position as an endgame, imagining that
the battle will assume a technical nature
with White endeavouring to stop the black
queenside pawns’ race to promotion. In
reality, we are still in the middlegame.
23. ¦c7 a5 24.f4 g6 25.¢f2 ¦g8 26.¢e3
¦a6 27.¥e5 ¢e7 28.g4! ¥d5 29.¢d4 ¥c6
30.¢c5 ¦ga8 31.¦d1 a4
Black is indiferent to White’s growing
initiative. He should have taken defensive
measures like 29...¦c6 and, later on,
31...¦8a7.
In Which Phase Are You?
97 Phases of the Game

ô ´ ´ ´
´ ÷À× ´À
ôº´À´À´
´À÷ ~ ´
À´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´
´ ´÷´ ´

32.¦d3 a3 33.¦h3!? h5! 34.gxh5 a2?
35.hxg6 ¦g8?!
35...a1=£ 36.¦h7† leads to perpetual
check. But 35...¦e8! still gave winning
chances. and 34...b4!! would have won!
36.¦c8!!

´÷´ ´Ã´
´ ´À× ´
ôº´À´´
´À÷ ~ ´
´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´÷
À ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´

36...d6†??
Disdaining 36...¦xc8 (36...a1=£??
37.¦h7†) 37.¦h7† drawing, Black stumbles
and loses.
37.¥xd6† ¢f6 38.¦xg8 a1=£ 39.¥e5†
¢f5 40.¦f8† ¢e4 41.¥d4!
1-0
After 41...£c1† 42.¦c3 £d2 43.¦e3†
White wins easily.
Te endgame follows the middlegame,
as every child knows. In exceptional
circumstances the sequence can be reversed,
and the endgame leads to yet another
middlegame! Tis peculiarity usually occurs
in positions after pawns are promoted.
Bastian – Zeller
German Championship 1996

=ô ´ Ã
´ ´º´×º
´ ´À´À´
=´À´À´
´ ´ ´
´´~´
´ ´ ÷
´ ´ ÷ ÷
Black to play
In this double-edged position, Black
initiates some hair-raising complications:
33...¦c4! 34.¤c5 ¥xd4!? 35.¤xd7 ¥xf2†
36.¢xf2
If 36.¢f1 ¥xe1! or 36.¢g2? ¦xh2†!.
36...¦xh2† 37.¢f3 £h8 38.¤e5† ¢f6
39.¤xc4 d4 40.¦xe6†! ¢g5

´ ´ ´ =
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´÷´À´
=´ ´À×
´À ´ ´
´ ´~´÷
´ ´ ´ Ã
´ ´ ´ ´

98 Chess Tips for the Improving Player
41.£d2†?!
41.¦xg6†! ¢xg6 42.£a7 is better.
41...¦xd2 42.¤xd2 £h1† 43.¢e2 £g2†
44.¢d1 £xg3 45.¢c2

´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´÷´À´
´´ ´À×
´ À ´ ´
´ ´~´ =
´÷ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´

Te position has stabilized. Although it is
far from tranquil, we do expect a technical
stage to appear…
45...£c7† 46.¦c6 £a7 47.¢b2 ¢f4
48.¤b3 ¢e3 49.b6
…but instead the game proceeded wildly.
White missed a chance, both sides promoted
an advanced pawn…
After 73 moves the diagram position was
reached, with White to move:

´ ´÷´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´=
~´ ´ ´ ´
´÷=´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´=´
× ´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´

Is it an endgame or a middlegame?
Te need for concrete calculation and
the importance of the kings’ safety suggest
that this position should be treated as a
middlegame. One should calculate forcing
variations and not act upon general
considerations.
74.¦e4?
74.£e4! £fb3† 75.£b4 £dc4† 76.¢c6!
draws (GM Lutz).
74...£fd3† 75.¢b6 £d6† 76.¢b7 £3d5†
77.¢a7 £5xc5† 78.¢a8 £d8†
0–1
153 Attack and Defence
‘People speak about momentum as if it
were an entity of its own, an unpredictable
player on the feld… from my own experi-
ence I can vouch for it seeming that way.’
– IM Josh Waitzkin
We talk about the ‘trend’ and ‘fow’ as if
they were concrete phenomena, but in
fact they exist only in our minds. We have
a psychological inclination to go along
with the momentum: continuing along
the same path we had trodden before.
Examined objectively, this tendency has no
solid foundation. Te fact that the game
was heading in a certain direction doesn’t
guarantee that it will follow the same
direction in its later stages.
Timman – Leko
Groningen 1996

´ Ã ´ Ã
´º= ×ÀÀ
À ºÀN À
À~´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´ ´
´ ~´
´=
´÷´÷´ ÷
White to play
20.¤d4!
Te move 21.¤f5†! is hanging over
Black’s head. He now decides to capture a
pawn, gaining some material in return for
his positional inferiority.
20...¥xh2 21.¤f5† ¢f8 22.¦xd8† £xd8
23.¦d1 £c7 24.¥d4!

´ ´ × Ã
´º= ´ÀÀ
À ´ÀN À
À~´ ´´
´ ~ ´ ´
´ ´ ´
´=º
´÷´÷´ ´

Another white ofcer plants itself on
this central square. 24...exf5 25.¥xf6 gxf6
26.¦d7 £e5 27.¦xb7 leaves Black with
gloomy prospects. His next move is the only
viable alternative.
24...e5 25.¥xb6!
White’s attack gains strength with each
move.
25...£xb6 26.¦d6 £c7 27.£c4! £b8
27...£xc4? 28.¦d8† mating.
28.¦b6! £c8

´=´ × Ã
´º´ ´ÀÀ
÷ ´ N À
À~´ À´
´=´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´
´ º
´÷´ ´ ´

Te Momentum Myth
154 Chess Tips for the Improving Player
29.¦xb7?
Here we witness the trouble with
‘momentum’. White’s state of mind is geared
to the notion that he ought to continue in
sacrifcial vein. Instead, 29.¥c6! would be
decisive, as 29...¥xc6 30.£c5† or 29...£xf5
30.¦xb7 both lead to a swift victory.
29...£xb7 30.¤d6

´ ´ × Ã
´=´ ´ÀÀ
´ N À
À~´ À ´
´=´ ´ ´
´ ´ ´
´ º
´÷´ ´ ´

30...£e7?
…And Black, for his part, also goes with
‘the momentum’: the previous trend in
which his attacked pieces beat a retreat. True,
30...£d5 loses to 31.£c8† ¢e7 32.¤f5#,
but Black had a great saving shot at his
disposal: 30...¤e4!! 31.¤xe4 (31.¤xb7?
¤d2†) 31...g6, after which the advantage
switches sides.
31.£c8† ¤e8 32.¤f5 h5
Despair. 32...£e6 32.¥d7 clinches
matters.
33.¤xe7 ¢xe7 34.£d7†
Black resigned
1-0
215 Learning
‘I’m in love,’ he confessed.
‘I’m very happy to hear that,’ I said. ‘Who
is she?’
He blushed. Ten he shared his secret with
me: ‘It’s Mrs. Fritz.’ (from Diaries of a young
chess player – yet to be written)
Te relationship between chess players and
their software is a complex one. Fritz and
Co. assist us in analyzing our games and
spare us efort in detecting our errors. On
the other hand, who likes a smart aleck? Te
Fritz family pretends to be superior to us
and we resent them for that.
Can we learn from the machines? Instead
of sneering at their bugs and constantly
claiming that they don’t really understand
chess, can we emulate some of their virtues?
Rybka – Diep
15th World Computer Chess Championship
2007
1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 a6
5.¤c3 b5 6.¥d3 d6 7.0–0 ¤f6 8.¥e3
¥b7 9.f4 ¤bd7 10.a3 £c7 11.£f3 ¥e7
12.¦ae1 ¤c5 13.¥f2 d5 14.e5 ¤fe4
Pretty routine, so far. Maybe if the
programmers stop supplying the machines
with opening books, we will fnd out some
day that these moves are not always the
best. Anyway, from now on Rybka pulls of
a string of stunning moves.
15.f5! ¤d2 16.£g4 g6 17.fxe6 fxe6
18.¤cxb5! £d7
18...axb5 loses to 19.¥xb5† ¢d8 20.b4
¤xf1 21.bxc5.
19.¤d6† ¥xd6 20.exd6 0–0
20...¤xd3 21.¦xe6† ¢d8 22.£g5† ¢c8
23.¦e7 ¤e4 (23...£xd6 24.¥g3) 24.¦xd7
¤xg5 25.¦c7† ¢b8 26.cxd3 and White
wins.

ô ´ Ã×´
´º´=´ ´À
À´ À´À´
´ NÀ´ ´
´ ´=´
´~´ ´
N ~
´ ´ ÷÷÷

21.¥xg6! hxg6
Or 21...¤xf1 22.¤xe6! ¤xe6 23.¥f5†
with a decisive attack.
22.¤f3!
Blending the sacrifcial 21.¥xg6 with the
quiet 22.¤f3 is amazing. Te knight retreat
enables the f2-bishop to target the c5-knight,
which has a vital role in defending e6.
22...¤xf1
22...¤xf3† 23.gxf3 ¦ac8 24.¥xc5 ¦xc5
25.¦xe6 leaves Black helpless.
23.¥xc5 ¥c8 24.¤e5 £g7 25.d7 ¥xd7
26.¤xd7 £xd7 27.¥d4 ¦f7 28.£xg6†
¦g7 29.¥xg7 £xg7
1–0
Deep Fritz 10 – Kramnik
Man vs. Machine, Bonn 2006 (6)
1.e4 c5 2.¤f3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.¤xd4 ¤f6
5.¤c3 a6 6.¥c4 e6 7.0–0 ¥e7 8.¥b3 £c7
9.¦e1 ¤c6 10.¦e3!? 0–0 11.¦g3 ¢h8
12.¤xc6 bxc6 13.£e2 a5 14.¥g5 ¥a6
15.£f3 ¦ab8 16.¦e1 c5 17.¥f4 £b7
18.¥c1 ¤g8 19.¤b1
Me and Mrs. Fritz
216 Chess Tips for the Improving Player

à ´ Ã9×
´=´ ºÀÀÀ
º´ ÀÀ´ ´
À À ´ ´
´ ´´ ´
´~´ ´=÷
´
´~ ÷ ÷

¦f1-e1-e3-g3; ¥c1-g5-f4-c1; ¤b1-c3-b1.
What is this? A decade ago this would
have been taken as an indication of the
computer’s stupidity. But nowadays people
treat the software with respect and try to
fathom the sense in its choices.
19...¥f6 20.c3 g6 21.¤a3 £c6 22.¦h3
¥g7 23.£g3 a4 24.¥c2 ¦b6 25.e5 dxe5
26.¦xe5 ¤f6 27.£h4 £b7 28.¦e1 h5
29.¦f3 ¤h7 30.£xa4 £c6 31.£xc6 ¦xc6
32.¥a4 ¦b6 33.b3 ¢g8 34.c4 ¦d8 35.¤b5
¥b7 36.¦fe3 ¥h6 37.¦e5 ¥xc1 38.¦xc1
¦c6 39.¤c3 ¦c7 40.¥b5 ¤f8 41.¤a4
¦dc8 42.¦d1 ¢g7 43.¦d6 f6 44.¦e2 e5
45.¦ed2 g5 46.¤b6 ¦b8 47.a4
1–0
You can’t argue with success. Probably the
machines should be another role model for
us to learn from.

qualitychessbooks. No part of this publication may be reproduced. stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means. photocopying. Milngavie.First edition 2008 by Quality Chess UK LLP Copyright © 2008 Amatzia Avni All rights reserved.com Edited by John Shaw Typeset: Colin McNab Proofreading: Jacob Aagaard Cover Design: Oscar de la Riva and Josep A. United Kingdom e-mail: info@qualitychessbooks. electronic. 20 Balvie Road. electrostatic. Glasgow G62 7TA. Rivero Printed in Estonia by Tallinna Raamatutrükikoja LLC .com website: www. ISBN 978-1906552008 All sales or enquiries should be directed to Quality Chess UK LLP. California www. magnetic tape. without prior permission of the publisher. Gardena.scbdistributors. recording or otherwise.com Distributed in US and Canada by SCB Distributors.

CONTENTS Symbols Introduction Acknowledgements 1 The Board 2 Pieces: Value. Placement. Exchanges 3 General Approach 4 Rules of Thumb 5 In Search of Ideas 6 Phases of the Game 7 Strategy 8 Tactics 9 Attack and Defence 10 Planning 11 Decisions 12 Learning Training Exercises Solutions to Exercises Index of Players and Composers 4 5 5 7 21 37 61 77 95 109 127 143 161 183 205 220 225 230 .

¤g5 e4 17.fxg4 hxg4 18.¦h3 d5 12.e4 c5 2. For example.¤d6† ¥xd6 7.¤xd4 e5 5.¤xe4 fxe4 19.46 Chess Tips for the Improving Player Don’t be a Control Freak Most of us aspire to control our lives.. Or when a sharp turn of events has transformed a tranquil manoeuvring battle into a sharp tactical mêlée.¥d3 f5                 v  bp  pp p      16. Geller – Bronstein Kislovodsk 1968 1. 20.. What should one do in such moments.¤c3 ¤ge7 10. when you are involved in a mutual pawn race.£xd6 £f6 8.£d1 £g6 9.f3 dxe4 14. would you? . to foresee coming events.¦xe4 £g3† 21.¦g3 ¥g4 13.h4 White must play sharply to gain an advantage in this variation.¤f3 ¤c6 3. in real life and in chess too.h5 11.¤b5 a6 6.¦xg4 £d6 19. it may not be possible to calculate in advance who will be first to promote. to know what is happening.¢c3  tv            p   N    pp p  br                     r   b   pp p      Given a choice. But sometimes things happen which are beyond our control.¤xe4 ¦d8 15.. 10. not resisting it. when the opponent’s very next move is a mystery to us? When we have no idea if we are winning or losing? I will advocate GM Maurice Ashley’s sage advice: ‘Embrace chaos’ he says. meaning that sometimes one has to accept chaos as an integral part of reality. you wouldn’t jeopardize your monarch’s well-being willingly. to minimize uncertainty.d4 cxd4 4.¦xh4!? is a viable alternative for Black.¢d2 0–0 22.. where wellgrounded positional principles are of no use.

.£b4 ¤c4† 31.¥xc4 a5 32.£g4 £c7 26.£e7 £b6 29.¦f1 ¦b8 34.¦fxf6! ¦xb5 35.¢a3 b5 25.¦xf8† ¢h7 36.¥d2 ¤f6 27.General Approach ‘Players try to avoid chaotic situations like the plague… (but) the endless possibilities… often produce situations where even the best chess players face confusion and panic. the more slippery and frustratingly defiant the position becomes… Not everything can be anticipated precisely.¢b3 ¤a5† 24.£xb5 £xd2 33.¦e6 £d4 30. (Paradoxically) the more the mind tries to impose logic and order.¦e7† 1–0 47 .¤d5† 23.¥d3† g6 37.£e6† ¢h8 28. nor does it need to be.’ – GM Ashley 22..

e4 c5 2. which are basically variations on a similar theme: Two salesmen went to Africa. and faxed ‘Everyone here walks barefoot. is left to our choice and is therefore totally subjective. one player may view it as an arduous task.’ His friend was thrilled. not obstacles. Defending an inferior position. however. Every new twist that his adversaries uncovered only gave him a renewed drive to counter it with one of his own. The GM experienced disappointment but he was never so disheartened as to abandon his pet system. Selecting how to interpret the facts rests entirely in our minds. while his colleague would look at such a situation as challenging and rewarding.¥g5 e6 7.d4 cxd4 4. against the two of us. In a candid description of his analytical work on this system. When encountering new surprises he told himself ‘Something will also turn up against this move.¤f3 d6 3. we should.fxe5 £c7 Polugaevsky variation in the Sicilian defence.  tv              N    N    pp p  br  This is the start of the famous (infamous?) .e5 dxe5 9.’ ‘Dear God’ – his mate answered – ‘It will take us all day to bury them!’ This anecdote tells us a lot about the different interpretations people ascribe to the same reality. there is a huge market for shoes!’ ‘But shouldn’t we be objective in our assessments?’ the reader might ask. The first sent a disappointing e-mail: ‘No market for shoes here.¤c3 a6 6. one of the sharpest and boldest of all opening variations. everyone walks barefoot. Evaluation of our position should be done in an objective manner.’ Time and again he did indeed find an antidote. GM Polugaevsky recalled many occasions when it appeared that his brainchild had run into difficulties. extending over more than two decades. Interpretation of this evaluation. Yes. ‘I definitely knew that I would play The Variation until I encountered a complete refutation of it.f4 b5!? 8. ‘We’re outnumbered’ – said one soldier – ‘There must be over forty of them. 1. The same lesson shines through in many stories. I would seek a refutation of the refutation…’ Polugaevsky chose to interpret his opponents’ fresh ideas in his beloved variation as stimulants to creativity.¤xd4 ¤f6 5. and then… I would again get down to analysis.54 Chess Tips for the Improving Player Choose a Positive Interpretation A Finnish story goes like this: In 1939 two Finnish foot soldiers were pinned down in a battle during the war between Finland and Russia. a thankless torment with few prospects of success. to check the potential of exporting shoes to the continent.

He should have taken defensive measures like 29.. accurate moves Black neutralizes White’s initiative. while in truth they are in another phase. in which one converts previous gains into a concrete final result.¥d6 ¥c2 22. in the diagram position his compensation is negligible. White gave up a pawn at an early stage for quick development. Votava – Miladinovic World Youth. It is easy to categorize the position as an endgame. In reality. In the middlegame. For instance.¤xe5 £xe5 19. 17. when the armies clash.£xe4 ¥xe4 21. The endgame. Singapore 1990 Employing the Smith-Morra Gambit in the Sicilian Defence. the game had reached the final phase.¤e5 18.¢c5 ¦ga8 31. So.¥xe7 £xe4 20..g4! ¥d5 29. Sometimes players assume that they inhabit a certain phase of the game. In the opening the emphasis is on swift development and king safety. ¦c7 a5 24. However. 31. opposite-coloured bishops tussle... is regarded as more technical in nature.96 Chess Tips for the Improving Player In Which Phase Are You? Each phase of a game has its own characteristics. Or they might believe that since queens have been exchanged.¦8a7.. missing that they are already in a middlegame where they should form a more specific plan. an important task of a player is to identify which stage of the game he is in. strategic and tactical considerations predominate..f4 g6 25.¢e3 ¦a6 27. 23. with Black holding a two-pawn advantage. and with some incisive. later on.¥e5 ¢e7 28.¢d4 ¥c6 30. we are still in the middlegame. imagining that the battle will assume a technical nature with White endeavouring to stop the black queenside pawns’ race to promotion. .¦d1 a4 Black is indifferent to White’s growing initiative.¦c1 ¥xb3  t                  v       p   r    t   v           p     p  rr   Black to play The situation has simplified into a double-rook.¢f2 ¦g8 26. they continue to develop their pieces unpretentiously and flexibly. while actually the middlegame is still in progress.¦c6 and.

£c1† 42. Black stumbles and loses.¢g2? ¦xh2†!..¦e8! still gave winning chances. and the endgame leads to yet another middlegame! This peculiarity usually occurs in positions after pawns are promoted.¦f8† ¢e4 41. Bastian – Zeller German Championship 1996   r t  L   tvp             r             t    v     p       b              Black to play In this double-edged position..¦c4! 34..              r p L       bk             ..¦h7† drawing.¦h3!? h5! 34..¤xc4 d4 40.¢f1 ¥xe1! or 36.. 37..¦e3† White wins easily. In exceptional circumstances the sequence can be reversed.¤e5† ¢f6 39...¤c5 ¥xd4!? 35..¤xd7 ¥xf2† 36.¦c3 £d2 43.d6†?? Disdaining 36.b4!! would have won! 36. Black initiates some hair-raising complications: 33.¢xf2 If 36.¦xc8 (36..¥xd6† ¢f6 38.¦xe6†! ¢g5 36.. and 34. 36..gxh5 a2? 35.¦h7†) 37.¥e5† ¢f5 40. But 35...¦h7† leads to perpetual check. as every child knows.a1=£ 36...¦xg8 a1=£ 39.¦d3 a3 33.¢f3 £h8 38.a1=£?? 37.¥d4! 1-0 After 41.¦c8!! The endgame follows the middlegame.hxg6 ¦g8?! 35.¦xh2† 37.Phases of the Game 97  t     L  tv       p            r    32..

£e4! £fb3† 75.¢d1 £xg3 45.£fd3† 75.¦xd2 42. Although it is    r      b    kN             L          Is it an endgame or a middlegame? The need for concrete calculation and the importance of the kings’ safety suggest that this position should be treated as a middlegame.¢c2 far from tranquil. 41... both sides promoted an advanced pawn… After 73 moves the diagram position was reached.¦xg6†! ¢xg6 42.¤b3 ¢e3 49..£c7† 46. with White to move:              r p L        b    kN         The position has stabilized. 74.£b4 £dc4† 76.¤xd2 £h1† 43.£d2†?! 41.¢c6! draws (GM Lutz).¦c6 £a7 47.¢b2 ¢f4 48..¦e4? 74.¢a7 £5xc5† 78.¢b7 £3d5† 77. 74. One should calculate forcing variations and not act upon general considerations.¢b6 £d6† 76. we do expect a technical stage to appear… 45.98 Chess Tips for the Improving Player 41.¢a8 £d8† 0–1 .¢e2 £g2† 44. White missed a chance.b6 …but instead the game proceeded wildly...£a7 is better.

¥d4!     L  v       b              pp kr          v L      b              pp kr    White to play Another white officer plants itself on this central square.¦d8† mating. gaining some material in return for his positional inferiority.£xc4? 28..¥xh2 21.¦xb7 leaves Black with gloomy prospects...¦d6 £c7 27.. an unpredictable player on the field… from my own experience I can vouch for it seeming that way.    L  v        b             p p k     .Attack and Defence 153 The Momentum Myth ‘People speak about momentum as if it were an entity of its own.£c4! £b8 27. 24. 25.¤d4! The move 21.¦xd8† £xd8 23. this tendency has no solid foundation.¤f5† ¢f8 22.’ – IM Josh Waitzkin We talk about the ‘trend’ and ‘flow’ as if they were concrete phenomena.¥xf6 gxf6 26.¥xb6! White’s attack gains strength with each move.e5 25. He now decides to capture a pawn..¦b6! £c8 20.¦d7 £e5 27. We have a psychological inclination to go along with the momentum: continuing along the same path we had trodden before. 28. 24..£xb6 26. but in fact they exist only in our minds..¤f5†! is hanging over Black’s head.exf5 25.. Timman – Leko Groningen 1996 20. Examined objectively. The fact that the game was heading in a certain direction doesn’t guarantee that it will follow the same direction in its later stages. His next move is the only viable alternative...¦d1 £c7 24.

. after which the advantage switches sides. 29..¥c6! would be decisive.¤e4!! 31.£c8† ¢e7 32... Instead. 29.£e7? …And Black.154 Chess Tips for the Improving Player 29.¥d7 clinches matters. 32.¤xe4 (31.¤xe7 ¢xe7 34..¤f5 h5 Despair.¦xb7? Here we witness the trouble with ‘momentum’.... 31. 30.. but Black had a great saving shot at his disposal: 30.£xf5 30.£xb7 30.¦xb7 both lead to a swift victory..¥xc6 30.£c5† or 29..£e6 32.£d7† Black resigned 1-0 . White’s state of mind is geared to the notion that he ought to continue in sacrificial vein...¤xb7? ¤d2†) 31.g6... 33.£d5 loses to 31. also goes with ‘the momentum’: the previous trend in which his attacked pieces beat a retreat. for his part..¤d6     L       N   b              p p k     30. True.¤f5#.£c8† ¤e8 32. as 29.

¦xd7 ¤xg5 25.¥d4 ¦f7 28.. Then he shared his secret with me: ‘It’s Mrs.Learning 215 Me and Mrs. Anyway. ‘Who is she?’ He blushed.¦ae1 ¤c5 13.¦xe6 leaves Black helpless.. Can we learn from the machines? Instead of sneering at their bugs and constantly claiming that they don’t really understand chess.¤f3 d6 3.¤xf1 22.¦e7 ¤e4 (23... 19.¤b1  t   v          N   b    p p   r   21.a3 £c7 11.£f3 ¦ab8 16..bxc5.¤c3 a6 6..£g5† ¢c8 23. assist us in analyzing our games and spare us effort in detecting our errors.¤cxb5! £d7 18.¤xf1 22.£xd6 24.¤f3 is amazing.¥f2 d5 14. Or 21.¦xe6† ¢d8 22. 22.gxf3 ¦ac8 24.¦e1 c5 17.¤xe6! ¤xe6 23.¤xf3† 23.d4 cxd4 4..0–0 ¥e7 8.¤xd4 ¤f6 5.¥xc5 ¦xc5 25. can we emulate some of their virtues? Rybka – Diep 15th World Computer Chess Championship 2007 1....d4 cxd4 4.£e2 a5 14. Maybe if the programmers stop supplying the machines with opening books.¦g3 ¢h8 12.cxd3 and White wins.£xg6† ¦g7 29.fxe6 fxe6 18.e4 c5 2.f5! ¤d2 16.¥g5 ¥a6 15. we will find out some day that these moves are not always the best.¥xg6 with the quiet 22. 22.¤xd3 21.¥c1 ¤g8 19.¥f5† with a decisive attack.¥xb5† ¢d8 20.¤c3 b5 6.¤xd4 a6 5.¥xg6! hxg6 . which has a vital role in defending e6. so far. Fritz and Co. The knight retreat enables the f2-bishop to target the c5-knight.¥d3 d6 7.¥c4 e6 7.exd6 0–0 20.0–0 ¤f6 8.axb5 loses to 19.. Fritz.’ he confessed.¦e1 ¤c6 10.¥b3 £c7 9.¤f3 e6 3.’ I said. Machine.¤d6† ¥xd6 20.£g4 g6 17.b4 ¤xf1 21. from now on Rybka pulls off a string of stunning moves.¦c7† ¢b8 26. On the other hand.¥xg7 £xg7 1–0 Deep Fritz 10 – Kramnik Man vs.¥e3 ¥b7 9.d7 ¥xd7 26.£f3 ¥e7 12.’ (from Diaries of a young chess player – yet to be written) The relationship between chess players and their software is a complex one. 15.¤e5 £g7 25.¦e3!? 0–0 11.¤xd7 £xd7 27..e5 ¤fe4 Pretty routine. 23.¥xc5 ¥c8 24.¥g3) 24. Bonn 2006 (6) 1.e4 c5 2.f4 ¤bd7 10.¤xc6 bxc6 13. who likes a smart aleck? The Fritz family pretends to be superior to us and we resent them for that.¥f4 £b7 18. Fritz ‘I’m in love.¤f3! Blending the sacrificial 21. ‘I’m very happy to hear that.

¦fe3 ¥h6 37.c3 g6 21.¦d6 f6 44. ¤b1-c3-b1.¦xc1 ¦c6 39.¦e2 e5 45.c4 ¦d8 35.¦d1 ¢g7 43. Probably the machines should be another role model for us to learn from.¦f3 ¤h7 30.£xa4 £c6 31.¤c3 ¦c7 40.¦e1 h5 29.¥b5 ¤f8 41.e5 dxe5 26.¤a4 ¦dc8 42.¤b6 ¦b8 47..a4 1–0 You can’t argue with success. 19..b3 ¢g8 34.¦xe5 ¤f6 27.¥f6 20. But nowadays people treat the software with respect and try to fathom the sense in its choices.¦e5 ¥xc1 38.¤b5 ¥b7 36.¥c2 ¦b6 25.¤a3 £c6 22. ¥c1-g5-f4-c1.¦h3 ¥g7 23.216 Chess Tips for the Improving Player     L   v          p  b   pp p      ¦f1-e1-e3-g3.£h4 £b7 28.£xc6 ¦xc6 32. .¦ed2 g5 46. What is this? A decade ago this would have been taken as an indication of the computer’s stupidity.¥a4 ¦b6 33.£g3 a4 24.