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I'm 41 years old, and I'm a Portuguese lawyer. I became acquainted with
the game of chess when I was a child, but I learned how to play it when I
was already a law student. By then, my father offered me a copy of the
(not very good) French translation of Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch's The
Game of Chess. Before that, I read many, too many books and articles
on the subject, without any pleasure or profit. After the careful study I did
of this specific book, I ventured to play my first official tournament: it was
a good enough one, and I did so well I got immediately over 1600
(portuguese) ELO! In spite of that, I never took Chess very seriously: while
I was a student I seldom played official games, and after my graduation I
virtually had to stop. Since my personal and professional life stabilized in
the meantime, I decided to try it again a couple of years ago. For that
purpose, I studied once more The Game of Chess, never dreaming of
what was really going to happen. The weekend before last, I played my
very first international Open: five sessions with forty players, of which
twenty-six with (high) ELO FIDE, two with FM titles and three with IM
titles. Having just 1913 (national) ELO and looking at so strong a
competition, I estimated the best I'd get would be something around 1,5
points. Surprise! I've finished 8th (3rd ex aequo), with 3,5 points
(+3=21) (1,5 points against three international ranked players, of which
one with IM and another with FM titles) and a performance of 2293 (!) (the
second best in the tournament) which earned me the right to get my first
ever ELO FIDE. The next player like me finished only 22nd, with 2 points. I
left behind one player with a FM title and twenty players with ELO FIDE. I
was flabbergasted: how could a simple amateur obtain such a good
result?! The answer was: Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch's The Game of
Many critics consider this the finest all-round manual on the game: I think
they're right. It had an outstanding success when it was first published in

Germany in 1931 and in Great-Britain in 1934. Such a success was largely

due to the apparently unorthodox but extremely effective teaching method
the author used, one analogous to that a mother uses to teach her child
to talk: the intuitive method of instruction. After dealing with the
elements, the author proceeds not to the opening but to the end-game,
since obviously it is easier for the beginner to deal with a few men than
with the entire thirty-two. Dr. Tarrasch doesn't waste any time with all
those end-games which do not occur in actual play: he goes right through
explaining the fundamental positions of this part of the game, doing it so
simply and clearly that one finds himself quite able to understand some
longer end-games (four in number) with which he concludes this part of his
book. After the end-game comes the part dealing with the middle-game,
the most important part of the game. He not only traces back to fixed
and constantly recurring types the manifold combinations of chess, but
also gives the standard positional concepts of the game: through the
study of the typical combinations and attacks, one makes himself
familiarized more than enough with the raw material for the conduct of
the middle game, as regards both tactics and strategy. Finally, Dr.
Tarrasch comes to the opening, the most difficult part of the game. After
presenting a general theory of the opening, he deals with the important
lines of practically all the openings, though not pretending to be
exhaustive. (More than seventy years after the first edition of this book,
the section on the various openings is somewhat dated, particularly on the
Indian Defenses; but, to my mind, not as dramatically dated as critics say).
A few games (seven in the German edition, twelve in the English edition),
very fully annotated, form the concluding part of the manual.
Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch's The Game of Chess is A Systematic Text-book
for Beginners and More Experienced Players. To me, it's more than that:
it's the true Chess Bible. Besides, it's the culminating point of the
literary production of the greatest chess teacher of all times: the
Praeceptor Germaniae seu Mundi, as he is known even today.
Naturally, for further progress the study of master games is most
important - but only those games which are accompanied by the most
complete and apposite notes. In my case, I decided to study Fred

Reinfeld's Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess: there were no other

Dr. Tarrasch's books translated to English when I finished reading his
manual. Again I made great progresses: in fact, I learned more and more
about the game with the same teacher, since Reinfeld in many cases
merely follows Dr. Tarrasch's own analyses and comments. Now, at long
last, Three Hundred Chess Games, Montecarlo 1903 and St.
Petersburg 1914 are available in English (not yet Die moderne
Schachpartie, which is a pity): once read both The Game of Chess
and Tarrasch's Best Games of Chess, these are the next books to
study, preferably by this order. After this (and, if I may say so, only after
this), one may go on to other authors - above all Alekhine. But don't you
forget to start with the Chess Bible: Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch's The Game of
-----Patrick said...
I went from 1250 to 1800 in 6 months. Actually I'm "unrated" but I used to
lose to 1400's and a few days ago I drew a Life Master (2200) who
estimated me at 1800 or so. I say this not to brag, but so that you'll listen
to me. I have some specific advice for you. Play the same opening(s) every
time. As white, play Giuoco Piano (aka "Italian Game") with d4, not d3. Against
the Sicilian play the Rossolimo and Moscow variations (3.Bb5). Play these
EVERY GAME! As black, find something you enjoy-- it needs to have active
piece-play and tactics. Against the Queen's Gambit I recommend the QG
Accepted or the Albin Countergambit. Against 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 now you play
Bf5 and head for the Slav, with pawns on c6 and e6, Nf6, Bd6, Nbd7, Qc7,
00 (in a logical order) with a good game. Against e4 I recommend the
French Winawer or simply the Spanish/Italian game. Download and print
analysis for your openings here: punch
everything and put it in a 3 ring binder. (Save your money-- don't buy
books yet.)You need some element of strategy training, regardless of what
your messiah delaMaza says. A great book for this is "Weapons of Chess"

by Pandolfini. I just bought it used for $3 and it's superb-- can be read
without a board too! Good luck and all the best to you! :)-Patrick

A.S. Suetin wrote a book titled "Three Steps to Chess

Mastery", Pergamon Press, 1982. Here are some excerpts (in some cases,
not verbatim) from the section titled "The Player's Laboratory". This book
contains some of the best self-training advice you'll find outside
a Dvoretsky/Yusupov book.
Working on One's Own Games
For a player wishing to improve, the cold analysis of mistakes is not
enough. The problem is simultaneously to establish the psychological cause
of these mistakes. Not sparing your pride, you should frankly re-establish
the course of your thinking, endeavouring to give answers to
approximately the following questions:
What specific variations did you calculate, when considering
your moves, especially at the turning points of the game? It is very
important to note what you missed in your calculations, and what
your opponent showed you in your joint analysis after the game.
What considerations were you guided by in choosing your plan?
When evaluating your positional mistakes, endeavour to
understand their cause. Were they a result of an insufficiently deep
understanding of the position, or of tactical oversights? After all,
oversights can often lead to positionally unfavourable situations.

A commentary on a game, irrespective of its character, should definitely:

show the turning points of the game

disclose the course of the thinking of the two players, and, in

particular, show specific calculations

trace the strategic outline of the game

convey the feelings of the players;

Here are a few simple but essential rules: Do not be one-sided in your
analysis, by examining only 'your' variations. Endeavour to look into the
ideas of your opponent. Each time that you point out a mistake, indicate
the correct continuation. Do not forget the analysis is not a practical game.
It requires more specific proof than intuitive decisions.
The Study of Master Games
A harmony between evaluation and calculation in your play can be
achieved only if you constantly practise analysis. Therefore it is essential to
analyse master games, to be able to understand correctly their ideas in
their annotations, and also to evaluate the quality of the annotation. There
are two main trends in the "Method of Annotation":
Give preference to evaluations of a general nature. Specific
variations merely illustrate and confirm the general ideas. A good
example of this style of annotation is Bronstein's Zurich 1953
Tournament Book.
Out of variations, you deduce an evaluation of the position, i.e.
proceed from the particular to the general. Rarely do you give
broad generalizations, but give obvious preference to the detailing of
analysis, and the study of latent combinational resources. A good
example of this style is Chigorin.
Thus there are two methods of annotation, and both are perfectly lawful.
Each reflects chess reality: deductive (from the general to the particular) the strategic content of a game, and inductive (from the particular to the
general) - the tactical content.
The modern way of annotating a game is as though to synthesize both
methods, harmoniously combining specific analysis with generalizing
evaluations. Alexander Alekhine was a potent example of this synthesized
approach to annotation.
The ability to make a critical evaluation of a commentary being studied, the
ability to think independently, are essential qualities for an analyst.

Work with Literature

A disdain for the reading of methodological works and especially the study
of information is fraught with unpleasant consequences. The 'natural
player' will never attain any great heights. On the other hand, the reading
of chess books is by no means a simple matter. It should not be forgotten
that chess material, in what ever form it is taken, always demands active
perception. But this presupposes in particular a business-like, critical study
of literature, which is not at all easy to attain. It should be mentioned that
an over scrupulous tracing throughout 'from cover to cover' of even the
most authoritative books can lead to a loss of lively individual thinking, to a
loss of 'taste' for chess. How can some proportion be achieved here? I
think that this depends on setting yourself a correct goal of improvement.
And this is closely linked with the development of your analytical ability.
The Importance of Active Independent Perception in the Study of
Source Material
Nimzovitch wrote in his book "How I Became A Grandmaster: I took the
book of the 1906 Nuremberg tournament with notes by Tarrasch, and gave
it to a bookbinder, and asked him to sew into the book blank pages
between each two pages of text. Then I began working through the
games...Any results found were immediately noted down on the
intermediate pages. I always 'played' for one of the two sides-either for White, or Black. I first endeavored to find the best
move, and then looked at the move made in the game. In this way
each 'game' lasted at least six hours. I consolidated my learning
roughly as follows. In one of Salwe's games, a typical isolated queen's
pawn position was reached: white knight at f3 and pawn at
d4, black knight at d7 and pawn at e6 (in addition, each side had a mass of
pieces). It turned out that White had no reason at all to hurry over the
occupation of e5 with his knight, since within a few moves the black knight
itself set off to attempt to reach d5, and thus, without any effort on the
part of White, the square nevertheless fell into his hands. Such a state of
affairs was immediately recorded by me on the blank pages, and, what's
more, the point of it was not the purely chess content of the manoeuvre,
but, so to speak, its psychological peculiarities. Frequently squares are
vacated automatically. The result of my efforts was as follows:

I had a prepared opening repertoire
I became proficient at playing in a slow, waiting style, and I
found it quite incomprehensible that formerly I could have sacrificed
without an exact calculation...
An important achievement was also the fact that, thanks to
careful study of certain games, I began to understand the strategy of
closed positions, and, in particular, grasped the principles of the
pawn chain, and also partly of centralization."
Whatever chess book we study, we should always be able to separate the
important from the second-rate, and disclose the essence of the problems
raised, etc. And in studying chess, the art of critical analysis is always
especially important.
The Test of Mastery
A player must first master various principles, schemes, and characteristic
tactical and strategic devices. At the same time the development of one's
thinking is preceded by the acquisition ofcombinative vision. This is also a
complicated process: At first a player notices only simple threats, then he
begins to see all sorts of double attacks, and, finally, that harmonic
interaction which leads to combinations. Only after going through such a
schooling does a player obtain the necessary basis, which allows him to
use flexibly his knowledge and skill. The analysis of complex positions,
where strategic and tactical factors are closely interlaced, is first and
foremost very hard work.For the unprepared it may even be beyond their
strength. Therefore, don't try to take too many steps at once. Get to know
your true capabilities, each time, of course, setting yourself new problems.
Along this path there is much disillusionment, causing annoyance and
dissatisfaction. Without these bitter feelings you cannot get by. But
remember that if you are dissatisfied, it means you are searching. This is
one of the fascinations of the art of chess.

"Chess ennobles man, since it is full of disappointments" - Tartakower

The Analysis of Adjourned Games

The best teacher in mastering the art of analysis is practice: learning

comes both during play, and in the subsequent study of a completed
game. For the development of analytical skill, very much can be given, for
example, by work on adjourned positions (this is currently outdated, but
one can take a game and at move 39 or 40 'adjourn' the position and
analyze from there for this exercise). The analysis of adjourned positions
should be regarded not only from the practical point of view. Each well
analyzed position increases the ability of a player. Experience has shown
that it is precisely in the endgame that the largest number of mistakes is
made by inexperienced players. Perhaps the small number of pieces on the
board makes the study of the endgame a boring task for young players.
But we can readily see what interesting, tactical variations can arise in the
endgame positions.
Don't be Afraid to Take Risks
The most promising players are those who, from their very first steps,
display analytical inquisitiveness. While their first attempts may not always
be successful, what is important here is the initiative!
Where the Necessary is Combined with the Useful
For a young player, wishing to raise his standard of play, it is important,
even essential, to make analysis an integral part of his home training. The
starting position for this can (and should!) be most varied (after all, in
practice one has to deal with all kinds of situations). But nevertheless, the
emphasis should be on complicated middlegame set-ups, full of tactical
content. For the most part, such a criterion is well satisfied by positions
arising at the transition from opening to middlegame in present-day
openings.It is no accident that it is on such problem set-ups that the
strongest players sharpen their analytical mastery. In this way a dual aim is
achieved: the development of analytical skill, and a penetration into the
jungle of a particular opening system, which one can add to one's
'armoury'. What generally happens is that, the deeper you go into the
jungle of such positions, not only does the evaluation not become clearer,
but often the player is faced with an even more confused picture. But this
should not dismay the analyst. A knowledge of highly complicated,
practically inexhaustiblepositions opens up enormous scope for the

development of the most varied aspects of chess thinking. The result is

that, along with the development of analytical potentialities, the player's
genuine understanding of chess grows, without being confined within some
formal framework. Also, the deeper your analysis of positions in the
transition from opening to middlegame, the greater advantage you gain
over your future opponents. And in opening preparation, virtually the most
important thing for the practical player is to be constantly ahead in your
'production secrets'. Thus, you should attempt to be a Sherlock Holmes of
chess. And remember that each time you can get down to the essence of
the problem by a combination of painstaking and inventive work, worthy of
a clever detective. It is not all positions, arising on the transition from
opening to middlegame, that are full of specific content. But always, after
the completion of mobilization, there arise a certain complex of strategic
and tactical problems (provided, of course, that in the opening neither side
has made some bad mistake, allowing the opponent quickly to gain a
serious advantage). Therefore, when studying variations, you should
attempt in particular to see the 'physical meaning'- the intrinsic strategic
and tactical ideas. In short, when studying an opening (i.e., in essence, a
specific middlegame [specialization training]) you should not so much aim
to remember the variations, but rather to study the most important critical
positions that arise here. Otherwise, for the trees you may not be able to
see the wood!
The Technique of Opening Preparation
When working on opening analysis, a player involuntarily encounters a very
important problem - the correct organization of this work. Whatever one
says, without the necessary order one cannot hope for success in chess. In
work on one's opening repertoire, this is reflected in the correct selection
of information for analysis. Indeed, without the necessary material on
which to make a judgement, it is difficult to imagine and subsequent
serious analysis. No less important is the habit of being systematic and
orderly in the complex of specific and general chess knowledge. In this
collecting of information it is important to have a sense of measure. It
must be borne in mind that, in practice, the selection of material for an
opening repertoire must be restricted to games which are the most
important in the theoretical sense (this is what grandmasters and master
do). Otherwise, there is the risk of 'drowning' in the abundance of material.

Therefore, initially it is probably expedient to obtain in full games which

interest you, with the most important specific comments on the opening
and middlegame. Of course, learning to choose the most important games,
i.e. the information which deserves complete trust, is not an easy matter.
Practical Advice
The mastery of general principles undoubtedly assists the conscious
perception of opening variations, and makes a player's thinking more
economical and effective. But even so, a genuine knowledge of opening
theory is impossible without the development of a special memory. This
memory should be exercised by regular and sensible training. From your
first steps you should beware of 'swotting up'multi tome encyclopedias. It
can only kill your lively interest in chess, and hence your ability as a player.
You can work correctly on the opening only while improving your overall
standard of play. You should study the opening together with the ideas
inherent in the subsequent middlegame. What should you be guided by in
your choice of opening? This is a problem every player has to face. You
should not aim to remember as many variations as possible, but equally it
is not good to overdo one and the same set-up. For tournament play you
should build up a definite opening repertoire, consisting of a limited
number of carefully worked out systems. Ways of working on opening
theory depend to a great extent on the character of the player. Whether it
should be a greater or lesser diversity of schemes, a deep analysis of a
narrow range of variations, or play in a variety of strategic systems--this is
a matter of taste. There are no general prescriptions. But to make it a rule
to learn from your own games and from others', and not to repeat
mistakes made earlier--this is an already patent prescription for everyone.
In order to avoid such unpleasantness, you should make it a habit to
investigate your opening mistakes, consistently accumulating and
supplementing valuable experience. And we should point out once again
that, in building up his opening repertoire, it is expedient for a young
player to adopt systems rich in sharp play.

The following is from the International Chess School - Andrei Istratescu

chess instructions for beginners
Chess Instructions how you can improve
This section is addressed to beginners in chess who want to improve
steadily and gain a 'decent' level of play. So, if you are a beginner, who
knows the rules of chess and the relative value of the pieces, these chess
instructions are for you.
The way up to the rank to the level of an intermediate player is not
hard. We are confident that you will enjoy following these instructions and
reading the materials we recommend here.
Instructions for chess openings
To play well in the opening is a must. How can you play a good
middlegame if the start leads you to a bad position? You have to choose
the systems you feel comfortable with and understand their principles. Our
advice for you is to get a material with clear explanations on all the
variations and give you the plans for the middlegame. A very good
opening material is:
Opening Preparation from International Chess Master School
Instructions for the middlegame
To play well in the middlegame, you have to learn the basics of chess
strategy and tactics. The following chess books will help you much. You
do not need more, just read them very carefully.
Logical Chess - Move by Move by Chernev
Game of Chess by Tarrasch
Winning Chess Tactics by Seirawan
Combinational Motifs by Blokh

Chess Master School - very good because of its annotations, explaining

you step-by-step all the ideas, how to think and how to make plans.
Good especially for strategy!
Instructions for the endgame

Study the endgame! This is very important! All the other phases of the
game will become more understandable if you know how to play the
endgame! You have to practice with different positions, to thoroughly
understand every author's explanation, and to solve on your own some
problems. The recommended chess endgame book for you is:
Improve Your Endgame Play by Flear
Chess Instructions for the general understanding of the game
Use the real chess board and pieces and follow the games given in a
book. Try to think about the purpose of every move. Do not pay
particular attention to the complicated variations; just replay the
games. Studying the games of a grand master who plays more
strategically helps more for your level than sharp games. We recommend
the following books:
Understanding Chess Move by Move by Nunn
Three Hundred Chess Games by Tarrasch
other chess instructions and tips for you
If you find some good materials on the Internet, print them as you have
to move the pieces with your own hand on a normal board as much as
you can. The use of a computer for chess must be minimized.
Play games on free Internet servers, but do not play too much. Our
recommendation is to spend for this a maximum of 25% of your time
allotted for chess. After you improve your knowledge in chess by
studying, you will have more success. Do not play games with less than
10 minutes initial time.
Avoid playing chess with your friends who do not study chess and are
weaker than you. You will never learn anything from them. Play against
better opponents!

Play in official tournaments, but do not lose your confidence if you lose
many games. You are just in the beginning and you must earn playingexperience in official contests. After the tournament, analyze all your
games (you can help with your computer, but only after you try on your
own first). Write up a notebook of your games (or you can keep a
database in your computer).
You will find our 13-month course very useful. We explain the basics of
chess strategy in an understandable manner, with annotated games and
Chess Instructions
We hope that in a short time you will be reading carefully our chess
instructions for intermediates on how you become an advanced
player. However, for now, we recommend you to follow just these chess
instructions. Good luck!
-----------------------------------------------chess instructions for intermediates
chess instructions to attain advanced level
This page is for intermediates in chess who want to take their playing skills
to the next level. At this stage, almost chess enthusiasts
stop. Why? Some of them simply do not want more. However, most of
them do not have access to good chess instructions for the needed
improvement. We give you here a complete guide for your study in all
phases of the game, so that you can improve for sure and with greater
Instructions for chess openings
First, you have to feel comfortable with all the positions of the main
variations. For example, if you want to play Caro-Kann because you like
the Classical System, you have to like also the Advance Variation, the
Panov Attack and other White's choices. Therefore, to play the opening
well, you have to improve in many type of positions. This mainly means

that the opening preparation has to be done together with the learning of
strategy. In addition, it would be very good to review many masters'
games, since the more you study various games, the more you will
discover and learn new opening systems. If you will follow these
instructions you will realize that certain positions that you did not like
before will feel more and more comfortable to you and you will also know
better how to evaluate their consequential positions.
You have to concentrate on understanding the plans of every principal
variation, not to memorize the moves . First of all, your opponent will not
play like Anand or other top players, so initially it is enough to know good
plans for your systems.
A good method for the opening study: try to find an explanation to the
move order for the opening's variations! Keep the chess board in front of
you and think why it is important to make a certain move before
another. With this method you will gain:
a better understanding of your plan and opponent's counter play
better calculation skills
move-by-move learning of the variations (develop opinion on which you
In addition, if you will need more games for the study of your variations,
you can search on by positions, ELOs and year played. If you
can afford it, one database with annotated games is a remarkably good
help. Finally, for our chess instructions on openings, we recommend you
to get a material with a lot of annotations:
the Complete Chess Opening Repertoire
a ChessBase database with annotated games
Instructions for chess strategy
First of all you have to (RE)learn chess strategy and to learn HOW TO
THINK. You have to develop your skills of evaluating and playing the
typical chess positions. You may want to write a summary of all the
important things you learn from your books. It is very useful to have a
notebook and to read from time to time your glossary. Here are the best
chess books at this level:

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur by Euwe

My System by Nimzowitsch
Understanding Pawn Play in Chess by Marovic
Chess Master School - especially good because of its structured method.

Other very good chess books:

Understanding Chess Move by Move by Nunn
Capablanca's Best Games by Golombek
Tal-Botvinnik 1960 by Tal
After you write all the important theoretic concepts from the materials
pointed out here, it is very instructive to analyze and annotate your own
archived games. When possible, categorize your moves according to the
general principles you have learned. Continue doing so for all the games
you will play in the next tournaments.
Instructions for chess tactics
If you study chess books on chess strategy you will drastically improve
your understanding of chess. However, you know for sure that a good
game can be finished in just a few moves if you or your opponent does not
pay attention to the tactical opportunities. Moreover, a good strategic
early phase of a game often wins in the end with a tactical blow. Also, you
have to calculate and play with full respect to your opponent's possible
counter play.
When you study tactics, try to calculate on your own ALL the variations of
the key-positions and after that compare it to the solutions given by the
The following books are the most suitable for your level:
Art of Attack in Chess by Vukovic
Chess Tactics for Advanced Players by Averbakh
Dvoretsky's and Nunn's books on tactics
Instructions for the endgame

Knowledge of the endgame helps more than you think at first. For
example when you have a good position in the middlegame but there is no
possibility of a mate attack or winning a decisive material you make normal
moves that take the game close to the endgame. These types of positions
are very frequent and you will have to find a line that leads to a winnable
endgame. You can calculate exactly the variation and then visualize the
resulting position, but is it a good endgame or a bad one? That is often
impossible to calculate exactly and then your knowledge of the basic
endgame positions becomes very valuable. Here many players lose their
way, since the misinterpretation of the endgame often changes the result
of an otherwise good game.
Other benefits are less obvious: the endgame STUDY helps very much in
gaining more calculation strength. You need that at any stage of the
game! Other benefits include better understanding of strategy, since
during the endgame, strategic elements (like square's weaknesses) are
more obvious.
One very good and comprehensive book on the endgame is:
Endgame Manual (2nd edition) by Dvoretsky
other chess instructions for you
Play as often as you can in official tournaments. After every tournament,
analyze your games thoroughly.
Do not use your computer too much. It is in vain to analyze games with
Your chess learning must be based on STUDY. You must comprehend
every game or position. Do not forget: make a notebook!
...and it is time to solve hard positions and get prepared for the real
challenge. A great material we recommend to you is theChess Master
School where you have tons of positional exercises to solve.
Chess Instructions
We hope that in a short time you will be reading our chess instructions for
the advanced players. However, for now, we recommend to follow very
carefully the above chess instructions. Good luck!

--------------------------------------------------------------------chess instructions for advanced

chess instructions to become a master
Are you ranked as an advanced or an expert in chess ...and want to know
how to become a chess master? If so you have come to the right place
and we are happy to have you here with us. We offer you the best
instructions to become a chess master or even more. The work behind
these instructions took a long time and required us an extensive evaluation
of chess books and methods of chess study. We are proud of the result of
our work and we feel it will most certainly help you very much. Therefore,
seriously think of our chess instructions as the tool to wield TO BECOME a
Chess Instructions for the Openings
To become chess master, you have to master the openings. The opening
preparation will additionally include a part with a thorough preparation for
the middlegame. You will have to study the strategic and tactical
possibilities of every type of position that arises from the opening
variations you play. For Black, we recommend to choose 2 systems against
1.e4 and one or two systems against 1.d4 that also met 1.c4 and
1.Nf3. You must have one main system and then another just to "surprise"
or vary from time to time.
For White, the best way is to have one single and very strong system
against every of Black's possible defences. Why a single system? Because
Black has many possible responses and you will have no time to prepare
for more main opening lines. Moreover, after each tournament, you will
have to analyze your games, and the conclusions drawn from the opening
analysis should be put in practice at the next tournament.

Other instructions for the openings are to avoid choosing simple or rare
systems. At this stage of preparation, you must understand many types of
positions, so choose strong variations with many possibilities and plans at
Now, how do you prepare?
Do not even think to copy or memorize the exact variations from the
openings books.
The chess informants and the ECO codes are very good for organization
but they are not enough. First you will have to get and review many
games in the variations you selected. Good sources are or
Mega DataBase from ChessBase.
Our method of opening preparation:
Try first to review some games in the opening variations you want to
prepare without any annotations (!) and try to discover on your own the
plans for BOTH players. In addition, we must stress this advice - play
these games with normal board and pieces, not on your computer!
Only after you played the selected games without annotations and you
have a LIST of questions, study the games annotated - the whole game,
until the end! You will be surprised how easy and DEEP you will
understand that opening variation.
You have to repeat these steps for every variation of your openings. The
necessary time for every variation differs a lot, but a medium can be
considered at 10 hours/variation.
Select "model games" for every variation - games that you liked and are
representative for that variation. Study these games in deep.
This method helps you not only in learning openings, but also in positional
understanding and appreciating the tactical possibilities of the resulting
positions! This is very important. So, do not think that too much time is
devoted to the openings, because in the meantime you also learn strategy
and tactics which are related to what you actually play.
We recommend you to get a material with a lot of annotations and
Opening System as how a chess master should play:
the Complete Chess Opening Repertoire
Chess Instructions for the Strategy

Our chess instructions on openings are also excellent for the strategy of
your next games. We advised you to go through the games without
annotations and write down a list of questions. After that you have to
study in great depth the same game, annotated at this time. With this
method, you will improve your strategic approach of the positions you will
really play.
There are some very good strategy books for advanced-expert level and
we recommend you to study them. We made a list with only the top ones,
and still it would be extraordinary if you could read them all. In fact, we
do recommend to STUDY them. (Read at the bottom of this page what
the meaning of "study" is and follow those chess instructions!)
School of Chess Excellence 3 - Strategic by Dvoretsky
Positional Play by Dvoretsky
Attack and Defence by Dvoretsky
Chess Strategy in Action by Watson
Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess by Marovic
Exploiting Small Advantages by Gufeld
Winning Pawn Structures by Baburin
Chess Master School - the best product for advanced player that is
available online.
Chess Instructions for the Tactics
You have to calculate rapidly and precisely! This is necessary to be able to
win against masters!
Try to find a quite time during the day when nothing disturb you and you
are not tired. Sit down in front of your chess set and concentrate on the
tactics and complicate positions. Begin this training with some simple
exercises, then pass on to more complex tactical problems and finally
completely analyze a sharp game on your own. The sharp game that you
pick for analysis should have a complex middlegame or early endgame that
has many strategic and tactical possibilities that usually arises from open
games. This is very helpful in learning how to calculate correctly and
mature your tactical skills.

Begin the analysis of tactical positions, first searching for all the moves that
seem good. Then for every move you selected, repeat the previous step:
search for the best moves of your imaginary opponent. Doing so, you will
make a tree of the variations that are worthy of being notated. This
method will help you to think in an organized manner. What and how
many moves you choose for your "tree" is up to your initial
intuition. However, the more you practice with this method, the more your
intuition will mature.
The following books are highly recommended:
Chess Tactics for Advanced Players by Averbakh
School of Chess Excellence 2 - Tactical by Dvoretsky
Analysis Manual by Dvoretsky
Chess Instructions
Chess Instructions for the Endgames
At your level, we believe that you know the basics of endgame playing. If
you do not and you think that you must improve in this field, read the
chess instructions for the intermediates, too.
If you master the basic endgames and you STUDIED a specialized book,
our recommendation of the next one is:
School of Chess Excellence 1 - Endgame by Dvoretsky
This book is highly recommended not just for the endgames, but for the
tactical thinking too. You must think and annotate every variation on your
own and only then look at Dvoretsky's solution. This book and the method
will for sure help you very much.
other chess instructions
During this period dedicated to study, you have to play in some
tournaments, too. The improvement will come in time. However, your
games must be the subject for your study and self-evaluation, like
Alekhine said: I consider the following three factors necessary for

success: first, the conscience of one's own strengths and weaknesses;

second, an exact understanding of the opponent's strengths and

weaknesses; third, a higher goal than a one-moment satisfaction. Our

own games are closer to us than any others are, so study them seriously!
Do not lose your time in front of the computer. This is a trap that
hinders improvement of most players. Follow seriously our chess
instructions and prove your power in official over-the-board
tournaments. Therefore, we recommend you not to play online and not
to analyze with chess programs (too much). You can just print all what
you need from the Internet or Databases that you have. The software
analysis is necessary only for the international level players and
After you closely followed all these chess instructions, you can set your
target on the master rank. For doing the necessary norms, you have to
play better than a medium master, so concentrate and give it all.
PLAY A LOT (7 serious tournaments an year) - find and go to play in
International tournaments of 9-11 rounds with 1 round/day, take the
laptop with databases with you, prepare against the opponent you'll meet
next day and enjoy this wonderful competition atmosphere. It's really
How to STUDY - chess instructions: Analyze on your own all key-positions
for some minutes and write down your position's evaluation, the plan and
the move you would play, the opponent's counter play, and some
variations if necessary. Only then look at the author's annotations. This is
the key to your improvement and, sincerely, it is not quite easy. Find the
correct way in our13-month course for advanced.
If you follow exactly all these chess instructions, you have assured your
qualification for an international (FIDE) category, not just for a national
master. :)
Chess Instructions
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Making Decisions in Chess

How can I find the best move in a position? This is a question that every
chess player would like
to have answered. Playing the best move in all positions would make
someone invincible. Of
course such a thing is impossible and not even a computer is going to
achieve perfection in chess
anytime soon. So, is it a waste of time to look for the best move in every
position? My answer is
firmly NO. Certainly you will not find the best move every time, but looking
for the best move
involves a particular process that will help you better understand the
position. Understanding the
peculiarities of a position will always help you play acceptable moves
even if they wont
always be the best. The more often you are able to find and use the best
moves, the higher your
chess level will be.
This lesson will teach you an original, but effective method to improve your
chess thinking. On
first reading the process may seem complicated, but I promise that all that
you need to
understand this method is patience. You dont have to be a chess expert to
understand the
following algorithm for making decisions in chess, you just need to think
logically. Lets start!
1. Whats the objective of a chess move?
According to our method, every chess move has a quite simple goal. By

every move we try to

accumulate a certain advantage for ourselves or to reduce a
certain advantage already
accumulated by our opponent. The greater the advantage gained, the
better the move.
Is there anything illogical so far? I dont think so.
But what about the so-called waiting move? My answer is: forget about
it! You will make no
progress by waiting for the opponent to make a mistake. Such a playing
style could sometimes
help you, but most of the time it will negatively affect you.

A players attitude during the game is essential in chess.

Someone who always tries to create problems for his opponent can be a
successful player even if
his chess knowledge is limited. On the other hand, someone who waits for
an opponents
mistakes and makes waiting moves has no chance to substantially
improve his chess skills or
something is normally a certain advantage in your position.
2. What are the advantages in chess?
OK, we agree that it is worth trying to reach an advantage by every move,
but what are the
advantages in chess? The first chess player to classify the advantages in
chess was Wilhelm
Steinitz who claimed that there are nine advantages: lead in development,
mobility of the pieces,
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seizure of the center, the position of the enemy king, weak squares in the
opponents position,
superior pawn formation, a pawn majority on the queenside, open files,
and the advantage of the
two bishops. Nowadays opinions have shifted slightly and the pawn
majority on the queenside
and the two bishops are no longer considered general positional
The classification of the advantages in chess that I am proposing to you is
somewhat different,
but I think it fits better with modern thinking. Look around you and you will
see that the value of
any product depends on two things: quantity and quality. Why would
chess be any different?
There are two main categories of advantages in chess: quantitative
advantage and qualitative
advantage. Consciously or not, we always try to reach at least one of them.
All we expect from

you is to do it consciously and logically.

3. The quantitative advantages in chess
The quantitative advantages are the material advantage and the local
superiority of forces.
The importance of the material advantage is well-known and its not my
intention to describe to
you the importance of being a knight or a pawn up.
The superiority of the forces has a huge importance too. A chess game
usually consists of several
local battles. It is always convenient to fight in those local battles by having
a superiority of the
forces in that area. But if you wish to have a local superiority of the forces,
you must create it
because nobody will do it for you.
Creating a local superiority of the forces is directly correlated with
finding the best plan of
play. How? Very simple. When you look for a plan of play you must always
ask yourself

Where would it be better to challenge my opponent for a local battle?

The logical answer is

something like that: The battle must be on the queenside (or in the center

or on the kingside)
because I have (or I can create) there a superiority of forces.

One more example: Lets imagine that, while analyzing a position you
discover that your
opponents pieces are gathered on one side and can hardly be transferred
to the opposite side.
You immediately start thinking about challenging your opponent to a battle
on his weak side.
Whats the next step in your logical thinking process? Of course you will
start thinking about
how to bring more pieces there in order to create a local superiority of
So, do you understand how the quantitative advantage of the superiority of
forces and making the
plan of play are directly correlated? Im confident you do.
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4. The qualitative advantages in chess

For a spectator who doesnt know the rules of chess, any qualitative
advantage is imperceptible.
A qualitative advantage is the result of the dynamics of the pieces during
the chess game. To
correctly understand what qualitative advantage is, you must consider the
chess pieces as beings.
First I am going to mention the five qualitative advantages and then, we
will deal with each and
every one of them.
a. Kings safety
b. The qualitative value of the pieces
c. The qualitative value of the pawn structure
d. Space advantage
e. Seizure of initiative
4.a. Kings safety
There is nothing more important in chess than the kings safety. A moment
is enough to forget
about it and for the effect to be fatal.
When you decide the plan of play you must always be careful to have your
king well protected.
Moreover, you must try to endanger the position of the opponent king.
4.b. The qualitative value of the pieces
During their first steps of the learning chess, every chess player comes to
know that every piece
has a quantitative value: a knight = a bishop ~3 points, a rook ~ 4 -5
points, a queen ~ 9
Lets take a look at diagram 1.
Diagram 1
You dont have to be a chess expert to see there is a difference between
the pieces of the two
sides. For instance look at the two knights. While the white knight has a
dominant position in the
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center from where it can quickly arrive anywhere on the chessboard, the
black knight has a
passive position and can make only one move to a8. Therefore its clear
that we cannnot even
compare the two knights.
The same qualitative difference is visible when we compare the bishops
and the rooks. Whites
bishop and rook has a higher freedom of movement than those of their
black opponent. They
occupy open lines and put pressure over weak points in the opponents
In the position in diagram no 1 these qualitative advantages can be
immediately converted into
quantitative advantages by playing 1.Kf2 followed by 2.Rg1. A superiority
of forces is thus
created on the kingside and Blacks passive pieces cant intervene in time
to defend the g6-pawn.
As a rule, the qualitative value of a piece depends on 4 characteristics:
1. The mobility of the piece
2. The positioning of the piece
3. The role played by the piece
4. The stability of the piece
Lets see what each of the terms mentioned above means.
The mobility of a piece represents its capacity to move over a big number
of squares and to
move quickly (namely in few moves) anywhere on the chessboard.
Diagram 2
In the diagram 2 we can see how the mobility of a piece can be restrained
by both ones own and
an opponents pieces. For instance the mobility of Nh6 is restrained by the
white pawns which
control the squares g4 and f5 and the black pieces which occupy the
squares f7 and g8.
Comparing the two bishops we observe that the white bishop has mobility
superior to that of his
black opponent. The latter has only two move possibilities and it needs
many moves to get to the
central area of the board.

Also, Whites rook has a better mobility than Blacks rook.

White has more possibilities to transform his huge qualitative advantage
into a quantitative
advantage, for instance 1.Rd7 Rb8 2.Na5.
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Positioning of a piece is also a very important characteristic.
Usually a knight placed in the center of the board controls more squares
than a knight placed on
the edge of the board, while the linear pieces (the queen, the rooks and
the bishops) have a better
positioning when occupying an open line.
However a linear piece is also very strong in the center, as you can see in
diagram 3.
Diagram 3
Better positioning of a piece increases its qualitative value.
In diagram 3 the qualitative advantage is transformed into a quantitative
advantage by 1...Qe2.
After the exchange of the queens, Black wins by force the pawn at b3 due
to the awful position
of Nb2.
Its important to note that the linear pieces usually have their mobility
restrained by their own
pawns placed in their lines of action. This could be observed in all three
analyzed examples.
The role played by a piece has a great importance. On a scale sorted from
the worst to the best,
there are four main situations:
1. A piece out of play. This is the worst situation and it occurs when a
piece is far away
from a local battlefield and it is unable to quickly arrive there.
2. A piece that plays a defensive role, namely a piece whose main task
is to protect a
certain objective.
3. A piece that plays an offensive role, namely a piece that attacks an
objective in the
opponents field.

4. A piece that simultaneously plays an offensive role and one or

more defensive
roles. This is the best case, better than the third one. While defending an
objective, a
piece can have a supplementary role as it indirectly helps another piece by
freeing it from
its defensive task.
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Diagram 4
In diagram 4 we can notice a clear difference in Whites favor from the role
of the pieces
perspective. The battlefield is on the kingside and thus Ra2 and particularly
Ba8 are out of play.
Whites pieces play offensive roles and 1.Qh2 immediately decides the
We must note the double role played by Bd4 which helps the attack on the
kingside and
simultaneously protects the pawn on b2, thereby preventing a black
counterattack on the
Stability of a piece becomes an important factor when that piece occupies
an important square.
If the piece has no stability on the square where it is positioned, the
opponent can easily remove
it, thus decreasing its qualitative value. On the contrary, when a piece is
well placed and has
stability (that is, when the opponent cannot remove it from there in good
conditions), its
qualitative value increases.
Diagram 5
In diagram 5 the two knights have equivalent positioning in the center of
the board. Still, Whites
knight has a superior qualitative value because it has greater stability,
while Blacks knight can
be removed from its central position by 1.f4.

I hope you understand how important the qualitative value of the pieces is.
Consequently, during
a chess game, we must try to do two things:
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1. Improve the qualitative value of our pieces (by increasing their
mobility and placing them
on good squares where they are stable and play offensive roles).
2. Reduce the qualitative value of the opponents pieces (by
restricting their mobility, not
allowing them to occupy strong and stable positions, and forcing them to
play defensive roles or,
if possible, getting them out of play).
4.c. The qualitative value of the pawn structure
Like the other pieces, pawns have their qualitative value too. You must not
treat a pawn as an
individual entity; the pawns act together as a unit. When referring to the
qualitative value of the
pawns, we talk about the qualitative value of the pawn structure. Indeed,
the qualitative value of
the pawn structure is influenced by the presence of doubled pawns or
isolated pawns or islands
of pawns, but your goal is to have a strong pawn formation and not strong
individual pawns.
There are dozens of books on the market that treat the qualitative value of
pawns, either
analyzing general aspects or focusing on particular pawn structures.
Certainly we cannot deal
with such a large subject in two phrases. All I expect from you after this
lesson is that you
consider the pawns what they are, namely a unit.
If you see the pawn structure as a unit, you will notice that its qualitative
value is influenced by
the same four characteristics mentioned above: mobility, positioning,
role and stability. In this
case by good positioning we mean that it has both a healthy pawn
structure as well as a pawn
structure that ensures good control of the center.

4.d. Space advantage

By space advantage we mean that one of the two players better controls a
certain area of the
chessboard. Normally the space advantage is obtained by advancing the
pawns in that area.
Why is the space advantage important? Simply because the space
advantage indirectly influences
the qualitative value of the pieces.
Diagram 6
In diagram 6 White has a space advantage on the kingside and can still
increase it by f4-f5. The
qualitative value of Whites pieces is better because they have great
mobility on the kingside,
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while Blacks pieces are forced to occupy passive positions due to the lack
of space. White can
create a superiority of forces on the kingside (i.e. the local area where he
has a space advantage)
by Nc3-e2-g3-h5 (or Nc3-e2-f4 after f4-f5 is played), Rf1-f2, Ra1-f1.
So, the main trait of the space advantage is its influence over the
qualitative value of the
The space has a small influence over the qualitative value of the pieces
when the material on the
board is reduced (after more exchanges of pieces).
Diagram 7
Compare diagram 7 with diagram 6. White has the same space advantage
on the kingside, but it
is useless now. Without pieces there is no beneficial influence of the space
advantage on the
qualitative value of the pieces.
We will study this spatial advantage more deeply in a special chapter.
4.e. Seizure of initiative
The seizure of initiative, that is the possibility to create immediate threats,
is very important as

well. An opponent under pressure must first parry the threats facing him
and only then deal with
improving his position. Therefore his alternatives are reduced.
The importance of seizing the initiative is illustrated in the following
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Diagram 8
1.? Em.Lasker-Marshall, St.Petersburg 1914
In diagram 8 Black needs only a tempo to solve his opening problems by
castling queenside. But
it is Whites turn to move and the former world champion immediately
seizes the initiative by
playing 1.Qb5!
The pawns b7 and d5 are simultaneously attacked; therefore Marshall set a
cunning trap 1...0-0-0
We must note that 1Qb4 loses in view of 2.Nxd5!
Of course not 2.Nxd5?? Bxd5 3.Qxd5 Qg5! 4.Qxg5 hxg5 and Black wins.
Now the new
threat Qxa7 forces Black to weaken his position because after 2Kb8,
3.Nb5 would be
2a6 3.Bxa6! bxa6 4.Qxa6+ Kb8 5.Rd3 with a decisive attack and an
eventual win for White.
You can see how Blacks alternatives were limited because White, move by
move, created new
strong threats and obliged Black to parry them.
5. Making the plan of play & choosing the best move
If you understand the subjects analyzed above, making a correct plan of
play and choosing the
best move in a position will be easier. All you need is to follow an orderly
pattern of thinking.
Looking for the best plan of play means searching for the best way to
improve your position. It
involves looking for the possibilities to achieve one of the advantages
mentioned above or trying
to annihilate these advantages if they belong to your opponent.

Here are some questions you must ask and answer to find the potentially
best plans and moves.
Is my king safe? How could I ensure its defense?
Is my opponents king safe? How could I benefit from its weakened
Is my opponent threatening to achieve a material advantage?
Can I achieve a material advantage by force?
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Where could I create a superiority of forces in order to challenge a local
battle? How
about my opponent?
How could I increase the qualitative value of my pieces and pawn
How could I reduce the qualitative value of my opponents pieces and
pawn structure?
Where could I achieve/increase a space advantage? How about my
How could I use the space advantage I have in order to increase the
qualitative value of
my pieces and create a local superiority of forces?
What pieces must I exchange in order to reduce the importance of the
space advantage
my opponent has?
Could I create immediate threats or seize a long-term initiative? How
about my
By answering such questions you will be able to find the most interesting
ideas (plans of play)
that can improve your position as well as some candidate moves in the
spirit of the plans you
found. Then, all you need is to do is compare the candidate moves by
calculating concrete lines
and assessing the resulting positions. Eureka, the best move is found!