The Secret of Strong Players

Part I
Hi,
Today we have a very interesting topic: The Secrets of Strong Chess
Players.
During a game of chess you demonstrate your way of thinking.
Obviously there is a difference in the way of thinking between strong
and not-so-strong players, but what is it about their way of thinking
that makes these players stronger and helps them to gain more
victories?
If you have pondered such questions before, you may have
discovered that finding the answer is not that easy. Perhaps you
have found that many of these strong players are unwilling to share
these ‘insider secrets’ with you.

Page

1

Similarly, there are a lot of lessons out there prepared by strong
Grandmasters that will show you some opening moves or some
strong moves played in the games of strong Grandmasters.
However, they do not reveal the most important thing: How do these
players find such strong moves and how can you do the same?
Today, however, you are in luck as this is exactly the topic of this
lesson. Today we will be discussing powerful techniques for finding
strong moves!
Naturally I cannot cover everything in just one lesson. Nevertheless, I
will give you a couple of practical and powerful recommendations
that you’ll be able to implement and improve your results with right
after this lesson.
 TO TAKE IS A MISTAKE

Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher.com

let’s consider the following example: Diagram 1 GM Reinderman – GM NyzhnykWhite to move In this position White played 29.com . Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher.In order to demonstrate the difference in the way of thinking between strong and not-so-strong players. he will only have succeeded in helping Black to activate his knight and bring it to a good central square. in this position it is not the best move because if White takes Black’s queen on e5. Rxd6 (winning a pawn) and then Black played 29…Qe5. So what to do instead? If you have studied my previous lessons you will know already that to take is a mistake and that in such positions it is far better that you maintain the tension and let your opponent be the one who releases this tension. How would you play here as White? Page 2 I’m pretty sure that most players would just take Black’s queen on e5. But here I have a question for you. when you have a material advantage it is good to exchange pieces. However. Generally. Perhaps Black wanted to block White’s epawn while at the same time attack White’s queen and also keep an eye on the d6-rook.

What they actually do is the opposite thing and they take whenever they can. White played 30. If Black takes White’s queen on g3. Kxg3) White achieved an easily winning position. imagine that you are playing Black and you are considering the move 10…d5. Notice that White can bring his king to f4 and then push e5. This is totally winning for White. Why do so many players make this mistake? It’s actually quite easy to explain. Which variations do you need to check before you can play this move? Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher.com . it will help White to activate his king and bring it closer to the center. The opposite situation is applicable for Black. Black took White’s queen (30…Qxg3+) and after the recapture (31. Page 3 So now you know one secret of strong players: they understand the rule that to take is a mistake. Kh2 and now you can see this idea clearly. In the actual game. he has an extra pawn and Black has a lot of weaknesses. If White takes Black’s queen on e5 Black will activate his knight and put it on a good central square. It may sound rather simple but most players do not follow this rule or do not know about it. Consider for a moment the following example: Diagram 2 Black to move Now.Accordingly.

Page 4 If after Black plays 10…d5 White responds with 11. on the other hand. “Okay. Sometimes you can win an opponent’s material and sometimes you are forced to recapture in order to keep the material balance. Stronger players. “Okay. To give you an example. he’ll recapture with his knight (Nxd5). let me just clarify something. I’ll play d5 and after cxd5 I’ll take with my knight (Nxd5). When they see that they can take something they start their calculations right from that move. This would be a mistake and White should refrain from making this move because of the rule: to take is a mistake. in the subsequent position after 11…Nxd5 (see Diagram 3 below) White should not take on d5. know that to take is a mistake and that they should look for something better.” And then you see that everything is fine and say to yourself. That’s why most chess players follow this way of thinking automatically. I’ll take on d5 again with my bishop (Bxd5). I can play d5. then of course Black must recapture. However. If he does not he will lose material and so there is nothing to think about.” This is the usual method of calculating variations and after some practice it becomes a habit. In such cases of course you will naturally take. Before we move on. he’ll take with his bishop (Bxd5). Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. Of course I’m not saying that you should never take. let’s go back a few moves in this game. I’ll take with my queen (Qxd5).Obviously you need to be sure that you don’t lose any material and so maybe you start your calculation and think to yourself. He has no other option but to take. cxd5.com .

and that you should always try to maintain the tension. Below is a theoretical position from the Sicilian defense.com . Najdorf variation. Diagram 4 Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. Let’s continue our exploration of the way strong players think with another example.  OFFENSE IS THE BEST DEFENSE Okay. let’s move on a little.Diagram 3 Page 5 White to move Now that you know the rule that to automatically take is a mistake.

the pawn on e4). With this move Black brings the knight into the centre. attacks White’s bishop on e3 and gains more activity. Nce2). White retreats the knight to e2 (13. After 15. Black plays 13…Qc7. As a result White needs to find something better.Black to move Let’s say that Black plays 12…b4 attacking the knight. White replies with 14. Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. How would you play here as White? I’ll be very glad if you decided not to take the d5 pawn.exd5 Black will recapture with 16…Nxd5. You know already that to take is a mistake and in this position it is indeed not the best option. Diagram 5 Although we know that we should try to keep the tension and avoid moves like exd5.com . h4 (preparing an attack on the king-side) and Black answers with 14…d5 (attacking White’s centre and more specifically. here it is not so easy to find a suitable way to keep the tension and somehow protect the e4-pawn: Page 6 White to move Okay? Now. here is a question for you.

Qd3. However. It is rather like a tug-of-war competition.White can’t play 15. A move like 15. Each player is trying to pull the game in the direction that he wants. This is certainly how most chess players think in such situations. this way of thinking has one major drawback: everything that we’ve been considering so far in this position has been focused on an opponent’s threats and we completely forgot about our own plans. then Black can play 15…Ne5 or 15…Nc5 and gain extra tempi. Our task is to see what other resources we can find Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. Each side is trying to pull the rope in their own direction and the side who does it stronger will win the competition.com . Let me give you a quick analogy. Page 7 Perhaps now you are thinking that if you don’t have a good way to defend the e4-pawn then maybe you just have to take on d5. If White tries a move like 15. A similar thing happens in chess. let us take this new approach and apply it in the above position.Ng3 because that square is under control of Black’s queen on c7. Having said that. a rather awkward idea. so none of this looks very good for White. Again.Bg2 would place the bishop in a very passive position and after an exchange would cause the g4-pawn to be hanging. Also Black can move his knight to c4. and the one who does it more insistently will win the game. this is certainly not something that White would want.

Also. so what is White’s plan here? Obviously White wants to push g5. White cannot recapture with 16. All in all this position looks very promising for White. Of course Black cannot take the knight on d4 because the pawn is pinned and so he took on e4 (16…dxe4). We can do this by simply shifting our focus from Black’s threats to White’s plans.com . We can find a couple of ideas for this purpose.for White. So that’s one interesting idea.g5 (see Diagram below). Therefore White needs to prepare this move somehow. Maybe White will sacrifice a piece there or he could push g6 and undermine this e6-pawn. He played 15. For example: White could play 15. He just needs to solve this problem of the hanging rook on h1. Okay. However.Rg1 with similar ideas of pushing g5 and then g6 and developing an attack on the king-side. he cannot play g5 immediately because after 15…hxg. White pushed 17. Then after 15…dxe4 White can push g5 successfully.Bf4 (attacking Black’s queen) and after Black played 15…e5 White played 16.Bh2. After that. That is why he played h4 and g4 on the previous moves. Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher.hxg because the h-pawn is pinned to the undefended rook on h1. With this maneuver White has covered the h-file with his dark-squared bishop and he is ready to push g5. At the very least White can remove the rook from danger by playing 15. Page 8 In the actual game.Bh3 and cover the h-file. White found another move with a similar idea. the bishop on h3 attacks Blacks e6-pawn. That’s another alternative.

Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. This is a key difference between the way strong players and weak players think. we were able to find a lot of interesting and powerful possibilities for White. Page 9 When attacked.Diagram 6 Black to move As you can see. Okay. Of course it is still a very complicated position but White has good chances to develop a successful attack and Black should be really careful. weak players think of how to defend. The important thing for you to take from this is that after we adopted a new approach. Unlike them.Bxc5 (attacking Black’s queen and unleashing a discovered attack on Black’s h8rook). For example.com .hxg5 Black makes the natural move 18…Nd5 he is losing immediately as White can take with 19. so let’s now go back to the critical position (Diagram 5). strong players try to pull the game in the direction that they want and they always try to keep focusing on their own plans. 18. We can summarize these ideas by stating the rule: offense is the best defense. White is developing his attack. While I’m sure you’ve heard this several times in the past. if after 17…hxg5.

Page 10 Strong players understand that it is often beneficial to let an opponent be the one to make the exchange and release the tension because it can help you to be more active. or anything like that. weaker players will usually just take automatically.without any real understanding of this idea the rule by itself is rather useless. Of course if you can win an opponents material. Unlike them. they understand that such automatic exchanges can often just make your opponent’s choice of moves easier. It relates more to your deep understanding of the chess game and the adoption of the proper approach. What I mean is that you should always try to push your own plan and try to lead the game in the direction that you want. strong players know that to take is a mistake and that you should therefore look for a way to keep the tension.  To take is mistake: A major difference between strong and not-so-strong players is that when there is the possibility for an exchange.  Offense is the best defense: Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. or a counter-attack. Let me be clear that I’m not talking about an active defense. It’s not about counter-blows or any kind of tactical tricks. REVIEW In this lesson we have been discussing the secrets of strong players. then you can and should take. I’m simply talking about another approach for the game. Let us review them quickly. Additionally.com . In general you should provide your opponent with every opportunity to make a mistake. You now know two powerful secrets of these strong players.

but let me say in closing that when you know the secrets of strong players. Page 11 I wish you well-deserved success! Part I |Remote Chess Academy | ©2009-2015 | http://chess-teacher. I will end this here for now. weaker players will usually think only about defense. Contrary to this. strong players follow the rule that offense is the best defense. Strong players understand that chess is much like a tug-of-war competition where each player is trying to pull the game in the direction that he wants. If you adopt these rules you may not become a Grandmaster overnight but your game will improve dramatically. everything becomes pretty simple. Very often you will have something more powerful to play and you should look for it. Strong players understand that you should not make defensive moves automatically.com . They realize that it is a mistake to focus solely on your opponent’s threats and forget about your own plans.Another key difference between strong players and not-so-strong players is that when they are attacked. and the one who does it more insistently will win the game.