Captain Chess
Original Articles for Club Players

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Near Future of Chess and Why should Magnus Carlsen retain World Chess Title
No favourites here. Fabiano Caruana seems to be a great guy, a really kind person, one of the great chess players of our time. Surely, he would be an exemplary ambassador of our royal game, a true gentleman of the chess world. But that's not enough. Not now. Mr Magnus Carlsen…

Ivanchuk's Most Amazing Sacrifice in the Sicilian/Fischer-Sozin Attack
Definitely, Mikhail Golubev's ‘Understanding the Sicilian’ (Gambit) is a must whether you want to improve your theory knowledge of this endless-road opening. I was totally immersed in it when I found this piece of art which I consider Vassily Ivanchuk's most amazing sacrifice ---at least in the Sicilian/Fischer-Sozin Attack. Chuky is…

Interesting Resource for the Pirc Defence against the Byrne Variation
Looking for some improvement over a recent lost (Heinechen) I re-opened the much-recommended book ‘The Pirc, move by move’ by GM Nigel Davies (Everyman Chess). There I stumbled upon an ambitious and unorthodox idea that caught my attention: ...d5!?, an interesting resource for the Pirc Defence against the Byrne Variation. It…

3 Reasons to Stop Complaining about Cheating in Online Chess
All of us have gone through that miserable experience of smelling the odor of fraud after being crushed by a much weaker opponent. None can blame you, the knight was moving as if it were on Carlsen's hand. True, but the reality is that we'll never be one hundred percent…

Recognizing a Checkmate with Two Self-Block
I hadn't heard of the checkmate with two self-block until I received the last issue of New in Chess (2018/3). In it, GM Jan Timman wrote about the great performance of the Tiger of Madras, GM Viswanathan Anand at the Tal Memorial held in Moscow. Vishy showed excellent chess and…

Seductive Tactics that Work but Elude your Weak Mind
Last weekend I took part in a national championship cycle tournament. It was a Swiss sub-2200 event of seven rounds. My goal was five points. Sadly, I ended just short of the coast. This is not to say I hadn't my chances as we're about to see. The last round…

The First OTB Victory against a Grandmaster
Of course not me but a good friend of mine. It's always superb to achieve a nice victory over the board at the club, not to mention if the guy opposite to you happens to be a strong Grandmaster. Well, that was exactly what occurred some days ago at the…

A Brief Glimpse at the Vančura Position
Josef Vančura was a Czech composer born at the end of the nineteenth century and buried only 23 years later, in 1921. He's remembered for a specific rook and rook's pawn vs rook endgame which he carefully studied. Due to his work history will call this the Vančura Position. Most chess…

Alpha Zero and the Break of Chess Traditionalism
You can call me a traditionalist, a very closed-minded one. But as a caveman ---if you like--- there's something I care the most, and that's the true foundations of what I love. While thousands of chess enthusiasts went crazy this week discussing online the wonderful moves of Google's Alpha Zero…

An Easy-to-Grasp Introduction to the Theory of Corresponding Squares
Probably the theory of corresponding squares is one of the hardest aspects of chess endgames. It is mainly applied to pawn-ending situations where king maneuvers are essential. ‘The ideal case is a system of squares where both kings are in reciprocal zugzwang’, explains Karsten Müller on the ever-consulted ‘Fundamental Chess Endings’ (Gambit).…

The Seesaw and the Stairway Maneuver
A couple of months ago Dana Mackenzie published an instructive article about the technique required to succeed in a classic king-and-queen-vs-king-and-rook endgame. He decided to call that maneuver the Seesaw. Let me show you why he did so and then how I came to discover the Stairway maneuver. [fen cal=Rf4f5,Rf5e4,Re4e6,Re6d5,Rd5d7,Rd7c6,Rc6c8]8/8/8/8/4q2k/8/5R1K/8 w -…

Beautiful Geometry of Her Majesty the Queen
Recently I started reading Mark Dvoretsky's last book ‘Maneuvering. The Art of Piece Play’ (Russell Enterprises, Inc.) and got interested by a queen move example presented as an introduction to the certain exquisite material to follow. I think the club player could well benefit from it so here it is. In Dvoretsky's…

On the Importance of Learning the Name of Diagonals
Learning the name of diagonals is a crucial theme to improve not only your knowledge of the chessboard's geometry but also ---and more important--- to be better at calculating variations. When a chess friend tells you that he was in control of the f-file you don't have much problems visualizing a…

Essential Knight Maneuvers for the Club Chess Player
Knight's way of dancing makes it quite a special ally for the attacker player. Not just is it a fantastic tactical weapon but also a dominating force in the endgame in many cases. The club chess player should grasp the essential knight maneuvers which will assure him a better general…

One Classic, Tricky and Timeless Rook Endgame to Master
Some weeks ago I was leafing through my old chess mags when suddenly I spotted a classic rook endgame which called my attention. I don't know where you live, but in the year 1994 not many of my neighbours count on a computer at home ---not to mention a chess…

The Curious Case of Bruno Buchholz and a Nearly Trackless Path
Compiling information about Bruno Buchholz's life is not an easy task. Surprisingly enough the man who survived history by developing a famous (the most?) tie-break system for chess hasn't got a story of his own. Despite this lack of data about his life it's still possible to draw some conclusions…

What makes Vassily Ivanchuk so Special among Chess Fans?
Certainly there is quite a bunch of chess players in the elite which you could root for, but one among them seems to stand out from the rest. The name Vassily Ivanchuk and the word geniality are often inextricable. The 48-year-old Ukrainian is one of those persons you see and immediately feel comfortable…

The Bayonet Attack against the Caro Kann Defense
It was not until recently that I had the pleasure to discover the quite instructive chess blog of science writer Dana Mackenzie ---two-time Champion of North Carolina State, USA--- and read his fine article on the Bayonet Attack against the Caro Kann Defense and the rare occasions it appears at high-class level. Well, surely Mr…

4 Great Chess Apps that will Improve your Game
We all know there are plenty of chess apps out there in the market ---most of them not being worthy of your phone's memory--- but what about those precious short lines of code forgotten at the end of the gallery? Well, let me show you four great chess apps for…

Geometry of the Chessboard: 3 Indispensable Patterns
Most students will tell you the shortest route between two points is a straight line, although 'for the kings on the chessboard this is only valid for the diagonals', wrote GM Karsten Müller and IM Frank Lamprecht on their monumental work 'Fundamental Chess Endings’ (Gambit). Indeed, the geometry of the chessboard…

Abuse of Engines and Lack of Respect for the Chess Master
A couple of weeks ago I finished reading 'King's Indian Warfare’ (Quality Chess), an interesting journey conducted with mastery by the creative Israeli GM Ilya Smirin, and ended up marveled at the huge respect cast by him on his great opponents. This book suggested me one question ---besides many venomous…

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