Chess Articles

  • Mastering Squares, Part 4

    In our first two installments of “Mastering Squares,” we looked at some extremely instructive positions from one of my students. In the third installment, I stepped back and looked at square basics. Now that everyone is “on poi... | Read More

  • Great Early Chess Libraries of the United States

         Once again I'm indebted to my dear friend Deb for finding this.  We were searching for the whereabouts of a certain chess board and chess set that once belonged to E. B. Cook and was used when Frederick Perrin, Thomas Frere and Willard ... | Read More

  • 14 Famous Chess Couples

    Chess is not a team game. It's an individual struggle between two minds to destroy each other -- at least, over the chessboard. But that doesn't mean chess players have to be loners. It's only natural that passionate chess players are drawn to... | Read More

  • 5 Skills Chess Teaches Kids

    Chess can serve as an extremely powerful education tool. It instills key lessons that aren’t directly taught in the classroom. Through my own chess upbringing beginning when I was five years old, and later through passing on knowledg... | Read More

  • Find Your Own "Miracle" Opening!

    The year was 1985.  Garry Kasparov just became the world champion, and together with his mentor, ex-world champion Mikhail Botvinnik, he was running the first session of the famous Botvinnik-Kasparov school. A group of young aspiring c... | Read More

  • The Discovered Check, Reloaded

    The discovered check is a key weapon in every attacking player's arsenal. To be sure, it has received excellent coverage in chess literature, its potency examined from every angle. However, players still frequently tend to underrate its power.... | Read More

  • The Scandinavian Defense: A History

    The time has come to look at the history of perhaps the first chess opening: the Scandinavian Defense.  Also known as the Center-Counter, the Scandinavian Defense can be viewed as the most direct and forcing counter to 1.e4. The intrep... | Read More

  • Perrin

         Although his association with Paul Morphy was somewhat minimal, Frederick Perrin's chess career was very often viewed though Morphy-colored glasses. When Morphy first arrived in New York for his national debut, Perrin was the first man h... | Read More

  • Mastering Squares, Part 3

    I noticed that some readers had trouble understanding what a weak square is. I don’t like leaving people behind, so I am going to devote 75.23 percent of this week’s “Mastering Squares” article to square basics. Of course... | Read More

  • Stop Making The Same Mistakes Over And Over

    In the movie Groundhog Day (1993), Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, a weatherman who inexplicably starts repeating February 2 every day in the groundhog-crazed town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Connors spends an unknown amount of time stuck i... | Read More

  • Do You Need To Study Junk Openings?

    Some chess players love to play offbeat openings. I knew one class-A player who was a die-hard devotee of the Vulture Defense (1.d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 Ne4?!). He was showing me a book (why do they kill trees to publish such books?) that explaine... | Read More

  • Tata Chess Toys

    © 2015, José Diaz   Links Interview with José Diaz José Diaz Official Website | Read More

  • Pandolfini's Mailbag: Back In The Game

    Topic for next month: Chess Teaching (Please start submitting questions concerning the above topic for the next column. Questions outside of that theme should be submitted to other departments. If I get a chance to tackle a different ty... | Read More

  • How To Play A Counterblow

    The ability to recover after a tactical oversight is a difficult skill to master. Indeed, the temptation to panic after blundering an ostensibly crushing sacrifice or combination is overwhelming. It is the mark of a strong, experienced player to r... | Read More

  • The Smith-Morra Gambit: A History, Part 2

    Last week, we examined the origins of the Smith-Morra Gambit.  As the Smith-Morra began to encounter strong players, a variety of different responses developed. In the early days, declining the gambit was actually quite popular. In fact, ... | Read More

  • Let's Get Physickal

         There were a few 19th century London chess players who, although they weren't quite on par with the best, were by no means second-rate players  and made names for themselves both locally and abroad.      One such player was the pr... | Read More

  • Mastering Squares, Part 2

    In part one, I discussed a game that I feel is extremely instructive. There were opening nuances, tactics, and the usual highs and lows. But the main thing that fueled the game’s soul was the existence of two potentially weak squares on e5 a... | Read More

  • 6 Chess Moves You Have To Play Before You Die

    The idea of a “bucket list” is not a new one. It’s an age-old concept to compile a list of things you’d like to do before you “kick the bucket,” or pass away. Unlike traveling the world or buying your dream ho... | Read More

  • Mikhail Tal's Chess Boomerang

    The game we are going to analyze today is quite typical for the style of Mikhail Tal. It features sacrifices, crazy attack and a lot of fun! Also, as it happened to many Tal's sacrifices, it was proven incorrect.  Of course it took "only" a... | Read More

  • The Two-Knight Advantage

    Two active bishops working in tandem are a mighty force. Indeed, the bishop's long range enables it to dominate vast swaths of the board, and to simultaneously play both a defensive and an attacking role. While the power of two bishops is... | Read More

  • The Smith-Morra Gambit: A History

    For this week's edition of my column on the histories of openings, I have chosen the Smith-Morra Gambit -- a selection that might excite many readers. Most grandmasters have a low opinion of the Smith-Morra, while at the same time it is a favo... | Read More

  • Levitsky

         Meisterdrittel.      It's a curious fact that the informal title of "Master" ("Mаэстро"), the equivalent of today's International Grandmaster that was used in Russia during the late 19th-early twenieth century, was based upon ... | Read More

  • Mastering Squares, Part 1

    When I have lessons with students, we usually go over their games. Invariably, the student comes to me thinking that the errors in the game are based on blunders, missed tactics, a bad opening, or some form of positional atrocity. Of course, thes... | Read More

  • 13 Songs With Chess Lyrics

    Chess and music have been linked throughout history. Both of these cerebral pursuits live at the intersection of science and art, and both are breeding grounds for amazing geniuses and prodigies. The logic, structure, and meaning of music can ... | Read More

  • The Longest Plan In Chess

    Chess is well known as a game of strategy. This is why it is prominently pictured in all kinds of television commercials that have to showcase long-term planning (e.g. insurance, banking, etc.). It is a popular myth among people who don't play c... | Read More

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