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Introducing: Fide Master Todd Andrews

Hello, Chess.com world! I am going to broadcast my tidbits of chess knowledge and unconventional ties to you for a spell now thanks to my good friend David Pruess (this is where we all fall to our knees and bow) for bringing me on to the scene. I am a born and raised, southern boy from Nashville, Tennessee that has found my niche teaching and training middle-Tennessee's school students, both priviledged and underpriviledged, in our ultimate mind-sport.

I hope to entertain you more than anything. If you learn something along the way, then that is just a bonus. I started learning chess when I was somewhere around 6 or 7 years old. My first chess teacher was the instruction manual from a Wal-Mart chess set. I came from a very strict religious upbringing on my father's side. And though we did not visit that side of the family very often, when we did, chess was one of the few activities that was tolerated. I even remember at times it being called "a game of war" and that we should stop playing, depending on their mood. Well, the comprehension level of my sister and myself was enough for us to figure out how all the pieces moved. Checkmate, en passant and castling were not to be learned until I was 12 years old. So we had our own version of the game where we played to capture all the pieces. We thought the king was one of the most worthless pieces in the world, only being able to move one square and all, and he would usually find himself captured by move 20. By the time I learned all the real rules, I already had the most important part figured out - how to avoid losing your pieces!

Going from beginner to expert is about this and only this: Being the one not to mess up the biggest! Being a tactical wizard, producing masterpieces that will immortalize you in time, does not come until well after this. You have to learn the chords and notes, before you can create music on the guitar. At the age of 12, my mother took my sister and I to the National Open in Las Vegas. We went only because it was a cheap deal on a cool vacation. It was my first real adult/serious tournament. Without opening any chess books or any formal instruction, I was fortunate to win the U.1200 prize (back when you got a 1000 rating just for showing up at the tournament). My first chess coach said "somehow Todd just reaches his hand out and puts his pieces on the right squares." I won $500 bucks and from there I was hooked, spending half of the winnings on a stereo system and half on chess books.

For hour upon hour, I studied chess and played on this sweet, new in-home invention called the personal computer in the early 90's. Within one year I had won every class tournament in site and increased my USCF rating by 1000 points. Just as a measure, not to make any formal statements, David Pruess went up about 500 points in one year and Hikaru Nakamura went up about 600-700 points or so in his big rise. And in the southland, tournaments are hard to come by, but the chess does not come to you - you have to go and get the chess.

I made master at the age of 15 and plateued out a bit (well permanently), making FM at the age of 19 and being 2300-2400 ever since. My path veered off to teaching more than playing. I get great satisfaction out of my own tournament victories, but I get a lot more from working with children.

One of those books I bought with my first chess earnings was a Benko-gambit book that I bought, because it had a tank and an army motif on the front. Never been the same since.




Comments


  • 6 years ago

    richie_and_oprah

    "What do they call that maneouver again in which the rook and bishop gives discovered check and the rook eats up everything on the seventh rank?"

    Windmill, I believe. 

     

    Welcome to Todd Andrews!

  • 6 years ago

    Mm40

    Great games! Glad to have you on board, hope you enjoy this great community Smile

    David is really racking up the masters, huh?

  • 6 years ago

    BadBishop51

    Hello Todd, glad to have you with us! Oh by the way I like your first name, it just so happens to be mine too.lol :) I am a southern boy as well,born,raised and living in Memphis Tennessee. I gotta say I thought those games were really something! I really dig your playing style man. I look forward to reading your blog. Peace out!:)

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    those games are really awesome. you really made great use of the rook on b6; and to some extent, i feel the deciding factor in these games was that white never activated their rooks, whereas you got a lot of mileage out of three of your four rooks. there's a good lesson here, and i'll play through them a couple more times.

    thanks for sharing these!

  • 6 years ago

    NM GreenLaser

    Hello Todd. You wrote, "My first chess coach said 'somehow Todd just reaches his hand out and puts his pieces on the right squares.' " The great players throw the pieces in the air and they land on the best squares. You also stated, "I hope to entertain you more than anything." Just for entertainment porpoises, you made a mesa of the word "plateued."

  • 6 years ago

    systemovich

    Thanks, BadBishop! I think that's it: the windmill. Devastating.

  • 6 years ago

    Baddbishop

    "What do they call that maneouver again in which the rook and bishop gives discovered check and the rook eats up everything on the seventh rank?"

    --I've seen it called a "windmill"... another example can be found in the famous game C.Torre vs. E. Lasker (in an opening that bears Torre's name), whereLasker is dismantled by the combination. Myth or not, I read that Lasker may not have been at his best that day due to suffering a world-champion worthy hangover.

  • 6 years ago

    systemovich

    I like that first game. What do they call that maneouver again in which the rook and bishop gives discovered check and the rook eats up everything on the seventh rank?

  • 6 years ago

    IM dpruess

    that is indeed a good idea, lawrence. thanks.

  • 6 years ago

    Baddbishop

    My first chess tournament was a Music-City Open, would have been about 1982 or 1983. My provisional rating at that time was 1388, if I remember correctly. I was 17 at the time. Since then, my meteoric rise has completely shattered the 1600 barrier. Just can't seem to avoid all those silly mistakes.

    Look forward to reading your blog, Todd.

  • 6 years ago

    rexbo

     Another good idea is if there was a page posted with all the chess.com masters listing there favourite openings, chess heroes, favourite game they have played and all round favourite game, other achievements etc etc just so it feels that we get to know the person better not just the player.

  • 6 years ago

    FM MusicCityMaster

    I will have to start diggin to find those games...

  • 6 years ago

    rexbo

    Wonderful extremely well played benko/vulga gambits. A wonderful story also I come from a somewhat small country town and intend to raise my rating as well (probably not by 1000 points that has to be a record). I also hope that if you choose to pursue a higher title that you do so with ease.

     

    P.S. I was wondering if you had any games from your first tourney I think that would be an interesting insight into how natural your talent for the game was.

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