Video Series on Converting Extra Material

Video Series on Converting Extra Material

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It is often said in chess that the hardest thing to do is "win a won game". This is because the tendency of most players, once a material advantage is achieved, is to relax, allow their opponent to slowly creep back into the game, until the position eventually becomes messy and complicated once again.

In this series, IM Sam Shankland analyzes five highly instructive games where one side is given the task of converting a material advantage. Though the winning side is not successful in all cases, the variety of ideas and winning plans discussed throughout the series is helpful and impressive.

By watching the videos, viewers will learn the step-by-step process of converting a material advantage:

  1. Eliminate the opponent's counterplay (solidify weaknesses, limit activity, and defend against threats);
  2. Activate your own pieces;
  3. Realize the material advantage.

The entire video series is designed for advanced players (1800-2200). Enjoy!

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Part 1 -- The first video starts with Sam introducing the concept of converting a material advantage, and explains some of the chess psychology that comes along with it. In a game where Shankland is defending down an exchange, he explains how his opponent could have executed better technique and gives useful advice, such as "when you're up material, trade pieces, not pawns". (Advanced)

Part 2 -- The second video focuses on the three-step process of converting a material advantage: eliminate enemy counterplay, activate your pieces, and capitalize on positional advantages (such as control of an open file). In the featured game, after reaching an endgame with an extra exchange, Sam must instructs on the best way to limit his opponent's active pieces and realize his material advantage. (Advanced)

Part 3 -- The third video delves further into the critical process of eliminating the opponent's counterplay. This time the featured game is between super-GMs Gelfand and Ponomariov, and Sam does a great job explaining the intricacies of their play, focusing on Gelfand's excellent understanding of the art of limiting counterplay. (Advanced)

Part 4 -- The fourth video takes a sharper turn with a very exciting battle between another set of super-GMs: Naiditsch and Kramnik. After Kramnik sacrifices a piece for a dangerous initiative and a few pawns, it is up to Naiditsch to navigate his way through the complications and consolidate his material advantage. Shankland once again expertly takes us through the process of solidifying the position, defending against all threats, and finally converting the win! (Advanced)

Part 5 -- The fifth video concludes the series with a thrilling game between two more greats: Svidler and Anand. They reach a complicated endgame where Svidler has an extra pawn but has to execute accurate technique and eliminate his opponent's counterplay. But the path to victory is far from simple, and Anand is able to muddy the waters and hold the draw. As Sam assesses, Svidler simply didn't appreciate Anand's meaningful counterplay and was unable to finish him off in a highly instructive game analysis. (Advanced)

This listing will be edited when any further modules are added! Also, please leave feedback about the series here, particularly if you have questions, as we do not check the comments sections of old videos very often.

Get back to's video guide here!

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