Backrankbrawler's Notebook

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Improving Through Correspondence Chess

Improving Through Correspondence Chess

backrankbrawler
| Jan 27, 2021

I started playing correspondence chess years ago through the now defunct Internet Email Chess Group (IECG). I admittedly wasn't diligent about finishing my games and thus didn't do so well. I picked it up again a few years ago as I wanted a way to...

Purposeful Practice in Chess

Purposeful Practice in Chess

backrankbrawler
| Jan 20, 2021

Today, I'm going to be taking a break from analyzing one of my games and discuss something I've been studying for the last few years - how to practice and get better at chess. I think we all have a few opinions on what the best way to go about it ...

The Unintentional Exchange Sacrifice

The Unintentional Exchange Sacrifice

backrankbrawler
| Jan 13, 2021

I have to admit, most of my exchange sacrifices are unintentional. I'm going to guess a bunch of yours are too - unless you are one of my Titled readers, in which case perhaps not. Sometimes they can lead to interesting games. Today I'll discuss s...

Analyzing Your Winning Games

Analyzing Your Winning Games

backrankbrawler
| Jan 6, 2021

Years ago, I was part of a "teaching ladder" where players of different ratings classes would analyze games of players who were lower rated than them. I think I was rated around 1600 USCF when I was a member of this and so I would get games to ana...

The Responsibility of the Open Sicilian

The Responsibility of the Open Sicilian

backrankbrawler
| Nov 6, 2020

Early in 2020, I changed from my trusty 1.d4 to start playing 1.e4. In my youth, I used to play 1.e4 but mainly played gambits and off-beat openings. This year, I wanted to play 1.e4 "properly" and learn the Ruy Lopez as White and play the Open Si...

When the Knight Beats the Bishop

When the Knight Beats the Bishop

backrankbrawler
| Sep 9, 2020

Positional and strategic play is often not a strong suit for amateur chess players. I know it is not for me - at least comparing myself to the masters whose games I study. Often amateur games are decided by a big blunder that could have been avoid...

A Najdorf Sicilian Miniature

A Najdorf Sicilian Miniature

backrankbrawler
| Aug 30, 2020

One of my first chess books was Irving Chernev's Logical Chess: Move by Move. Some of the games in this book were less then 25 moves long. Sometimes, I wondered why one would include these short games in an instructive book. However, now...

Time, Material, and Quality in the Opening

Time, Material, and Quality in the Opening

backrankbrawler
| Jul 15, 2020

There are many elements or imbalances in chess. Although many different masters over the years have used different terms to identify these such as pawn structure, king safety, development, material, and several others I like Garry Kasparov's syste...

Choking on the Mustard Seed Cloud

Choking on the Mustard Seed Cloud

backrankbrawler
| Jun 23, 2020

This weekend, I had the opportunity to play in the Progress with Chess Mustard Seed Cloud tournament after my friend and fellow chess improver Stacia Pugh invited me. I am a little curious as to why the tournament was named "Mustard Seed Clou...

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