Smyslov's childhood years

Smyslov's childhood years

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9 days ago

When I started working on the book about the early years of Vasily Smyslov, I often asked myself - how did the world look like when he was born, almost a hundred years ago? How did it feel growing up in Moscow in the 1920s? Of course, I had some...

The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I

The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I

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21 days ago

For the past few years I’ve been working on a book about the 7th world champion, Vasily Smyslov, and I am happy to announce that "The Life and Games of Vasily Smyslov. Volume I: The Early Years 1921-1948" has finally gone to print! If e...

Why study classics?

Why study classics?

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Jun 19, 2020

"Why study classics?" is a question that I hear quite often these and one that was never seriously asked in my youth. 30 years ago studying classics was universally accepted as the best way to learn chess, together with analyzing one's own games. ...

My first Chess960 tournament

My first Chess960 tournament

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May 7, 2020

Somewhat strangely, the chess life in Singapore has never been so active and buzzing with excitement as it is during the COVID-19 crisis. This resurgence is mostly thanks to #ChessAgainstCovid initiative, which I described in my previous post. At ...

Chess against COVID in Singapore

Chess against COVID in Singapore

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May 1, 2020

About a month ago Singaporean GM Kevin Goh Wei Ming started a great charity initiative called Chess against COVID. The goal is to raise funds through chess for the families most affected by COVID-19 pandemic - those who have lost jobs, the el...

8 Lessons of Cairnhill Open

8 Lessons of Cairnhill Open

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Dec 13, 2019

Last weekend I took part in Cairnhill Open, a local tournament here in Singapore. In fact, there were two separate tournaments, 9-round rapid and 11-round blitz, so I played more chess than I usually do in a normal month  I did surprisin...

Vera Menchik's steamroller chess

Vera Menchik's steamroller chess

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Sep 5, 2019

Tigran Petrosian once compared Mikhail Botvinnik to a bulldozer, ruthlessly sweeping away everything in its path, and I often recalled this metaphor whilst playing through the games of Vera Menchik. Of course, this is not to say that V...

Vera Menchik attacks!

Vera Menchik attacks!

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Aug 25, 2019

Vera Menchik was a positional player through and through. When she launched an attack, it usually meant that she exhausted all other ways to improve her position and that all possible preparations have been made. In his classical book "Akiba ...

Tactics in the games of Vera Menchik

Tactics in the games of Vera Menchik

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Aug 18, 2019

A few weeks ago my article on Vera Menchik appeared in British journal "CHESS". Unfortunately, it is not (yet?) available online but you can buy this issue of the journal at the publisher's website. "CHESS" is one of the best journals in the histo...

Tactics on a weekend

Tactics on a weekend

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Aug 3, 2019

I don't play much chess these days, so the 21 games over the weekend was a real frenzy for me. I took part in three different tournaments with three different time controls. The main conclusion that I made after analyzing these games? I have to wo...

Smyslov's wildest game

Smyslov's wildest game

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Jun 26, 2019

Today I am going to show you what is arguably the wildest game of Vasily Smyslov's chess career. It was played in 1940 USSR Championship, one of the strongest and, unfortunately, one of the most forgotten Soviet events. It was a debut of the ...

Levenfish on Chess Improvement

Levenfish on Chess Improvement

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Jun 15, 2019

While browsing the bulletins of 1942 Kuibyshev tournament I came across an interesting article on chess improvement by Grandmaster Levenfish. Things have changed quite a bit in the 75+ years that followed, and yet the recommendations of this artic...

Salo Flohr on Grandmaster Title

Salo Flohr on Grandmaster Title

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Jun 8, 2019

The Chess Grandmaster title has a long and rather confusing history. There is a popular legend that it was first established by Tsar Nicholas II at St. Petersburg 1914 tournament - a theory that has been since debunked by chess historian...

On Chess and Cheese

On Chess and Cheese

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Jan 30, 2019

During my work on the previous post about the tragic fate of Gordon Crown I came across a light-hearted piece, which I cannot help but share. In February 1947 "CHESS" journal published a column entitled "On the Difference between Chess and Chees...

Gordon Thomas Crown. Only the good die young

Gordon Thomas Crown. Only the good die young

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Jan 19, 2019

Two months ago @simaginfan published a wonderful article about Ian Wells. When I started to read, I had a sense of déjà vu. A young British player who beats Grandmaster Alexander Kotov in a tournament and tragically dies a few m...

Lasker vs. Schlechter | World Chess Championship 1910

Lasker vs. Schlechter | World Chess Championship 1910

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Jan 5, 2019

1910 match between Emanuel Lasker and Carl Schlechter is probably the most enigmatic event in the history of Chess World Championships. More than a century later the historians are still arguing about the rules and regulations of this match, with ...

Botvinnik vs. Smyslov | World Chess Championship 1954

Botvinnik vs. Smyslov | World Chess Championship 1954

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Nov 23, 2018

In the second article of the series on Evergreen World Chess Championships we will look at 1954 Botvinnik-Smyslov match. It was the first of three World Championship matches that Botvinnik and Smyslov played against each other, and these matches a...

10 Evergreen World Chess Championships

10 Evergreen World Chess Championships

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Nov 15, 2018

In the wake of Carlsen-Caruana match Chess.com ran a series of articles on The Most Exciting World Chess Championships Ever, with the "winners" selected by the Editorial Board of Chess,com. That series generated a lively debate, with the readers...

Alekhine vs. Euwe | World Chess Championship 1935

Alekhine vs. Euwe | World Chess Championship 1935

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Nov 15, 2018

I am launching a series of articles about 10 Evergreen World Chess Championships, and I am going to open it with one of the most stunning upsets in the history of World Championship matches, 1935 Alekhine-Euwe. One of the reasons why I picked it...

The wizard of Petroff

The wizard of Petroff

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Nov 8, 2018

One of Fabiano Caruana's most incredible achievements is that he turned Petroff defense into a fun and dangerous weapon. Think of it for a second. The symmetric and rock solid Petroff, the opening that makes Berlin defense look exciting in ...

Smyslov's Slav vs Hammertime

Smyslov's Slav vs Hammertime

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Nov 7, 2018

An amateur chess player like me does not get to play against Grandmasters very often, and so I was extremely happy when I was paired with Jon Ludvig Hammer in the 1st round of today's Titled Tuesday. This tournament starts terribly early, a...

The Power of Quiet Moves

The Power of Quiet Moves

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Nov 6, 2018

I am rarely satisfied with my own blitz games, but a few days ago I won a nice one that illustrates a rare topic of quiet moves. This game saw a little bit of everything – positional struggle on the queenside, followed by a knight sac...

Young genius: Magnus Carlsen at Aeroflot 2004

Young genius: Magnus Carlsen at Aeroflot 2004

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Nov 2, 2018

The first time I heard about Magnus Carlsen was when the future World Champion was 13 years old. In early 2004 I came across the following game that was played in Aeroflot Open, a famous annual Grandmaster tournament in Moscow. That game has been ...

Carlsen vs Caruana: personalities and styles

Carlsen vs Caruana: personalities and styles

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Oct 25, 2018

Today's super grandmasters can do everything in chess, but they still have their unique preferences, their own strengths and weaknesses. In this article we will look at Carlsen and Caruana from the point of view of their personalities and playing ...

Carlsen vs Caruana: psychology and history

Carlsen vs Caruana: psychology and history

FM ddtru
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Oct 21, 2018

The World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Fabiano Caruana is less than three weeks away, so it is a great time for predictions and analysis. I believe that the outcome of this match will be mostly decided by psychological factors. ...