Mastery: Misc

Improve your Chess

Improve your Chess

Hello, my name is Sam Shankland and I designed this course for players who are already strong and looking to improve their game further. In this course, I will guide you through real scenarios that I found myself in involving tactics, positional play, technique, and many other parts of the chess game. In some of the positions, I played correctly, and in some I did not. Can you do better? Editor's Note: By analyzing his games, Sam went on to become a Grandmaster and the 2018 US Champion!

  • Centralized king with rooks onboard

    The goal in this position, as in the rest of this course, is to find the most accurate move. I won't be telling you if that means checkmate in 2 moves or somehow force a barely drawn endgame.

    • 3 challenges
  • A dream Catalan

    This position is every Catalan player's dream. How should White continue?

    • 4 challenges
  • A Multi-Purpose Plan

    Both sides have their obvious trumps. How should Black continue?

    • 1 challenge
  • Outposts

    In a Ruy Lopez, both sides have ended up with symmetrical pawn structures, save the fact that black has a weak d5 square. How should he proceed?

    • 1 challenge
  • Holding on

    18 moves into the game I had White in a tough position. Can you survive?

    • 6 challenges
  • To draw or not to draw?

    Black faces a difficult decision.

    • 2 challenges
  • Active defense

    Try to find White's best defense.

    • 1 challenge
  • An unexpected tactic

    Find the best way for White to continue.

    • 2 challenges
  • Prophylaxis and attack

    White enjoys the bishop pair and a better pawn structure, but it is not so obvious how to continue.

    • 3 challenges
  • White king in the center on move 25?!

    Black looks to have a big advantage, but how can you convert it?

    • 3 challenges
  • A tough rook ending

    White has only one winning plan, what is it?

    • 7 challenges
  • A Grunfeld theme

    Try to find Black's most accurate move.

    • 1 challenge
  • Breaking the barrier

    White is up a pawn but Black has good piece play.

    • 4 challenges
  • The finale

    None other than the greatest player or all time, Garry Kasparov, misjudged the position, claiming it was a dead draw. I do not think I have ever seen a more complex position with so few pieces on the board. This game is from the U18 World Championship.

    • 6 challenges
  • A nasty shock

    Find White's best play.

    • 1 challenge
  • An unbalanced ending

    Black just refused a draw offer and played Be4. How should White continue?

    • 2 challenges
  • A sharp Sicilian

    I played poorly this game on the black side of a Keres attack in the Sicilian defense.

    • 3 challenges
  • Technical play

    White is up an exchange, but Black has annoying pressure. How should White consolidate?

    • 2 challenges
  • Defend the king

    White is up a piece, but the king is in dire straits. Try to defend.

    • 3 challenges
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