Lessons

Master Your Technique

Master Your Technique

Learn how to turn a complicated middlegame into a winning ending!

Are you an advanced player, looking to make it to the next level? This module contains rich and thoroughly analyzed lessons put together by FM Thomas Wolski. The majority of these lessons focus on complex middlegame positions, the art of transition from the middlegame to the ending, and on endings themselves. This course is aimed at all players from the intermediate level to masters. Start mastering your technique today!

Here is what you will learn:

  • Practice complex middlegame and endgame calculations!
  • Practice converting good positions into a win!
  • Learn from the games of great players, including World Champions!

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Tal - Uhlmann

Tal - Uhlmann

Uhlmann played a double question mark blunder that should have lost the game immediately, but Tal failed to take notice of the bluff's refutation as well. Here you have a rare chance to improve on the play of the wizard from Riga.
6 Challenges
Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire

This problem features a number of pins and aims to make you familiar with the tactics surrounding them.
3 Challenges
The Sozin Trap

The Sozin Trap

The position shown can be reached via a variety of move orders and comes from a variation called the Sozin Attack against the Sicilian Defense.
5 Challenges
Loose Strings

Loose Strings

This position arose out of a Slav Exchange Variation in the game Petrosian - Sveshnikov, USSR Championship 1976.
9 Challenges
Precipitous Edge

Precipitous Edge

This position occurred in the game De San Mateo - Shchekachev.
8 Challenges
The Base of a Pawn Chain

The Base of a Pawn Chain

The base of a pawn chain is the pawn on whose support all other pawns rest. Once the base falls, a pawn chain often collapses.
11 Challenges
Deceptive Activity

Deceptive Activity

Endings with bishops of the same color can be some of the most dynamic endings.
10 Challenges
Persistent Space Advantage

Persistent Space Advantage

The following position occurred in the 1996 Olympiad in Armenia between Illescas Cordoba, playing for Spain, against Mohr from Slovenia.
14 Challenges
Rapid Counterplay

Rapid Counterplay

This position occurred in a recent game at the 1997 Northern California State Championship. Isaac Margulis, playing with the White pieces, had just captured a black pawn on h6 with his queen.
6 Challenges
Sicilian Endgame Advantage

Sicilian Endgame Advantage

It is often said that Sicilian endgames tend to favor Black if White has not achieved any structural binds. Here Black's bishop pair and the strong pawn center give Black reasons to be optimistic.
13 Challenges
Patience pays off

Patience pays off

The following position occurred in a fifth round game of the 1996 North American Open in Las Vegas between myself, playing the White pieces, and GM Larry Christiansen.
10 Challenges
Helpless Queens

Helpless Queens

The following position arose in the game Grabarczyk-Matlak, played in Poland in 1995.
7 Challenges
Kupreichik - Lobron

Kupreichik - Lobron

Grandmaster Viktor Kupreichik from Belorussia, playing the White pieces, is known for his unconventional, active approach. German Grandmaster Eric Lobron is also tactically gifted and a great speed player.
6 Challenges
Hernandez-Wolski

Hernandez-Wolski

In a previous game against me, Rodolfo Hernandez had tried to crack my Sicilian Defense, but this time he hoped to outmaneuver me in an English Opening.
13 Challenges
Jansa-Shirov

Jansa-Shirov

Alexej Shirov is a young, talented tactician who thrives when many pieces are hanging loose on the board.
13 Challenges
Queen and Knight versus King and Queen

Queen and Knight versus King and Queen

This problem originated as a possible side variation from the game Jansa-Shirov, European Team Championship 1996. With the White knight stranded on b7, Black can focus his attention on the White king.
5 Challenges
Abandoned king

Abandoned king

This position occurred in the 1996 Olympiad in Armenia. Playing with the Black pieces, Vesselin Topalov from Bulgaria was able to get to the abandoned White king.
9 Challenges
Crowded Corner

Crowded Corner

This position occurred in a game during the 1993 Southern California Closed Championship between IM David Strauss, playing the White pieces, and myself.
5 Challenges
Wheeler-Wolski: Pawn Majorities on Different Sides

Wheeler-Wolski: Pawn Majorities on Different Sides

Both sides will obtain a four versus two pawn advantage on one side of the board. This problem will illustrate how White takes advantage of faulty play by Black.
13 Challenges
Pawn Avalanche

Pawn Avalanche

Black can achieve a winning position only with sterling play.
12 Challenges
Outside Passed Pawn

Outside Passed Pawn

Black has just converted his active piece play into a much superior rook and pawn ending. However, a somewhat ironic saying states that all rook endings are drawn.
11 Challenges
Zielinska-Hunt

Zielinska-Hunt

This position was reached in a game of the World Championship for girls under the age of eighteen. Held in Spain in 1996, this tournament brings together the most promising young players from around the globe.
6 Challenges
Awkward defensive pieces

Awkward defensive pieces

This position occurred in the game Wolski- Duckworth in the 1993 Southern California State Championship.
5 Challenges
Thorn in King's Eye

Thorn in King's Eye

This position occurred in the game Topalov- Ivanchuk in the strong 1996 Las Palmas tournament.
9 Challenges
Withstanding The Pressure

Withstanding The Pressure

This position could have occurred in a variation of the game Illescas Cordoba-Mohr from the 1996 Olympiad in Armenia. Now it is your goal to survive White's attack.
12 Challenges
The best Defense is Offense

The best Defense is Offense

This position occurred in the game Yusupov- Kasparov, Novgorod 1995. PCA World Champion Gary Kasparov just advanced his pawn to b4 in order to pressure White's queenside.
13 Challenges
Kasparov's Touch

Kasparov's Touch

This position occurred in the final stages of the game Yusupov-Kasparov, Novgorod 1995. After Yusupov had missed a way to draw this game by starting a counterattack against Black's king.
11 Challenges
Space advantage vs. bishop pair

Space advantage vs. bishop pair

This position occurred in the game A. Yermolinsky - P.Blatny, Groningen 1996. We are interested in understanding the merits of White's space advantage vs. Black's bishop pair.
16 Challenges
Dautov - Timoshchenko (1)

Dautov - Timoshchenko (1)

Grandmaster Rustem Dautov, playing the White pieces, is of Russian origin and played for the first time for his new country (Germany). Grandmaster Gennadi Timoshchenko played under a new (Slovakian) flag.
9 Challenges
Dautov - Timoshchenko (2)

Dautov - Timoshchenko (2)

In another challenge, we saw how White could have won this game in the quickest and most efficient fashion. Here I want to present the actual finish.
7 Challenges
Countercheck

Countercheck

This position did not arise in an actual game, but rather from my first efforts at composing a problem.
5 Challenges
Active Pieces in a Rook Ending

Active Pieces in a Rook Ending

Rook endings are some of the hardest endings in chess. This is because there are so many different themes and concepts to master.
24 Challenges
The Open File

The Open File

In this ending position, taken from the game Ree-Cornelis, Siegen Olympiad 1970, White has the far more active pieces, but Black has no unprotected weaknesses.
10 Challenges
Gelfand-Kramnik, European Team Championship

Gelfand-Kramnik, European Team Championship

Vladimir Kramnik of Russia (age 22) has been the frontrunner among a group of young strong players that aim to challenge the perennial World Champions Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov.
7 Challenges
Lightning Surprise

Lightning Surprise

This position occurred in the game Minasian- Hertneck during a friendly match between the national teams of Armenia and Germany in 1996.
7 Challenges
The Last Champion of the Soviet Union

The Last Champion of the Soviet Union

Artashes Minasian was the last champion of the Soviet Union in 1991 before it dissolved into its many republics.
10 Challenges
The king's weak side

The king's weak side

This position occurred in the Northern California Championship between myself, playing the White pieces, and Richard Lobo, playing the Black pieces.
9 Challenges
Minor Pieces vs. Rooks

Minor Pieces vs. Rooks

This position occurred in the game Glek-Hall during the strong 1996 Vienna Open. Both sides are counting on the strength of their pins, but who can break the pin easier?
10 Challenges
Miraculous Turn

Miraculous Turn

The following position arose in a speed chess game played with my wife, Gina Sanchez!
7 Challenges
Rook vs. Bishop

Rook vs. Bishop

This endgame position occurred in A. Onichuk - J. Timman, Groningen Invitational 1996.
8 Challenges
Queenside Pawn Majority

Queenside Pawn Majority

One of the most common pawn majorities is a three on two queenside pawn majority (e.g. in a French Defense where Black trades the d5-pawn on e4 and the c5-pawn on d4).
18 Challenges
Georgiev-Topalov

Georgiev-Topalov

Vesselin Topalov from Bulgaria was the shooting star of 1996. He has won or tied for first in the prestigious tournaments of Amsterdam, Dos Hermanos, Novgorod, and Vienna and is currently ranked fourth in the world.
7 Challenges
Synchronistic Gallop

Synchronistic Gallop

Endgames often reveal one's true understanding about chess. Since there are so few pieces on the board, it becomes increasingly important to use one's pieces in the most versatile and accurate manner.
15 Challenges
A Heroic Knight

A Heroic Knight

Endings with imbalanced material often feature surprising twists and turns. Here Black should easily win with the extra three pawns, but his last move ...Nc4-d2? gives White a chance to fight back.
6 Challenges
The English Attack

The English Attack

The opening moves were 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f3 e6 7.Be3 b5 8.Qd2 Bb7 9.g4 h6 10.0-0-0 Qc7?! (10...Nbd7 is more common and safer) 11.h4 d5 12.Bh3 e5.
15 Challenges
Crippling Pin

Crippling Pin

Even without queens on the board, a king can become subject to mate threats. This position could have occurred in the game Glek-Hall, Vienna 1996.
9 Challenges
Central Breakthrough

Central Breakthrough

This position occurred in the game Becerra- Spangenberg, Matanzas 1994. White has pressure on Black's center, but Black is trying to eliminate the bothersome knight.
8 Challenges
Becerra-Spangenberg, Matanzas 1994 - Variation

Becerra-Spangenberg, Matanzas 1994 - Variation

This position could have occurred in the game Becerra-Spangenberg, Matanzas 1994. Black just refused to accept White's knight sacrifice on d6, and instead played ...Rf7-d7.
12 Challenges
Dynamic Compensation

Dynamic Compensation

Some of the hardest positions to assess and understand in chess arise from imbalanced positions. This complicated position occurred in the 1997 Northern California Closed Championship.
19 Challenges
Surprising Turn

Surprising Turn

This position could have occurred in the game Izumikawa-Wolski in the 1997 Northern California State Championship if Black had last played ...Bd6! and White would have responded with 0-0. Why would that have been risky for White?
15 Challenges
Converting Positional Advantages

Converting Positional Advantages

When one has a positional advantage of some kind, it is often necessary to be familiar with all sorts of tactical means to realize it.
7 Challenges
Transition to the Endgame

Transition to the Endgame

This position occurred in the game Botvinnik- Boleslavski, 1941. A White knight has just captured a Black bishop on d7 forcing a Black rook to recapture.
8 Challenges

Master Your Technique

Strategy
52 Lessons
No Videos
513 Challenges
Released November 11, 2007
56,772 Students