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Improve your Chess

IM Sam Shankland Śr. ranking: 2090 Różne

Hello, my name is Sam Shankland and I designed this Chess Mentor 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. There is no specific part of the game I focus on, as to win at chess against strong players it is usually required to play a complete game, not just tactics or positional or technical play. For example, against a weak player a winning attack will usually end in checkmate. Against a strong player, a winning attack may end up in an exchange-up endgame because he found more defensive resources to keep him alive, albeit with a worse or lost position. Some of these problems are extremely difficult, and most of them come from games where the average rating of the players is above 2500 FIDE, the grandmaster level. Some of the problems are quite simple, and some are harder. Often I will say something like "Find white's best move" in the intro- you will have to figure out if that is a positional gain, a tactical win, a way to force a drawn ending, or many other possible outcomes. Do not be discouraged if you do not do too well- again, these are hard problems. By the end I hope you will not only understand chess better in general, but that you will also be able to pinpoint which areas of your game need work. Enjoy! Sam Shankland

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  • 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.
  • A dream Catalan

    This position is every Catalan player's dream. How should white continue?
  • A Multi-Purpose Plan

    Both sides have their obvious trumps. How should black continue?
  • 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?
  • Holding on

    18 moves into the game white found himself in terrible shape. Try to defend his position.
  • To draw or not to draw?

    Black faces a difficult decision.
  • Active defense

    Try to find white's best defense.
  • An unexpected tactic

    Find the best way for white to continue.
  • A total mess

    It is move 37 and white was way too short on time to find the correct play here.
  • Prophylaxis and attack

    White enjoys the bishop pair and a better pawn structure, but it is not so obvious how he will continue.
  • White king in the center on move 25?!

    Black looks to have a big advantage, but how will he convert it?
  • A tough rook ending

    White has only one winning plan, what is it?
  • A Grunfeld theme

    Try to find Black's most accurate move.
  • Breaking the barrier

    White is up a pawn but black has good piece play.
  • 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. Unfortunately with chess mentor we can only go down one variation, but I will explain the side variations in the comments.
  • A nasty shock

    Find white's best play.
  • An unbalanced ending

    Black just refused a draw offer and played Be4. How should white continue?
  • A sharp Sicilian

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

    White is up an exchange, but black has annoying pressure. How should white consolidate?
  • Defend the king

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

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