Author Archives: AshvinC

Teaching Kids Through Classical Games (6)

It’s generally good advice to develop rapidly and castle early in the opening. If you fail to do so the consequences can be very costly. In a similar fashion, it is very useful to find a move which hinders the opponent’s smooth development, or keeps his king in the center. The following game illustrates this very well:

Schulten,John William – Morphy,Paul
New York, 1857

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 e4 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.d3 Bb4 6.Bd2 e3

Q: Describe the logic behind this sacrifice.
A: It opens e file by force which can be used by black’s rook late in the game. Black is ready to castle on next move while white has not developed his king side pieces that creates major difference here.

7.Bxe3 0–0 8.Bd2

Trying to castle long is also not good idea, eg 8.Qd2 Nxd5 9.0–0–0 Bxc3 10.bxc3 leaves White’s queenside shattered.

8…Bxc3 9.bxc3

9.Bxc3 wouldn’t improve the position either as 9…Re8+ 10.Be2 Nxd5 11.Qd2 Bg4 12.0–0–0 Nxc3 13.bxc3 Be6

9…Re8+ 10.Be2 Bg4 11.c4 c6

Another pawn sac by Morphy in order to bring his knight(Undeveloped piece) into the game with attack.


12.d6 would be better as it prevents black’s knight from occupying the d4 square.

12…Nxc6 13.Kf1

13.Bc3 Nd4 14.Bxd4 Qxd4 15.Rb1 loses a piece by force. Now White has unpinned his bishop but the cost is very high. Find a move which wins the piece!


It is often a good idea to exchange a pinned piece in order to take benefit from the pin.

14.Nxe2 Nd4 15.Qb1 Bxe2+ 16.Kf2?

16.Ke1 is better than the move played in the game, though it is lost anyway. Now the knight joins the attack with check.

16…Ng4+ 17.Kg1

Now Black just needs his queen in. Find the move!


This vacates d4 square for queen.

18.gxf3 Qd4+ 19.Kg2 Qf2+ 20.Kh3 Qxf3+

And Black mates in 3.


Ashvin Chauhan


Teaching Kids Through Classical Games (5)

Meek,Alexander Beaufort – Morphy,Paul

This game is ideal for explaining the general rules of openings.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Bc4
This is a gambit. The reason behind playing gambit is to develop forces rapidly whilst on the other hand the opponent is investing a move to capture the material (usually a pawn).

Q: What are the general strategies to play against gambits?
A: In the opening players try to dominate the center so it is good to accept a center pawn rather than wing pawn. Another strategy could be to return the extra material at the right time.

4…Bc5 5.Ng5?!

A mistake, in the opening you should try to introduce a new piece into the battle with each move. By moving the same piece here white is losing control of the center too.

Q: How would you defend black’s position, with Ne5 or Nh6?
A: Nh6 is the right one as with this move you are defending with developing move whereas Ne5 is a mistake as you are moving same piece twice without any proper reason.


5…Ne5? 6.Nxf7 Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5(Position 1)

6.Nxf7? Nxf7 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qh5+ g6 9.Qxc5 (Position 2)

Now compare position 1 with position 2.

Q: Which one is better for black?
A: Position 2. In position 1 your knight is still at g8 while in position 2 it is already been developed.


Attacking the queen and therefore getting time to develop another piece on the next move.

10.Qb5 Re8!

Pressure on the center. In general it is good to place rook on files where opponent king or queen is placed.


This move only helps Black. 0–0 was better instead.


Using the fact that e4 pawn is pinned.

12.f3 Na5

This forces White to unpin Black’s d5 pawn.

13.Qd3 dxe4 14.fxe4 Qh4+ 15.g3 Rxe4+

15…Qxe4+ is also a winning endgame but Morphy prefers Rxe4.

16.Kf2 Qe7 17.Nd2?

Q: How would you punish this mistake?
A : It is necessary to protect the e2 square in order to avoid mating net with Re2+ followed by Bh3 and so on. Here Morphy punishes his opponent with Re3.

17…Re3! 18.Qb5

18.Qxd4 Re2+ 19.Kg1 Bh3 etc.

18…c6! 19.Qf1

19.Qxa5 Re2+ is also winning after 20.Kf3 Qe3#, 20.Kg1 Qe3+ 21.Kf1 Qf2# or 20.Kf1 Re1+ 21.Kg2 Qe2#.

19…Bh3! 20.Qd1

Or 20.Qxh3 Re2+ 21.Kg1 (21.Kf3 Qe3+ 22.Kg4 h5+) 21…Qe3+.


Another piece into the battle, remember this.

21.Nf3 Ke8


Ashvin Chauhan


Teaching Kids Through Classical Games (4)

This gem throws some lights on the difference between fake development and real development.
The checkmate Patterns covered are:
1. Queen on h6, bishop on b1-h8 diagonal and no defender of f7.
2. Queen h6 and rook along the g file

I am aiming to present this game only to show how it can be used to teach kids:

Tarrasch, S – Mieses, J [C10]
Berlin, 1916

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Bd3 Be7 7.0–0 Nxe4 8.Bxe4 Nf6

Q : Is it good to exchange a light square bishop for a knight?
A : No, it is a good Bishop and very active one, compared to its counterpart.

9.Bd3 b6

Q : Is it right time to play b6 in order to develop bishop?
A : No it is not the right time to play b6 as now White can play very energetically, hindering the development of black’s light square bishop and castling. The immediate 0–0 was better.


Beginners have been advised to not to move same piece twice in the opening. But in chess there are no universal rules, even though you can create many rules for better playing. Similarly any Bishop move here would be development for the sake of development. However, with the knight on e5 White is able to make Black’s development very difficult.


10…Bb7 11.Bb5+ Kf8 costs Black his right to castle.

11.Nc6 Qd6 12.Qf3

Q: Can Black play Bb7 ?
A: No, because Nxe7+ wins a piece. Thus Black is forced to play Bd7 and now we can see that with careful play White manages to take the driving seat.

12…Bd7 13.Nxe7+ Qxe7 14.Bg5 Rac8 15.Rfe1

Q : What is the idea behind Re1?
A : A rook lift. Via this rook lift white brings one more piece into the attack, a very important idea to remember.

15…Rfe8 16.Qh3 Qd6

If 16…g6 17.Qh4 Kg7 18.Re4 or 16…h6 17.Bxh6 gxh6 18.Qxh6, and Black is paralysed.

17.Bxf6 gxf6

Q : Would it be good to play Qxh7 or there is something better? Try to see the reasoning behind Black’s Qd6 move.
A : It is good but there is a much better move in Qh6. This is because black’s idea is to find shelter on e7 and try to generate some counter play on g and h file. Black is also trying to protect the g7 square with Qxd4.


This is typical mating pattern, a queen on h6 and bishop on b1–h7 diagonal with no defender of f7. For example 18…a6 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 20.Bg6+ Kg8 21.Qh7+ Kf8 22.Qxf7#, which is a pattern you should study more closely. Coaches should provide more examples on the same theme.

18…f5 19.Re3 Qxd4 20.c3

In order to prevent checkmate the Black queen has to stay on the a1–h8 diagonal. But now there is no good square to stay on so Black has to sacrifice the queen. Instead he choose to throw in the towel.

Better was 20.Rg3+ Kh8 21.c3 Qe5 22.f4 and its over.


Ashvin Chauhan


Teaching Kids Through Classical Games (3)

Here’s another game that’s useful for teaching kids through classical games. This game demonstrates some very instructive play based on a basic queen and bishop checkmate pattern.

As with the last time please note that I am presenting this game just to show its value in teaching kids. But anybody who would like to play d4, must study this game.

Capablanca – J-Jaffe

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e3

By playing e3, White is temporarily shutting in his dark square bishop.

Q: How would you bring that piece into the game?
A: Usually I got answers like via b2, d2 or a3. But perhaps best way is to move timely e3-e4 after which you can decide where to place the bishop.

3…c6 4.c4 e6 5.Nc3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 Bd6

Here Black should play 6…dxc4 which is a kind of tempo gaining move. But on the other hand White would then have a central majority. If White succeeds in playing e3-e4-e5, deflecting the key defender and gaining space on kingside, he would have good chances to launch a king side attack. This kind of plan is something to watch out for in similar positions.

7.0–0 0–0 8.e4 dxe4

It was good to take on c4 first and then to play e5.

9.Nxe4 Nxe4 10.Bxe4 Nf6

Q: Where would you place your Bishop and why?
A: Bc2, in order to create a queen and bishop battery on b1–h7 diagonal.

Q: Then Why not on b1?
A: On b1 it blocks the queen’s rook in.

11.Bc2 h6

White plan is very simple, remove the key defender and checkmate black along b1–h7 diagonal.

12.b3 b6 13.Bb2 Bb7 14.Qd3 g6

Look closely at the pawn structure around Black’s king. It is very weak. In order to access Black’s king you need to sacrifice on e6 or g6.

15.Rae1 Nh5

Defending tactically against Rxe6.


Not only attacking h6, but also preventing Nf4 which makes Rxe6 a threat. 16.Rxe6 immediately would have been met by Nf4.

16…Kg7 17.Rxe6

This rook is untouchable because of mate in 2.

17…Nf6 18.Ne5 c5

The rook still can’t be taken because 19.Qxg6+ gives White a winning attack.

19.Bxh6+ Kxh6 20.Nxf7+


Mate will follow.

Ashvin Chauhan


Teaching Kids Through Classical Games (2)

This my follow up article about teaching kids through classic games. The game we’ll look at this time is my ideal game for attacking a fianchetto formation with opposite side castling.

What you can learn through this gem is:
– The ideal squares for your pieces
– Attacking a fianchetto formation by opening up the h-file or a-file)
– Flexible moves in the opening

As with last time please note that I am presenting this game just to show its value in teaching kids.

Steinitz, William – Mongredien, Augustus
London, 1863

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c3 b6

Q: Why has …b6 been played?
A: To develop Bb7 and that attacks e4 pawn.

Q: How would you save that pawn?
A: There are at least two alternatives. So in order to decide on the move here we will follow the principle of playing the most flexible move. You can see that Knight on b1 has only sensible move (Nd2) so we should defend pawn with Nd2 and stay flexible with the king’s bishop. Meanwhile the problem with Nd2 is that it is blocks our bishop on c1, so Be3 is played first.

4.Be3 Bb7 5.Nd2 d6 6.Ngf3 e5 7.dxe5

Q: Why has dxe5 has been played?
A: With dxe5 we are fixing his pawn on e5 which limits Black’s dark square Bishop’s activity while pawn on e4 is obstructing Black’s light square Bishop’s activity. And now compare our Bishops. So here decision has not been taken with concrete variation but with applying soft reasoning/logic.]

7…dxe5 8.Bc4 Ne7

Here the computer suggests 9.Bxf7+ Kxf7 10.Qb3+ Kf8 11.Ng5 Qe8 12.Ne6+ and so on, but we are not here to find those tactical moves.


Q: Why Qe2?
A: White is not only preparing 0–0–0, if Black castles short it also prevents Ba6.

9…0–0 10.h4

This is a typical way to break through against a fianchetto formation as the pawn on g6 gives White a lever with h4-h5, opening the h-file for his rook.

10…Nd7 11.h5 c5 12.hxg6 Nxg6 13.0–0–0

Q: What is the main purpose of the move?
A: Mainly it is bringing another rook into the game. It also saves the e5 pawn indirectly based on a pin.

13…a6 14.Ng5 Nf6 15.Nxh7!

A blow!

15…Nxh7 16.Rxh7 Kxh7 17.Qh5+ Kg8 18.Rh1 Re8 19.Qxg6

T whole combination was based on the pin on the f7 pawn.

19…Qf6 20.Bxf7+ Qxf7

How can you win Black’s Queen based on pin?

21.Rh8+ Kxh8 22.Qxf7


Ashvin Chauhan


Teaching Kids Through Classic Games

You might have heard almost everywhere that studying classic will improve your chess. Here is one of my favorite games.

Here’s what you can learn though this gem:

– Rapid development
– Building up an attack
– The pin and its usage
– A checkmate pattern with Rook and Bishop

Note that I am presenting this game just to show its value in teaching kids, so you won’t find detailed analysis here!

Paul Morphy Vs. Carl I, 1858 Paris

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4?

The only purpose behind this move is to exchange Bishop against Knight, which is dubious while playing an open game. You should try to keep your Bishop in Open Positions.

4.dxe5 Bxf3

4…dxe5 5.Qxd8+ Kxd8 6.Nxe5 wins for White.

5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6?

Find out why Nf6 is not good move with the help of double attack. 6…Qf6 was better.

7.Qb3 Qe7

Try to see idea behind Qe7. What is Black’s plan? 7…Qd7 8.Qxb7 Qc6 loses the queen after 9.Bb5.


8.Qxb7 was met by 8…Qb4+. Black’s Plan was to exchange Queens at the cost of a pawn so 8. Nc3 avoids exchange of Queens and brining one more piece into action.

8…c6 9.Bg5 b5?

Now compare both sides, White has developed his all minor pieces and his Rooks are ready to join then in just one move by castling long. 9…Qc7 was better.

10.Nxb5! cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7

11…Kd8 12.0–0–0+ wins for White.

12.0–0–0 Rd8 13.Rxd7!

This is very important concept of getting advantage of pin. Changing Pinned piece! With this move white is bringing his last piece into the action with tempo.

13…Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+

15.Qxe6+ fxe6 16.Bxf6 also wins for White.


15…Qxd7 was forced after which 16.Qb8+ Ke7 17.Qxe5+ is winning for White.


Another important concept of Pin. Pin against Square. Knight is pinned against d8 (checkmate) Square.

16…Nxb8 17.Rd8#


Ashvin Chauhan


Pawn Mass

A few days ago I was watching a game played between Neiksans (2567) and Geir Sune (2453). On move number 20 white sacrificed his bishop for 2 pawns on a6. After a long thought I came to the conclusion that white wanted to create a pawn mass on the ‘b’ and ‘c’ files. Then on move 28 Black played …Rb8 and white rejected the exchange of rooks and played Rxf7. At first glance it looks dubious to exchange the last major and active piece, but White had very logical reasons for not exchanging the rook.

So why did White not exchange the rook?
1) It is last major piece on the board.
2) The rook is very active on 7th rank and has targets.

Eventually game was ended in a draw after 64 moves.

I was watching this game on Playchess and doing a ‘guess the move’ exercise (this is exciting and fun while doing it with a live game). I toyed with the idea of playing Rxb8 on move 29 with following considerations:
1) Black Knight on g3 is awkwardly placed so you can get tempo with e4 after Rxb8.
2) With the e4 lever you can create a strong pawn mass.
3) Black’s Rook is not participating in the main battle area.

Out of curiosity I checked my analysis with Fritz, where the engine didn’t like my moves at first, but after few moves it liked White’s position. I will not publish my analysis here as I want readers to do it on their own.

Lessons Learned

1) Like any tactical shot, the strength of a pawn mass must be analysed thoroughly.
2) A pawn mass is very powerful if it creates space for you and cramps opponent position, creates a mating net or the opponent has difficulty in bringing his pieces or additional piece into the action because of it.

This lesson is based on my experience; spend some more time on a move which looks dubious and illogical at first glance. Often you will find the logic in it after further study.

Ashvin Chauhan


Be Rational

In order to play good chess you need to be rational at each and every moment of a game. A slight compromise can cause a lot of damage. What I mean by this will become clear with the following examples and discussion:

This is my game against GM Thipsay Praveen M. During the game I was comfortable until move 29. On move 30 I played …c4 and realised that now his rook will be active on the ‘b’ file and that puts pressure on me, even though it was not bad move. I then lost the game in the next five moves.

After the tournament, while analysing my games, I came to the conclusion that if he was not GM, I wouldn’t have made the mistakes I did. It happens with most chess players that rather playing the positions we are people! Here I was playing against a much higher rated player but similar things can happen when you are playing much lower rated player, consequently underestimating his strength.

Here is the example in whichI was playing a lower rated player. I could have won with a6 but rejected this idea because during last few moves he had created some play on king-side. The main reason for losing this game was that I had responded to the threats which I should not.

The lesson to be learned is to be rational and play the positions rather than the person sitting opposite you. On each and every move the position changes and you should play it rationally. Don’t be influenced by an opponent’s rating or play.

Ashvin Chauhan


Keeping Kids Interested In Chess

When teaching kids how the pieces move they can get bored if we only use puzzles. They are eager to start playing but this is pointless when they don’t know how the pieces move. The solution is to introduce different games rather than a full chess game which will serve the purpose of playing and learning together. Here are some examples which you can introduce after explaining that particular piece movement and capture.

1. Pawn Game: Both players have just pawns. The winner is the one who promotes a pawn first. As a coach you can also explain the concept of support and the numbers of attackers against the numbers of defenders.

2. Tom & Jerry Game:This is the game which kids like the most. The queen is the Tom and the pawns are the jerrys and order to win a game Tom has to capture every Jerry while the Jerrys’ goal is to reach on the other side of the board. Here the coach must teach kids a double attack with the queen.

3. Pawns vs. Pieces (Other than Queen or King): Usually I prefer that the number of pawns has the same as value of the piece.

Rook vs Pawns: The rules are the same as tom and Jerry game but as a coach you should explained them when to attack pawns from front, rear and side.

Knight vs Pawns or Bishop vs Pawns: Before the game coach must teach kids some patterns to stop pawns using bishop or knight. For example white’s pawns are on a6, b5 and c4 then bishop should be on g1-a7 diagonal.

4. Trapping the Knight: This one is quite interesting, the winner is the player who takes fewer moves to capture the knight. Usually we start with queen vs. knight and then progress on to rook and bishop vs. knight.

5. The Knight Tour: This is a tough game where knight has to visit each square of the board but once only.

The main purpose of these games is to keep chess interesting.

Ashvin Chauhan


Game Analysis, Its Outcomes And Improvement

People should analyse their games in order to improve at chess. But how should they go about this? First and foremost you must have good record of your game. What I mean by a good record is that you should write down ideas behind each move shortly after finishing the game.

Blunder checks and tactical oversights are best done with a computer program, which can help a lot. Once you know what you have missed tactically what else can you do? Here I have an idea. Categorize your games according to opening and generate tactical puzzles using your games. This can be done with Fritz. Soon you will notice any pattern of error in a particular opening and practicing those puzzles repeatedly will help you much more than solving tactical puzzles from a book.

Levers: Master play is based on pawn structure so it is wise to analyse which pawn levers you and your opponent missed in the relation of piece placement and time. I think this is essential in developing middle game play and positional play.

Compare your ideas with those of a stronger player or coach. For example you prefer to play Rfe8 in order to bring rook into action but your coach want you to play Rfe8 in order to bring Nf6-d7-f8 to protect your king. The moves are the same but with different reasoning behind them. This will help you understand the position better and the logic behind the move played.

Ashvin Chauhan