Category Archives: 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
1910

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.

16.Bc1

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+

1–0

Mate will follow.

Ashvin Chauhan

Share

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.

9.Qe2

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

1–0

Ashvin Chauhan

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

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

Share

Working on Combinative Skills

Perhaps the best way to improve combinative skill in practice is to focus on checks, captures and threats on each move whether it’s your move or the opponent’s. This is very easy to read but very hard to put into practice.

The reasons can be different, either poor training or just being too involved with a plan. And if that doesn’t happen, we might have different world champion!

Here is an example taken from one of Artur Yusupov’s books:

Yusupov rejected the move
Bf6-gf6
ef6-Ng6,
h5-Rg8,
hg6 – Rxg6
and played Bf4 and game was ended in a draw.

Yet as he himself explained, after Rxg6 he missed Qxg6 (a capture)- fxg6 and now f7, a threat which can’t be met.

For kids and amateurs I can see that poor training is the main cause; most coaches just recommend good tactical books for furnishing enough information on tactical motifs. But I prefer to be with kids while they are solving combinations of tactical exercises and continue hammering home the idea to look for checks, captures and threats on each move.

Another reason is poor chess vision, and the best way to improve in this area to play blindfold games with your partner or coach or to solve exercises without sight of the board.

Ashvin Chauhan

Share

Avoiding Time Trouble

“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.”
– Albert Einstein

If I talk about myself, I never face time trouble except in ‘blitz’ chess because of my habits, both good and bad. So I thought I’d share what I think are my good habits along with observations from the tournament hall of bad ones. Plus those I am trying to overcome:

1. Many of us have the habit of thinking only when our clock is ticking and relaxing in the opponent’s time. Sometimes it is good to take a break, though it is not always necessary.

2. Calculating the same variation again and again is something I have seen a lot. It often occurs when someone is not able to visualize the board properly and it often results in time trouble.

3. Taking too much time in opening can lead to time trouble. Of course if there is something new you should think about it, but when the moves are familiar to you it’s better to play more quickly and save time for critical moments.

4. Trying to see every detail in calculating can also lead to time trouble. There’s no need to calculate everything to the end, it is not possible for humans. It’s better to end your calculation when you feel position is comfortable for you.

5. Don’t try to force a position that’s not ready. In a simple position you can’t find a forced win over the board. You can do it at home with hours of analysis. Over the board you should coordinate your quality of move and time so play the optimal move rather than one that is necessarily the best.

Ashvin Chauhan

Share

Teaching Kids How To Trap Pieces

When teaching kids how to trap an opponent’s pieces, and not get their own trapped, I start with a very simple example:


Here White is able to win the pawn it is fixed on d5; in other words the pawn is not mobile. The same can be applied to a piece, and here is the most common example:

The knight is less mobile than other pieces and so it is very easy to trap it like this. To promote better understanding we ask kids to play a game where one has only knight and the other has a queen, the winner being the one who can trap the knight in the least number of moves. In a nut shell, if you can hamper or restrict opponent piece mobility there are more chances that you can win that piece.

A common way to trap a piece is by shutting it in with an obstructing piece. This often happens in practice, here’s an example with Black to move:

Here it would be a mistake to capture the g2 pawn because of Bg3, and white will win a rook on his next move. Of course I am not including any points like trapping the opponent’s bishop inside his pawn chain as it is not relevant when you first teach kids. It is very hard to trap a queen but this position often arises while playing against the French Defence.

Though I am not winning the queen here I am creating such threats that I can win some material. Capturing pawn on b2/b7 is also known as poisoned pawn variation in some openings.

Ashvin Chauhan

Share

Identify The Key Defender

Identifying the key defender can be a very useful technique, particularly when you are in attack. For example in this position (taken from The Encyclopedia Of Chess Combinations):

Here the queen sacrifice on f3 look very promising (it is often good to start your calculation with forcing moves as your opponent won’t get time to execute his plans) because it opens the g- file and increases the scope of bishop (f1-a6 diagonal) and knight. Then I calculate ….Qxf3, gxf3 Rg8+, Nxg8 Rxg8+ and notice that he can return the queen by playing Qg4. Even after Kf1 Ba6+ he can return the material. So I rejected that variation and looked around for something else, and note that Black has to do something as otherwise his own position is critical.

However we can conclude that the queen is the key defender if I want to play Qxf3.

With this in mind I looked position again and tried to see what happen if queen was not on the d-file or the h3-c8 diagonal. Now it is crystal clear you can deflect the queen by playing …Rxe7!, again this is a forcing move. It is also wise to see whether your opponent has a good intermediate check before executing this kind of sacrifice.

Now you know how to try to solve such positions.

Ashvin Chauhan

Share