Category Archives: Instructional Videos

The Mongolian Tactic Origin

“I will not return alive if I do not defeat the Jin army!”
General Muqali

Not long ago I wrote an article about the Mongolian tactic. You can review it HERE
At the end of it I asked the chess community to help find how this came about and got its name. I am happy one of our fellow chess enthusiasts was kind enough to send me more information. Thank you Martin for sharing it! I have done a copy and paste of his message below for everyone’s benefit. One final quick note before passing the floor to Martin; the Mongolian player’s name mentioned by Yasser was Lhamsuren Myagmarsuren. Hope you will find this useful and please keep your feedback coming!

“This is a short reply to the article “The Mongolian Tactic” where you have asked for the actual origin of the name “Mongolian Tactic” for the tactic you have shown in the same article. As you have pointed out GM Yasser Seirawan states that the name comes from Bobby Fischer. Here is a teaching video on YouTube where he explaines the origin of the name (from Minute 34:30 to 40:30).
Spoiler from here (better watch the video as an explanation because of the amusing story): in a tournament Bobby Fischer was facing some Mongolian player with a very difficult name. After asking multiple times for the name he simply wrote “Mongolian” on his table. This guy was the one who used this tactic in there matches. Greetings, Martin”

Valer Eugen Demian

World Rapid Chess Championship

The FIDE World Rapid Chess Championship 2014 recently concluded with Magnus Carlsen winning, followed by Fabiano Caruana in 2nd place and Viswanathan Anand in 3rd.

There was an interesting endgame between the FIDE World Champion, Carlsen, and former World Champion, Anand. Carlsen uncharacteristically went wrong in an ending. In taking a pawn with his knight he missed a simple rook move that skewered his bishop and knight. Anyone can make such mistakes, especially in rapid chess, but when the World Champion does it, it’s called a blunder! Despite this loss, it wasn’t enough to stop Carlsen becoming the 2014 World Rapid Champion. You can view the ending play with commentary on the clip below.

Angus James

Hilarious Chess Fight

With the sad passing of English comedian Rik Mayall, it would be remiss not to repeat the chess clip from the BBC TV series Bottom. Rik’s character plays chess with Adrian Edmondson’s character, but it quickly deteriorates into a fight. It never fails to make me laugh, but I can’t claim it will improve your chess…

Angus James

Back To Basics

Magnus Carlsen recently launched an Official YouTube Channel, following his successful challenge for the World Championship.

It is good to see that he is starting with the basics. His first training video concerns the three things that players should be thinking about in the opening phase of the game, namely, development, king safety and central square control. He explains these eloquently in the video below.

This is all pretty standard training stuff, which any chess coach teaching junior beginners will cover. But it is good to see short training videos like these online, easily accessible to all. Perhaps more non-chess players will be encouraged by these short videos to give chess a try.

Despite how simple the advice is on the video, it is amazing how many experienced players get into trouble by not following this advice. For example, many games see players never castling, or launching attacks before completing development, or attacking on the side and neglecting the centre. Sometimes the simplest advice is the most difficult to follow, for amateur and master alike.

Angus James

Gibraltar Masterclasses

The Gibraltar International Chess Festival is widely hailed as the world’s premier Open chess tournament. This year’s festival was the 12th and was the biggest yet, with over 70 Grandmasters participating from all over the world. All week the tournament features interesting side events, including Masterclasses from some of the players. There are video clips available for the following Masterclasses here:

1) Nigel Short & Elisabeth Paehtz discuss their round 2 games.

2) Vassily Ivanchuk discusses his games in the FIDE candidates and other interesting ideas.

3) WGM Natalia Pogonina and GM Li Chao discuss their round 7 games with Tournament Director Stuart Conquest.

4) Maxime Vachier-Lagrave discusses a game from 2013 with Stuart Conquest and takes questions from the audience.

The Ivanchuk one features a fascinating analysis of five games he played in a match in Riga in 1991 vs Leonid Yudisan and lasts 1 hour 37 minutes.

Angus James

A Simple Slip, A Ferocious Attack

I was watching Nigel’s DVD for ChessBase on the Exchange Variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. This is one of my favorite ChessBase DVDs. Rather than focusing on long variations, this is a DVD that is all about ideas and plans. It’s an excellent openings DVD for improving chess players.

One of the clips goes through a game fragment from Mark Taimanov and Rashid Nezhmetdinov. The fragment was from the Under 21 USSR Championship, played in 1954 in Kiev. This is a very instructive game because Mark Taimanov decides to shift pieces over to the queenside to support his minority attack. What he missed was just how quickly Black could whip up a kingside attack. The game demonstrates how a player needs to pay attention not only to his own plans and ideas but also the opponent’s opportunities to initiate counterplay.

Glenn Mitchell

No Surprises, Please

Chess players don’t like to be surprised – unless it’s a pleasant surprise of course like a massive blunder from an opponent. Knowing what to expect is important – information increases confidence. A whole industry has grown in the chess world devoted to preparing players for battle. For example, chess databases – to prep for your opponents and learn using instructive games; and chess openings trends/surveys, like Chess Informant and New in Chess SOS.

Some players make it their game-plan to surprise their opponent as much as possible and disrupt whatever plans they had in mind. For example, playing off-beat openings, choosing unusual plans, playing some home-brew opening that departs from theory early. But these strategies are in themselves predictable to a degree, particularly if you know what your opponent is like. So, you can even prepare for the unexpected… or try to get in your surprise first.

However, in general I don’t think improvers and intermediate players need to worry about  preparation of this kind. It is probably unhelpful to think in terms of tricking your opponent in some way (forget the Fried Liver Attack), instead just play logical moves according to what the position demands. Focus on solid plans and forget the one-move cheapos that lead nowhere. Of course this is easier said than done – but young players learn with enough practise against decent opponents that one-move cheapos won’t work, they need to think further ahead.

Using databases as a learning tool to find instructive games can be useful for improvers though. Finding the right example games can be difficult – rather like trying to fill a little cup from a tsunami of games. The most recent games are not necessarily the most instructive. You either need to be prepared to search for quite some time, or preferably rely upon a coach or very strong player to find the most instructive games for you to study, or refer to books that have done this for you.

At club level it is important to make sure you learn from mistakes in your games – and develop strategies to avoid the same mistakes happening again. This comes from analysing your games with your opponents, with other club players, with a coach, or at home with the help of a chess engine. With experience, it will become much more difficult to surprise you.

As players improve and get into the very strong/master level, putting in a little bit of time to prepare for opponents can pay dividends. You can make use of the resources mentioned above and it might assist you with reaching your goals. But make sure you don’t wear yourself out in advance – you need plenty of energy at the board itself in case the unexpected still occurs!

This short film about Kasparov mentions his dislike of surprises.

Angus James

British Game of the Day

At the time of writing, the 100th British Chess Championships is underway in Torquay, Devon. The Game of the Day coverage produced by IM Andrew Martin is available free to watch here:

I think Andrew provides some interesting insights into the thinking and psychology of strong players as he comments on these games. I particularly like his analysis of the Round 1 encounter between top seed GM Gawain Jones and lower half of the draw player John Reid.

Angus James

A Great Source Of Instructional Videos

There are some terrific sources of instructional content on the internet and here’s a source that everyone should be aware of. English International Master Andrew Martin has a well deserved reputation of being one of the best presenters of chess videos, his relaxed and humorous style providing an nice backdrop to the chess instruction. On Youtube Andrew has created a Yateley Manor Chess Master Channel which currently has 204 videos. Here’s Andrew’s most recent offering:

Nigel Davies