I spent last weekend at the Chess and Education conference at Olympia, held in conjunction with the London Chess Classic. A fascinating and stimulating event which provided much food for thought. When I’ve had time to digest everything I’ll have much to say about this, but in the meantime, back to Move Two!.
Chapter 14 reverts to tactics and looks at some more complicated combinations. More complicated either because there are more options to consider or because you have to look further ahead. The reader is also introduced to some of the most famous combinations in chess history. You’ve probably seen them before, but the chess neophyte probably won’t have done so.
Black to play: Bernstein-Capablanca from 1914 where White has a lot of plausible but unsuccessful defences after 1..Qb2.
Almost certainly a sham, possibly based on analysis between Carlos Torre and his sponsor, EZ Adams, rather than a genuine game between Adams (a weak player) and Torre. More back rank mate tactics, this time for White, after 1.Qg4.
The famous ‘gold coins’ game between Levitsky and Marshall where Black won with the spectacular 1..Qg3. Overrated, in the opinion of many (including me) as the idea was not original and Black has many other winning moves. (My analysis here is not very good. If after, say, 1..Qa3, White threatens mate with 2.Rc7, Black has 2..Ne2+ 3.Kh1 Rxh2+ 4.Kxh2 Qd6+ picking up the rook.) Nevertheless, knowing these classics is, I believe, an essential part of anyone’s chess education.
(You might also argue that using classics like this is a lazy way to write a book. I wouldn’t disagree, but would reply that I’ve never been paid for writing it, and, if I was writing an introduction to tactics now I’d approach it in a very different way.)
Those who are (like me) interested in historical accuracy might like to research the origins of the Adams-Torre game and the gold coins story in, or example, Edward Winter’s Chess Notes.
After a few more examples, the student gets the chance to solve some harder puzzles in a ten question quiz. Clues are provided in the form of descriptions of the tactics involved.
Masters of the Universe looks at the English Chess Explosion in the 1980s and moving into the 1990s, featuring England’s two leading players of the time, Nigel Short and Michael Adams.
In each case there is a brief biography and a game from early in their career.
Nigel at the age of 14: (I failed to mention that that 20.Nf5 was a more efficient win)
Micky at the age of only 10: