Simple Play Is Strong Play!

Our second to last class for 2016 at the chess club was very exciting. The level 5 group I am coaching this school year explored with enthusiasm more tricks from the QGD Cambridge Springs and followed it with a number of combative games from our club tournament. We play a loose 30+ minutes time control per player with adjournment (like in the good old days) in an effort to slow them down. Way too often games are already heavily one sided after 5 minutes of play and this is quite unpleasant for any coach. It shows a lack of focus and concentration, two major areas of improvement one needs to focus on. Based on personal experience about 10-15% of students in class can focus on the task at hand and increasing their attention span requires a lot of repetitive, hard work and patience!…

Out of the 6 games played, one was adjourned from a previous week and the rest were new games. All finished by the end of the class and outside a couple, the rest were heavily contested. These are students who can play on a level anywhere between 1000 to 1500 rating, depending how they feel in the moment. Very few are truly competitive and that means they enjoy playing at the club, but not an local or provincial tournaments. This is unfortunate because it is not enough to train and practice in familiar surroundings; one needs to go out there and play as many games as possible while facing various opponents. One of the games caught my attention and ended last. It was between a talented girl (as White) and a bright boy (as Black) capable of playing both blunders and surprisingly strong moves one after another.

There are a few important lessons to get out of this one:
1. It is a good idea to castle, especially if you are under 2000 rated
2. Piece coordination is far more important than material advantage. This is used quite a lot in today’s chess by many a player
3. Play simple when facing an aggressive player. It will take them out of their comfort zone and put you in a favorable position
4. Never give up as long as there’s hope and do that with a purpose. Playing pointless moves does not count. Create threats and mount an attack on the opponent; if you cannot do that, it is better to resign!
5. Learn and practice to refrain from giving checks just because you can. It is not easy to resist the temptation; however the effort you put into it will get you rewarded
Hope you liked our game. If you have any games and/ or positions you would like me to look at, please do not hesitate to let me know. I will gladly include them in my column for everyone’s benefit. Looking forward to your messages!

Valer Eugen Demian

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About Valer Eugen Demian

The player - my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today's standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor - my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek!