The Life and Chess of Vera Menchik

With Hugh needing to finish his book I thought I’d step in with a post to celebrate Nigel Short‘s bid to become FIDE President. It would certainly be a good thing if FIDE had a bank account, not to mention having its funds spent on presidential travel expenses. There again some may feel that the FIDE President should probably be a diplomatic person, and possibly even a …. female.

Here is a video about a female player from Lucas Anderson:

Nigel Davies

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Endgame Culture Immersion

In my lesson with Nigel today he flagged up (AGAIN) that I try too hard to force things in games. For those tennis fans out there he compared me to Dustin Brown trying to force winners when the Tiger Chess programme is about trying to emulate Federer by playing logical returns. The tactics – forehand winners – will still be there but they will come from a more natural place and the mistakes will be fewer.

Nigel said his programme was like a suit aiming encourage logical positional play. My games put him in mind of a man putting on a suit but then going mountain climbing – where the suit clearly doesn’t help so much.

He suggested that how a person wins early on when starting to play chess is hard to shake off and reinforces how they see things in their games. The antidote is to overlay my forcing move mindset with classic endgames and good positional play.

Here is an interesting video of a Capablanca – Tartakower game – New York 1924.

Dan Staples

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Switching Off The Laptop

In these days of computer based preparation is there any benefit to using a board and pieces? It can certainly seem harder, especially if someone is used to whizzing through dozens of games using the right hand arrow. Yet there could be hidden benefits of the sort that makes many brain experts suggest that we write things down. One theory is that the physical act of writing things down helps activate the brain.

Actually I use a chess set myself whenever it is possible. This is not the case when teaching over the internet but it certainly is when I work on chess with my son Sam. We rarely use a computer unless we want a second opinion from an engine or need to map out some opening lines.

Not convinced? There is quite a lot of stuff on the internet about doing away with laptops, so do your own research and consider giving it a try.

Nigel Davies

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Capablanca – Hanging Pawns

Here is a great game by Capablanca. The game is below along with a link to a video analysis.

Capablanca plays Black in a Queens Gambit Declined.

Useful advice – when playing against hanging pawns it’s generally a good idea to go for piece exchanges.

15…c4 is an instructive move. The video provides Capablanca’s own thinking behind this move.

Dan Staples

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Zurich 1953

Despite recent events in Berlin, the Candidates Tournament in Zurich 1953 is still known as the greatest in history. Fifteen players took part with the format being a double round all-play-all, and ultimately it was Vasily Smyslov who emerged the winner, two points clear of David Bronstein, Paul Keres and Samuel Reshevsky.

Why is this the most famous Candidates Tournament? Largely because of David Bronstein’s book on the event which has become known as one of the best ever written. Bronstein’s insightful remarks give a real insight into the mind of top Grandmasters, from opening to endgame.

Here is a video on the event by the prolific Lucas Anderson:

Nigel Davies

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