Welcome!

by Webmaster on May 5, 2011

Welcome to Chess Game Improvement! This is a website that gives information and advice about chess. Chess is respected among enthusiasts for its combination of strategical deepness, tactical beauty and apparent simplicity. I hope to share with you the rich theory and culture that encompasses the ‘royal game’.

If you have not learnt the rules yet, see this Wikipedia chess guide or the more formal FIDE Handbook Laws of Chess. Software, DVDs and books I recommend throughout this website often also include an explanation of the rules of chess, such as the chess program Chessmaster or Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan’s Pro Chess DVD. Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE) is the official international governing body for chess, although most countries also have their own national governing body.

For practical examples, check out my YouTube channel.

See here for more information about the webmaster.

 

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Undevelopment in Chess

by Webmaster on November 17, 2016

Basically continuing on from my previous article on ‘breaking the rules’, the mentioning of Kramnik’s cryptic exchange sacrifices reminded me of another anti-intuitive technique that you usually shouldn’t do.

Obviously some situations call for ‘undevelopment’ of one’s pieces. In the position below, ‘undeveloping’ the knight and re-routing it to d5 is a logical way to move the knight to its best square. (The knight belongs in the centre where it can influence both the kingside and queenside.)

undeveloping

The classic non-intuitive example of this technique is from a game between two world champions, Karpov and Spassky. On move 24, Karpov realises that it is worth kicking out black’s knight on b4 and plays 24.Nb1!! followed by removing Spassky’s knight.

A more obvious application of the undeveloping technique is to use a more high-powered piece like the queen. There are many cases, such as …Qb6-d8-h4 in the Advance French, where this kind of plan should come into consideration.

Now, let’s do a little test. Check out this recent surprisingly clean example between well-known grandmasters Pavel Eljanov and Alexey Shirov. Cover the game notation, play the game up to the move 11…a5 and try to calculate what white should play. When you’re done with that, scroll down from the top of this page to find IM Alina l’Ami’s annotated solution.

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Breaking the Rules

November 15, 2016

An old saying in chess goes something like: “You have to know the rules before you can break them.” Of course, similar quotes appear in many other fields and they are attributed to a number of people, including Pablo Picasso. In chess, the phrase is a reference to how we should understand the reasoning behind some […]

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A game against Nigel Short

April 8, 2016

To commemorate Melbourne Chess Club’s 150th anniversary and coinciding with his tour of Australia, English grandmaster Nigel Short (former world number three and current top 100 player) gave a lecture and a simultaneous display in Melbourne. In the simultaneous display, Short played against 30 players at the same time, of which I was the top […]

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Why, Chess and Life

January 16, 2016

Does the process of thinking in chess help in daily life? This is an issue I discuss in my article entitled Chess and Life, a piece that aims to capture the psychological essence of chess as a learning tool. I have published this article previously, but have finally placed it on my own website. The writing is inspired […]

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Kasparov’s Commencement Speech

June 4, 2015

On May 16th, Garry Kasparov delivered the commencement (graduation) speech at St. Louis University. Kasparov utilises some impressive analogies, although his emphasis on the English politician Thomas More was a little puzzling to me. I would think that it is difficult for American students to relate to a foreign figure from so long ago. That being said, it might be […]

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Using chess as an analogy for physics

February 25, 2015

This video involves the well known theoretical physicist Richard Feynman comparing and contrasting physics research with the rules of chess. Discovering this video for the first time (using a link provided by ChessBase) was a pleasant coincidence, as I am about to start my honours year in applied mathematics, attempting a project in general relativity.

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Carlsen achieves triple crown

June 21, 2014

Not only is 23-year old Norwegian Grandmaster the World Champion and the highest ranked player in the world (by a significant margin), but he recently just became the World Rapid Champion and the World Blitz Champion. The traditional World Championship is played in long time controls of “120 minutes for the first 40 moves, 60 […]

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Chess Scholarships

June 14, 2014

In the recent past, talented young chess players were relegated to only applying for academic scholarships (and others too if, for example, they were also good at sports or music). Nowadays, there are actually many chess scholarships on offer, especially in the US. The most famous one is probably the Samford Scholarship, previously held by Gata […]

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Tracking your improvement

May 24, 2014

As a player, I was often unsure about my technical improvement over timescales of weeks and months. After I first become a rated player, my local (national) rating grew quickly and steadily: 1383 –> 1492 –> 1553 –> 1642 –> 1723 –> 1819 –> 1852. As foreshadowed by the final rating change, the increase in my rating was […]

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Parallels between chess and life

January 20, 2014

I wrote an article earlier last year that I forgot to link. The article was called Chess and Life, and discussed two prominent ways in which chess related to life. The chess book referred to as “one of the most successful… of all time” is American International Master (IM) Jeremy Silman’s How to Reassess your […]

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