Most players only rarely get the opportunity to play a Grandmaster, whether in a tournament or at an exhibition, so it is important to get the most out of the experience. A game with a GM is almost always a valuable chess lesson if we are willing to look closely enough to learn it. ` ` From my simultaneous loss against GM Lev Alburt, I learned: “If a GM allows you a draw by repetition, TAKE IT!” From my tournament loss to GM Alex Sherzer, I learned “Even if a GM is having an off day, if you make enough bad moves he will beat you like a chicken-killing dog.” When GM Lubosh Ftacnik gave an exhibition in Charleston this summer, I hoped to learn more:
In this article we’ll look at 5 different endings:
1. The famous K+B+N vs K
2. Grigoriev – K+P vs K+P
3. Moravec – K+P vs K+P
4. from the Tattersall Anthology – K+P vs K+P
5. Dobias – K+P vs K+P
Perseverance is an important attribute for chessplayers. It’s very important not to give up – whether in an individual game, or pursuing an idea. Perhaps the greatest story of persevervance in chess involves two of the world’s top players from over a century ago. Emmanuel Lasker was the World Champion at the time of the St. Petersburg tournament of 1896, having dethroned Steinitz two years before. Harry Nelson Pillsbury of Philadelphia, USA, was the up-and-coming American who many figured would shortly challenge Dr. Lasker for his title. Such a match never came to be, but their games in tournaments at the time were always hard-fought and closely contested. Their game from St. Petersburg was no exception. The tournament was the famous “Quadrangular” invitational featuring Lasker, Steinitz, Pillsbury, and Tchgorin, the four strongest players in the world. The title “Grandmaster of Chess” was invented for the event, and bestowed by the Czar upon the contestants. The players contested six games against each opponent. After the first half, Pillsbury led the event by a full point over Lasker, but his health began its long decline and he only scored 1.5 out of 9 in the second half, falling to third place.
Many players lose their focus over exchanging Queens. Some run to trade, believing this may help them get safely to an endgame, even if they ruin their position in the process. Others are afraid to trade, because the Queen is the only attacking piece they feel confident about.
When Seigbert Tarrasch introduced the Tarrasch Defense to the Queen’s Gambit, many skoffed because Black often accepts an isolated QP, a weakness in the endgame. Tarrasch answered, “Between the opening and the ending, the gods have placed the middlegame.” Of course, an isolated QP is often an advantage in the middlegame.
One should exchange Queens, or avoid the exchange, based on the given position. Is it good for you, or bad? Don’t think the Ladies’ disappearance means the middlegame is over, or even that sacrifices are out of the question.
For our first beginner’s lesson, let’s play through a game and have each move explained so that the reader can see the logical pattern of thought that exists in chess play. Strong chess play follows a methodical plan based on positional and tactical considerations.