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  5. Improve Your Chess: Teach Yourself by William Hartson | Waterstones

After 4. Qe3 or 4. In the second continuation from the diagram, however, after 2. Nf3 Ne6 3:d4 exd4 4. After 5. Qxd4, Black can attack the queen with Ne7 followed by Nc6 would be a rather better way of annoying her majesty, but that takes two moves to get the knight developed when it really ought to find a decent square in one. Tn the first variation, after 3. Qxd4, White's queen is exposed to attack on d4 and immediately forced to. Pawn Takes Pawn When two pawns of different colours glare at each other on neigh- bouring diagonal squares, each knowing the other may capture it at any moment, that situation, considered purely locally, is rarely an equal relationship.

The tension created by the possibility of an exchange of pawns tends to favour one side or the other. Usually the decision to resolve that tension by playing pawn takes pawn rests predominantly with one player, And that player can best exploit the situation by keeping the tension as long as possible. Pawn takes pawn is never a fair exchange. Tn the first case, White most naturally responds with cxd4, leaving him with pawns at e4 and dd against a pawn at d6.

All other things being equal which, of course, they never are , this will convey a large advantage through better central control. In the second case, Black may recapture with dxe5, leaving an almost symmetrical pawn position.

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In the third, the nature of the position is changed radically, turning from a dynamic potentially open game into a relatively blocked one with a closed centre. The only advantage of playing hxg6 quickly is to force Black to decide whether he wants to recapture with f-pawn or h-pawn. Nc3 Bg? Be2 6. Nf3 5 7. How will the central tension resolve itself? There are three possibilities: Black plays exd4, White plays dxe5, and White plays d5, and they all lead to very different types of game.

If Black plays exd4, he cedes ground in the centre in exchange for an open diagonal for his bishop on g7, possible pressure on the e-file against the pawn on e4, and good squares at c5 and e5 for his knights. Tf White plays dxe5, it leaves him with a weak square at d4, but some prospects of advancing on the Q-side with b4 and c5, If he plays d5, he must again look to advancing b4 and c5, with pressure against the Q- side. Rel keeping all options open and ensuring that the rook can defend e4 if Black plays exd4 and Re8 Bfl Re8 Black has tried not to give away his plan too quickly, saving exd4 for the moment when he will be able to seize the initiative to compensate for his giving ground in the centre.

White may claim to have tricked Black into losing two moves by his elever timing of d5. Black will stoutly maintain that his clever Re8 lured White into closing the centre, which is just the pre-condition needed for him to prepare to launch his K-side advance with f5. Pushing Pawns Pawns are insecure little creatures. They are at their happiest and most efficient only when they have another pawn of the same colour standing next to them. That simple truth lies at the basis of a vast amount of strategic play. Once you have opening 1.

If your opponent is denied the use of all those squares for his pieces, it can have serious consequences. Compare this with, for example, pawns at d4 and e5, which control c5, d6 and 6, and you will see the difference. The first creates a major obstacle for the opponent in the centre of the board; the second is merely a small collection of minor irritations.

When you have your pawns in the ideal, side-by-side formation, never push one without thinking about the friend it leaves behind. Especially in endgames, you should always be reluctant to advance such a pawn until you haye a good idea of how its colleague will catch up. Any pawn that advances leaves behind it squares that it will never again to able to control. From the game Nimzowitsch—Michel, Semmering , this is a remark- able example of a game won by a stampede of pawns.

He does not want to play e5, because it gives away the d5 square to White's knight; he does not want to play f5, because it enhances the power of the bishop on b2. White can exploit this by pushing his own pawns: 1. Qe7 2. Creating a huge weakness on d4— but with no black knight to exploit it, the square is not weak at all. Be6 3. With three pawns abreast, White is now ready for anything. Faced with this advancing army of pawns, Black decided to challenge them at once.

It was a poor decision. Bxd5 7. QdT 8. Qc3, leaving Black helpless against the threat of mate on the long diagonal. Black resigned. When You Find a Good Move Fuzzy thought is the fumbling process of getting acquainted with the potential of a position by trying out likely looking possibilities; precise thought is the calculation of essen- tial variations. But when you've fumbled and analysed, and all the signposts point to one particular move, when is the moment to sign contracts and play it? When you've found a good move, play it! Good moves are few and far between.

But make sure they are as good as you think. There is a very useful rule for deciding on a restaurant in Paris: wan- der the streets until you find one restaurant you like; then go to the first one you see that is better. But it only works in Paris, or another city where there are many good restaurants. And having tied up every loophole, you play the move with calmness and confidence. A complex tactical decision: Black threatens 1,.. Qb5, preventing Nxd4 and threatening Qxb2; b 1.

Nxe5 with 2. Bd4; or c something else? Botvinnik, Moscow , is a highly complex example of the hazards of imprecise calculation. White's best move, according to EL Botvinnik, was 1. Qb5, hunting down the knight on b2. Instead, the game continued with How-Not-To- Think comments in italics as follows: 1. Nxe5 2. Bd4, I calculate FU win either the knight on e5 or the one on b2.

Lee Rxe5! Now 2. The only move to defend both is 3. Kd2 when Bd4 He probably overlooked this. Now I stand much better. Nad4 loses to 3. Qd6, when 3. Apparently impossible, because the white queen controls that square. Note how the queen is pinned by a pinned rook. The game then continued 3.

Rh4 Rh8 5. Botvinnik won after nine more moves. So, unless a pawn capture is made, the isolated pawn cannot be defended by another pawn. In an endgame, a single isolated pawn may be a decisive weakness. By attacking it from all sides, the opponent may force a small army of pieces to be dedicated to its defence. Then, even if the pawn itself does not fall, a switch of direction by the attacking pieces may pose insoluble problems.

An isolated pawn demands an aggressive strategy. So why do people willingly accept isolated pawns in the opening? The answer is usually a combination of space and freedom. To take an instant example; after the moves 1. He hopes that its control of the e5 square will enable a knight to settle there and menace the opponent's K-side, Meanwhile, Black puts his faith in the d5 square, a safe central outpost for his own minor pieces. In the middle- game, White will have the initiative, thanks to the presence of his pawn on d4. The battle here is over White's doubled, isolated d-pawns. Black, who is a pawn behind, plans to attack d5 with everything at his disposal, win back the pawn, and leave himself with a piece firmly entrenched on the square in front of White's re- maining isolated pawn.

Black began with the natural 1,,. Rad8 which was met by 2. Now Bronstein, however, was ready for this and played Nb5 3. Bxb7 Rb8 gives Black plenty of activity Qd71 far better than Qb8 4. Bf4 when Black is in a terrible mess 4,. NxaT7 Nbd5 5. Nb5 Be4. What has Black got for his pawn? A fine square in front of an isolated pawn is the answer. White should now play 6. There followed 6. Nf4 Bxg2 7. Kxg2 b6 8. Qf3 8. Nxd5 would have been more consistent Re2 Rfe8 Nhb with the bishop in the way, d3 is no longer available Qf4 Nd5!

And White resigned; his queen is trapped in mid-board. Never can the square in front of an isolated pawn have been go potent. If, for example, you play c4 and e4 as White, the d-pawn may be called backward. If it cannot catch up with the others because Black has. Again, like an iso- lated pawn, it has one or more weak squares in front of it, but that is where the similarity ends. While its weaknesses may be similar to those of an isolated pawn, the potential strengths of a backward pawn are quite different.

A backward pawn is a liability when: a itis vulnerable to attack; or b an enemy piece may settle unmolested on the square in front of it. A backward pawn is not a problem when: a it can catch up with its colleagues; or b the square in front of it can be adequately controlled.

A backward pawn may be an asset when: a it controls an important central square; or b it acts as a back support for an aggressively advancing phalanx of pawns. Nf3 Nc6 4. Nxd4 6 creating -a backward pawn on d7 5. Nb5 attracted like a moth to the glaring weakness on d6 Bf4 e5 7. White's play has heen remarkably sophisticated for a game from the midth century. He has lost a move with his bishop, and moved his knight three times already and will have to move it again if Black plays But it will all be worthwhile if White can secure the unmolested use of the 45 square.

The entire fight now should be over that square. The other bishop may well move to g5 to exchange a knight on f6, thus increasing White's influence over d5 again. Anderssen, however, misunderstood the position and con- tinued Fearing The right move was 8. Kd7 Qg4 mate Be4 Nd4 Rather than enter an endgame a pawn behind with Qxd5 Qxe8 Qxc7 Ke2 Black resigned.

Nxal Rxe7 Kxe7 Re1 is also hopeless for Black. Absolutely correct. What has all this to do with doubled pawns? Counting one for each pair of doubled pawns, or two for tripled pawns and so on. Every doubled pawn gives you an extra open file for your rooks to play on. Not only that, but the pawns themselves, since they stand on the file adjacent to the open one, add to your ability to control the squares on the file. That was the good news. The side-effects, however, are less desirable. The result must be an equivalent loss of control aver other squares.

If you have more pawns on one wing that your opponent, you will normally be able to create a passed pawn. This may no longer be the case if your formation includes doubled pawns. This weakness is particularly accentuated in the case of doubled, isolated pawns. As for tripled pawns and quadrupled pawns, all the above applies, only more so. There is, however, one last, totally unimportant point to be made about pawns stacked vertically: a player with sextupled pawns on the a-file or h-file can never lose, Why?

Because it takes 15 captures to get them there, so the opponent can have only his king left. Which way to recapture? In this position from the Ruy Lopez, reached after the moves Le4 e5 2. Ne6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxe6, most Black players take the bishop with the d-pawn with- out thinking. Yet few could pro- vide any convincing justification for preferring dxc6 to bxc6. Indeed, it is almost easier to think of reasons for preferring the recap- ture with the b-pawn. Admittedly, after Nxe5 Black regains the pawn easily with Qd4, but Nxe5 also looks not at all bad for Black after either Qg5 6.

Ne4 d5. Qxd4 Qxd4 7. Nxd4 leaves White with a workable K-side pawn majority, while Black's majority on the other wing is crippled by the doubled pawns. Indeed, if all the pieces were then to be exchanged, Black's doubled pawns would lose the game for him. Also, precise analysis shows that Black's game is not easy after Ne3 d6 6. Qxd4 Qf6 7. If Black also puts on just the right expression of suppressed panic, White may be tempted into 9. Ne5, when his dreams of a quick victory are quashed by So if you play c4 and e4 as White, you are creating weak squares at both d3 and d4. Now you can see that a backward pawn is only a perfectly ordinary pawn sitting on a weak square.

The trouble is, when your opponent gains control of a square in your half of the board and has the opportunity to establish one of his pieces on it, the influence of that piece may be enough to cause the defences to crumble. The crucial element, however, is establishing a piece on the weak square. Any square that cannot be defended by a pawn may be said to be weak, but the weakness is only a defect if it provides an outpost that the opponent can use.

A weakness that cannot be exploited is not a weakness at all. As pawns advance, they can hardly help but leave weak squares in their wake. Even the move 1. The whole art of pawn play lies in ensuring that no true weaknesses develop on the squares the pawns abandon. Ideally the pawns will move steadily forward, conquering space in a manner that does not allow the outflanking needed to get to the squares behind them. When this is not possible, one should at least ensure that important squares deprived of their pawn defenders are still capable of being defended by pieces.

Bg2 5. Nc3 d6 One of these is inherently unfavourable to White. Which one? Structurally speaking, White must, above all else, avoid the tempta- tion to capture on ed.

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White's best hope may be to capture any piece that arrives at d4, but even that will leave Black with a nicely supported passed pawn after the e-pawn recaptures. After all, d4, being right in the centre, is a better square than d6 anyway. Finally, look at the difference if White closes the centre with d5 instead of dxe5. He still has a weak square at d4 but, denied the use of c6 and e6, Black's knights will be hard pressed to get there. And his plack-squared bishop is locked behind his pawns, and the d-file is closed, so the weak d4 square is not a weakness at all.

On the other hand, the d5 advance also, by blocking the position, shields the weak pawn at d6 from attack after Black plays c5 in reply. In practice, therefore, White usually keeps his options open, playing neither d5 nor dxe5, but a developing move such as 9. Re1, awaiting events. The seventh rank is the Mecca for rocks: in the middlegame, the rook on the seventh is the precursor to a mating attack; in the endgame it promises a rich harvest of pawns.

Those handy local ameni- ties suddenly prove to be rather hostile after all. But in either case, there is little point in galloping all that way down the board if the rook is only going to be chased back again. A rook needs room to stretch its wings. Sometimes, you can slide your rook down to the seventh almost with-. Usually, however, it is worth pausing to ask yourself whether the rook can fulfil its mission, whether your other pieces can support its efforts, or whether it will be chased back before it has done any damage.

Those pawns that you thought your rook was attacking may also serve to deny it the room it needs to maintain its position on the seventh rank. This position, with Black to a a play, was the prelude to one of the y greatest of all rooks on the seventh. Portiseh found a clever idea to try to negate the whole concept. He played If White then takes on c7, Black cuts off the 4! Now look what happened after 1,.. Nb8: 2. Rb7 Qc8 6. Qxb7 8. Qg8 mate. Kxh6 Kg5 Qh5 mate 16,Qxb7, White wins comfortably. Well I'm happy to disillusion him, That's not a sacrifice.

How can giving up a mere queen in order to gain a king be called a sacrifice? It involves surrendering material for some long-term positional advantage. In practice, most genuine sacrifices fall into one of two categories: 1 A pawn sacrifice known as a gambit in the opening to gain time or central control.

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The questions are: how long will the attackers need to take up their aggressive positions, how long will it take them to carry out their mission after that, and will all that give the defence enough time to muster its reserves? Mikhail Tal, playing White Bent Larsen in , played 1. The open e-file is a barrier.

Bxg7 Kxg7 6. Playing Larsen chose the other defence: Rdel RET 4. BxfS RxfS 6. Rxe7 Now if Black defends with Kxf7 8. Larsen decided to give back the piece to gain some activity, Ne5 7. Qe4 Qfs! Qe3 Now Black should play Bxd5 when after Rxd4 Qxd4 Bxh1 Instead, there followed Rf Qe2 Qxe7 Qxf3 dxe5 Rel Rd8 Rxe5 Qd5 Little of this, of course, could be seen when playing 1. Nd5, but the two white bishops pointing at the enemy king, the open e-file making it so difficult for Black to bring his pieces over to defend, and White's chance to open further lines for his rooks by advancing the h-pawn all added up to the ingredients for a successful attack.

Hierarchies of Thought —— We have already in Sections 1, 2 and 13 touched on the distinctions between precise calculation and fuzzy thought, and the interplay between strategy and tactics. But there is another level of thought that is the key to understanding the true nature of good chess. The best way to explain it is by considering our thoughts to be arranged in a hierarchical structure.

At level zero, we have precise calculation. Has the opponent's last move left him open to a killer punch? If not, does it threaten anything that demands immediate action? At level two, we browse the static features of the position — the pawn formations, the weak squares, the safety of the kings, the potential endgame advantages and other such elements that lead to the formation of a general strategy.

But the real hard work goes on at the intermediate level one, where tactics and strategy play equal roles. If that reveals no clearly best move, you move up to level two, where some fuzzy thought suggest moves that may help with strate- gic objectives. Those moves are sent to level zero for a tactical health check and any passed fit move to level one to be looked at in more detail. For it is here that we assess the strategic gains that may be made by tactical means.

Our strategic judge- ment suggests 1. Nxe4 isn't a threat, because the pawn is defended; Nxd4 is no worry, because it only brings my bishop or rook to d4. Nxc6 bxe6 is good B for Black, because it strengthens his centre and opens the b-file. Level2 With the kings castled on opposite wings, I should advance my K-side pawns to breach his defences and open lines for my rooks. Level 1. Bxd4 or Rxd4 e5 creates a double attack on d4 with the pawn and g4 with bishop and knight.

I could save the g-pawn with 2. Rxd4 e5 3. Re4, but it leaves my rook looking rather stupid on Level1 But if Black does play Nxd4 and e5, his Also, when he takes the pawn on g4, it opens the g-file for my rook. Level2 If he is going to weaken his white squares by playing 5, it could be a considerable advantage to me to eliminate his white- squared bishop Re4 Qd8 4.

Rxc8 5. Level2 So there are three possible plans: 1. Bxd4 e5 8. Be3, giving up the g-pawn and relying on control of d5 and the open gefile for compensation; or 1. Rxc8, giving up the exchange and relying on the K-side pawn storm; or 3. Re1, not giving up anything. And deciding among those takes us to level three in the hierarchy, which is, at present, out of our depth. There are two circumstances where such a fault often occurs. When both sides have clear plans that appear to have no point of interaction, trying to analyse them properly can seem like trying to sing two different songs at the same time, alternating the notes of one with those of the other.

It is surprisingly easy to reject a very strong move because you cannot see how your opponent defends against it. When your opponent has only one defence to your threats, you will certainly continue your analysis, but when he has no defence at all, there is the temptation to reject the whole line and look at something different simply because you cannot see how to continue the analysis.

White to play; he's a pawn up and has the position under firm control. The great Bobby Fischer played 1. Kd3, correctly analysing that Ke4 Rdl fails to give Black the desired counterplay because 3. What was the stronger move that Fischer overlooked? Indeed, it is so strong that it leaves almost nothing to analyse at all. Since 1,,. Kh4 2. Ke2 or Kh3 2. Bf2 closes the net, again threatening 3,. Rh7 mate in either case, Black has nothing better than to jettison his bishop with Bg7 to stave off the mate threat.

To some extent 1. Kfl is an unnatural move to consider, since it is a retreating move when the centralising Kd3 and Ked is beckoning. The trouble is, it ig simply too strong. Black has no reply at all, so there is nothing to analyse. T play 1. Kf1, he goes nowhere. End of game. The ladder serves to lift you from one level to another, but once you have succeeded in climbing it, you may kiek it away, because you will never need it again.

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Any rule of thumb may be a rung on such a ladder. When a poor player asks a stronger one why one move is better than another in a particular position, and no convincing tactical reason is available, the stronger player may select a handful of appropriate slogans from his collection that appear to justify it, but it is very unlikely that such rules formed part of his reasoning in selecting the move in the first place.

That particular ladder, of rules relating to pawns and bishops, has been kicked away and replaced by a higher level of understanding. Try these two typical conversations between Mr Black a good player and Mr White a better one. If I'd played g3, my entire position would have been riddled with white-square weaknesses.

Thank you for explaining it, Conversation Two B When you needed to give your king an escape square, why did you play g3 instead of h3? B Now I understand.

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Thank you for explaining it. The funny thing is that both players are quite likely to be taken in by what they said on each occasion. The principles of positional chess are hy no means as absolute as we are led to believe. After the game Tal confessed his surprise at the decision.

In this second section. You may, like Mikhail Tal, find it heavy going and confusing at first, but confusion is often an essential part of the learning process, especially in chess where most players find, as they progress, that the game alternates between phases of seeming quite easy, then impossibly difficult, The ideas I have tried to explain in the earlier pages are the ones most players stick at for the majority of their chess lives.

Some play- ers are even quite happy to continue making the same meta-errors for most. They just reach a plateau of understanding that lets them play decent enough chess, without really trying to move toa higher level. The sections that follow are the next 25 ladders to be climbed and kicked away. At the highest level, we have the good, indeed almost saintly bishop, with unimpeded access to squares of one colour, and its pawns standing on the opposite colour, letting its influence be felt in all four corners of the board simultaneously.

Next, you might have thought, should come the not-quite-so-good bishop, largely unimpeded but with local difficulties in one small area. But you would be wrong. It is bad because of the weak- nesses on the squares it does not control. Looking at that more opti- mistically, however, just think of the squares it does control. With pawns and bishop controlling the same colour squares, they may bring unrivalled power to bear over half the board.

Then comes the mostly good bishop — serving a positive bad bishop's defensive function on one wing, while able to attack in the style of a good bishop on the other. Only just behind him comes the not-so-bad bishop, which performs the important function of defending a weak pawn we'll meet a good example of him in Section And finally the utterly bad bishop, who can only look on blindly while its position is being invaded on squares of the opposite colour. Now watch how Tal handled the white pieces. Nd7 3. Byverything is done to enhance the effect of the bishop: a5 removed a defender from c5 to make the a3-f8 diagonal more difficult to keep closed; 4.

Qxc6 5. Rfd1 Nc6 7. Bd6 Qc4 8. Qe3 Qe4 9. Qb3 Nb6 Qxe4 Nxc4 would have lost immediately to Qb7 Qa3 Qa6 Rac] Rc8 Qg3 is hard to meet — thanks to the influence of the bad bishop on d6. Qf3 Kd7 Rhe8: Kxd6 would have led to mate after Qe2 Nb7 mate. Ne4 Ne7 18,. Bxc5 Ne4 Rxe7, Opposite-coloured Bishops — One of the first things we learn about endgames is that bishops of opposite colour have strong drawing tendencies, And most players spend the rest of their lives believing it to be true.

Yet half the time, the exact opposite is the case. What is certainly true is that in endgames in which each side has only one bishop and a handful of pawns left, and the bishops travel on opposite-coloured squares, an advantage of one pawn is, more often than not, insufficient to win.

Even a two-pawn advantage often leads only to a draw.

Yet when other pieces, particularly rooks, also remain on the board, the presence of bishops of opposite colour tend to increase the winning prospects of the side with the initiative. The reason is simple: if your bishop can find something to attack, it can tie a larger piece down to a passive defensive role, since anything one bishop can attack, the other cannot defend.

Once such a concession has been forced, the way is clear to advance a passed pawn, if you have one, or improve the position of your king, or initiate a general pawn advance to stifle your opponent further. As Jong as you can prevent your opponent from finding a way to liqui- date, even at the cost of a pawn, into a pure bishop endgame, such positions can offer good winning chances. In the middlegame, all of the above is even more valid. When opposite- coloured bishops are on the board, it can even seem as though the attacker is playing with an extra piece. A black-squared bishop is not much use in defending against a white-squared attack.

Bxb7 lets Black regain the pawn with Rb8, the most natural continuation seems to be 1. Racl Rae8, some friendly exchanges on the c-file, and a quick draw. Now watch how Bogolyubov squeezed something out of the position. Rac8 2. Re7 3. Qa2 Qb2 8. Qxb2 Bxb2 9. Rb1 Bdt Rb5 Ra7 Rxb7 Bxb7 Rds Rb3 Kfs Bb7 Ke7 Bd5 Kd6 Ra6 Bf7 Re6 Bxh5 Re5 Kf6 After Rxd5 Rg6 KfS Be3 Kf3 Re3 Ke2 Be5 ty The remaining moves were Kd1 Rxg3 Re8 mate Rxe5 Bb4 Ke2 Ra8 Be8 Rh3 Bd7 Rc3 Re6 Bf8 Ra6 Bb4 Kd3 Rb2 The Fianchetto 2 : The Pawn Move We met, in Section 12, the idea of the fianchetto: you push a knight's pawn one square forwards with the intention of getting your bishop onto the long diagonal.

Now we'll tell you what the fianchetto is really all about. Bishops, after all, can move backwards; pawns cannot. So the more significant move is that of the pawn. In any strategy, the pawns come first. They define each player's terri- tory and determine the middlegame plans. Sometimes, admittedly, the main objective of a fianchetto is to get the bishop on the long diag- onal, but just as often, the pawn move is the essential part of the strategy and the bishop only follows behind it to protect the weak squares it leaves behind.

Nf3 Nbd7 4. Nc3 e5 5. Then it might continue 6. Be2 7. Nc3 Bg7 4. The whole thing makes sense because if White does play d5, then the g-pawn is in the right place to support 5, while if the d-pawn stays on d4, Black has the option of playing exd4, leaving the bishop on g7 with a nice open diagonal.

It looks highly suspicious playing Looked at the other way round, it seems curious to put a bishop on g7, then block its diagonal with e5. It only makes sense when you realise that e5 was the main idea all along, the pawn went to g6 to be ready with f when the e-pawn needed a neighbour to join it on the fourth rank, and the bishop went to g7 to plug the black-squared holes.

Nc3 Nf 4. Bg5 Be7 5. Bh4 7. With its natural line of devel- Z. Look at the central pawns. What hap- pens if White exchanges pawns on d5? If exd5 is met by exdb, Black will want to advance 5 and recapture with a pawn after dxc6 to keep his centre pawns together. So the pawn on b6 has another important function besides just letting the bishop develop. The most common continuation after BxeT Qxe7 Nxd5 exd5 Rel when, for many years, Black players would automatically continue That's what the move was for. As soon as somebody had the original idea of playing Be6 instead, however, everyone realised that it was obviously much hotter.

Next move, or the move after, Black will play cb and hope to jain counterplay later by advancing his Q-side pawns further. In this case, The Wrong Rook A well-trained rook will froth at the mouth as soon as it sees an open file and fly directly onto it —correct? Well, not entirely. A good deal of the time, an open file is indeed the right place for a rook.

When the file offers the rook a chance to advance and attack enemy weaknesses, or when conceding the file to the opponent's rooks would let him do the same thing, it may be the correct.

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Remember too that a pawn with a rook behind it is one of the happi- est combinations of pieces. When you have decided which file needs a rook, there is still the ques- tion of which rook. If you know where both of your rooks are heading, there is no problem, but more often than not, you must take a deci- sion before you know what future demands will be placed on your rook.

If the e-file offers good prospects for one white rook, do you play Racl, leaving the other rook free for later action in the centre, or Rfel, enabling its colleague to join in the Q-side action from al or b1? Whichever you choose, it is likely to turn out to be the wrong rook.

Then take the decisions that leave his rooks tripping over each other's feet. The late Dutch grandmaster Jan Hein Donner once pointed out how effective it can be — both strategically and psychologically — to respond immediately to a long-deliberated rook move with a reply that makes it seem ill-judged.

If White chooses Raci, then Black opens the a- or b-file; if he plays Rfcl, he opens the e- or d-file. And the longer White thought about his rook move, the greater the impact of proving to him that it was the wrong rook. Where should he place his rooks? In the near future, Black would like to expand on the Q-side by playing b5, which makes b8 an attractive square for a rook, but if b5 is met by an exchange of pawns, then the a-file will become i open and a rook may be useful on 2 a8.

The c-file is half-open, which makes c8 an obvious candidate too, while d8 looks useful, to be ready for an opening of the d-file after either e5 or Now look how Garry Kasparov handled his rooks from this position in the final, world-title winning game against Karpov in Re8 ready for central action when necessary Bf3 Rb8 off the bishop's diagonal and supporting a later advance of the b-pawn q Qd2 Bd7 Nb3 b6 Qf2 Bf Bg2 4 Bb7 Rad1 g6 Bel Rbc8 on to the half-open file — but not for long Rd3 Nb4 Rh3 Bg7 23,Be3 Re7!

Kg1 Rees! Black therefore doubles rooks on the closed file to ensure that they will rage into action if White dares play Nxf6 Rg3 Rf7! Bxb6 QbS Be3 Nh5 Rg4 Nf6 and now instead of giving away his title by conceding a draw after 3LRg3 Nh5, Karpov went down in flames after Qxe3 Nxc2 Qb6 Bad Qxb8 Rxb8 is better for b Black but not as bad as this And Black won a piece, the game, and the world championship. Control of the centre may be needed to maintain communications between the two wings, but as the game develops, local battlefields develop else- where on the board, each demanding the attention of various pieces, in attack or defence.

When the central pawns have become locked together, the centre itself may become of relatively minor importance. Even when the centre is open, it may still have little effect on the real battle. Like Clapham Junction or Crewe stations on the British rail network, the centre can be a useful place to change from one destination to another, but a rather dull location at which to spend much time. When the important action is concentrated in various different loca- tions — perhaps around the two kings as the players attack on oppo- site wings, or at the various positional weaknesses that both players are trying to exploit — communication becomes all-important.

When the time is not yet ripe to launch a final attack, everything is in a state of dynamic equilibrium, with the weights of various different centres of action all combining to give the position an ever-changing centre of gravity. A body will topple if its centre of gravity is supported only by thin air.

In the previous section, we saw Karpov's position disintegrate as his K-side attacking pieces lost touch with their colleagues on the other wing, Communications fell apart as his men drifted right and left, but lost touch with the true centre of gravity of the game, somewhere in the middle of the board. Black threatens to move the game's centre of gravity.

What are the important features of the position and how should White react? He could then continue with Rc3, cutting the white queen from the K-side, and Qf, attacking d4. The point is that Ng6 is met by 3. Bb5 Re7 5. Re7 2. Qb3 Rg7 3. Be4 Rab 5. Ne3 Nxc3 6. Qxc3 KE7 7. A perfect centralising move — combining t on b6, e6 and h6 Qd6 8. Book Description Ntc Pub Group, Condition: New. More information about this seller Contact this seller. Seller Inventory MX. Never used!. Seller Inventory PX. Ships with Tracking Number!


  1. Teach Yourself: Better Chess by William Hartston - .
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Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory Xn. Items related to Teach Yourself Better Chess. Teach Yourself Better Chess. William Hartston. Publisher: Ntc Pub Group , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Teach Yourself Better Chess is for all those players who know how to play chess but would like to be better at the game.

About the Author : William Hartston is an experienced and well-known chess player and writes the daily chess column in The Independent.