Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 in 1 Endgame Chess Lesson!

video

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HERE IT IS... ONE OF MY FIRST VIDEO LESSONS!

No laughing! : )

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Ok, a quick word... the third problem is white to play and win. You will know that when you watch the video but with my trying to fit all three problems within the confines of three minutes I did not really have enough time to do the third problem justice. I was shown that one by Michael Rudenko a couple of years ago when I had gone back to Western Massachusetts to visit my friends at the PIONEER VALLEY CHESS CLUB. So thanks for having shown me that chess problem Michael!

The best way to get a sense for these problems is to set them up, hit the pause button and try to solve them on your own. Then hit play and the explanation will make sense then - if you had trouble solving the puzzles the answers will make sense when you play them through on the chess board.

Enjoy! Yours in chess CHESS COACH SEAN!

One part CHESS LESSON, One part campy, One part first time video done by Chess Coach Techie novice Coach Sean! Enjoy : ) !

Ok... here it is. I took a middlegame position from one of my games used to illustrate a few points about the Opening and the Middlegame. The emphasis for this lesson though is on the tactics that result. Here are three key points:

1.When not playing by "wrote" if you know your Opening's strategy it will see you through. You don't need to know opening theory out to move 30 if you understand the openings that you play and the types of middlegame positions that result from your openings.

2.Even in a QUEEN LESS MIDDLEGAME there are still plenty of attacking chances to be had. Tactics happen for a reason. And that reason is strategical - 99% of the time!

3.Piece cohesion. You need harmony in your camp if your army is to be working as effectively as a team can. Get the players off of the bench, but get them to the right squares too!

Okay - be a little bit forgiving about this lesson! This was one of the first of my short lived "online" video lessons that I did years ago using a digital camera. I hadn't slept enough so while doing this lesson I was a bit wiped out - which you may pick up on! When I watch it now I smile to myself - one part proud and one part embarrassed! It's a good lesson anyways - just try not to laugh out loud, okay!

Enjoy this advanced lesson Parents and please share it with our Scholastic players. I think Bennett, Peter, Serena will get a lot out of it and the entire Chargers chess gang just might enjoy it as well!

Part i

video

Part ii


video


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Feel free to send suggestions for future lessons to me! Time to start doing more vids for our players! - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Alan and Coach Sean - Chess game from 10/21/2010

BLACK PIECES - Coach Sean



WHITE PIECES - Starring Alan!

Enjoy this game from the Cherokee Chargers Chess Club - Coach Sean.

Monday, October 25, 2010

THIEVES MARKET: CHESS INTERVIEWS & FOOTAGE!

Chess Coach Jeremy Dancer and yours truly do their part to promote chess! Enjoy - Coach Sean Tobin.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

MSNBC TODAY SHOW - A segment on Scholastic Chess!

A recent Today Show spot light on Scholastic Chess - well done and very interesting!



- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Monday, October 18, 2010

HOW I FINISHED OUT THE 2010 EDITION OF THE LOS ANGELES OPEN


MAKING FRIENDS!

At least I got to meet and mingle with other chess players at this event!

Well day two was not a good day for me - result wise. I drew my round 4 game and then went all in for a win in game 5 but came up short. So a loss and a draw for today... or rather yesterday. My idea looks sound I just did not play the right move order... but I will have to spend some time reviewing this game and then run it through Fritz orRybka to get even more food for thought about what happened during this game.

I cannot complain about the result from this tournament. I knew I was going into this event without any prep but it was a good warm up for the AMERICAN OPEN being held next month. Now it is time to study... to prepare and to play practice games in local events so that I can play my best this November. Chess is chess, and chess is best when it is played!

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

2010 LOS ANGELES OPEN - My score after three rounds stands at 50%

CHESS PUZZLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!


PUZZLE FOR MY SCHOLASTIC CHESS PLAYERS!

This is how I dreamed of finishing off my first round opponent... however he played the move 20. Bd3 instead of the move 20. Qd2 as in the above position. How would I have gained the advantage here in this position? Either the decisive win of points or a swift checkmate!


ROUND ONE
2 - Day Schedule.
The "evil" Game in 60 time control!



MY OPPONENT FROM ROUND ONE!
Sam played a great game today I had to take a risk in going for the win against him.
( The only game I won today...)

Ok... so I split the two Game in 60 minutes today... one win and one loss. I lost to an IM who was rated 2344 in round two. That was an enjoyable game though - learned a lot! The "IM" stands for "International Master"and you have to be really good at chess to win that title. Even tougher is the "GM" title... and we have one of those super strong players here at this event! Getting to play really strong players like that is why I come to these events in California.

I played really weak in my third round game this evening - which was using the "real" time control of 40 moves in 2 hours and Sudden Death in one hour. That is potentially a six hour game folks! I was lucky to escape with a draw in that game. So My score after three rounds is 50 percent. Tonight I will be dreaming of winning both of my games tomorrow!

The solution for the puzzle up top begins with the move I was hoping to play... 20. ...Qxb3! Now if 21. axb3 then 21. ... Nxb3 is checkmate! Any other move lets me keep the Knight leaving me up a minor piece.

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Friday, October 15, 2010

ARRIVAL IN LOS ANGELES! Traffic gets in the way of round one - a near catastrophe!

LOS ANGELES OPEN 2010 - The JOHN HILLERY MEMORIAL


VADIM KUDRYAVTSEV (White Pieces) vs my friend NUMAN ABDUL-MUJEEB


INTERNATIONAL MASTER (IM) JACK PETERS
ON BOARD 1

CONDUCTING THE BLACK PIECES

So leaving at noon today was not a wise choice in scheduling as there is such a thing known as "TRAFFIC" that one must contend with. I would have arrived about 45 minutes late - after my game would have been started - which would have been too much time to cede to anyone. My students are very lucky to have their parents bring them to their tournaments! Logistics handled by Mom and Dad are easily appreciated - when they are older! Of course you folks did not have to drive six to seven hours to get to the tournament site... all you have to do is maybe at the most is a 40 minute drive which is easy.

So how to deal with this problem of my late arrival while mid trip? Calling ahead and requesting a switch to the two day schedule was the only logical thing to do and thankfully Tournament Director (TD) Randy Hough obliged. Now I am faced with playing two game 60's for rounds one and two tomorrow and then the two day section will merge with the three day. That will be three rounds of chess for me and round three will be a long game. Why? The third round will be real chess - 40 moves in two hours and then sudden death in one for both players. Potentially a six hour game! Sunday will feature two of those and then this event will be in the history books!

For more information about Randy Hough's "LOS ANGELES OPEN - JOHN HILLERY MEMORIAL" please feel free to visit his website at http://www.randyhough.com/word/

There are many master already playing in this event with potentially even more top notch players registering in the morning. The highest rated players, who have registered so far as of now, are Enrico Sevillano at 2553 and Roman Yankovsky at 2574. Time to get ready with a little light studying and then it will be time to go get some serious sleep... and lots of it as that was one long drive today!

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

LOS ANGELES OPEN 2010 - Another Coach Sean Adventure!


CHESS COACH IN ACTION!

Pre drive checklist for LOS ANGELES OPEN:

1.) Car Maintenance... YES.
2.) Snacks in car... YES
3.) Pre trip errands taken care of? YES
4.) Chess set, board and clock in the car? YES!
5.) Did I get to prepare for this event Like I really needed to? NO!

But that is ok - chess is chess and chess is best played! Look for daily reports on my progress - or lack of it - at the LOS ANGELES OPEN 2010! I'm an active chess tournament player too but of course!

5.) AM I THERE YET? NO - Time to get in the car and drive!

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hand over hand, Rook over Rook... CHECKMATE MAGIC!

THE MONKEY BARS CHECKMATE - HAND OVER HAND, ROOK LEAP FROGGING ROOK!

THE MONKEY BARS CHECKMATE

HOW YOU CAN ALWAYS WIN WHEN YOU ARE UP TWO ROOKS!

This is one of our basic checkmates - and an easy checkmate to score with when you are up two whole Rooks! The reason why this checkmate is so easy is because:

1. Kings are slow runners!
2. Rooks, though big and a little clumsy, are powerful and strong runners.
3. Kings move one square at a time - in any direction. Unless they are able to use the special move "castles" - which is not relevant here.
4. Rooks move along "FILES" and "RANKS" - as far as they can "see".

WHITE HAS A WIN - TIME TO DO THE LEAP FROGGING ROOKS CHECKMATE!


ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET, READY... GO!

1. Ra3 - Ra5 gives a check to the Black King. Why?

PSSST! MY ROOK IS LOOKING AT YOUR KING!


In the position up above you can see the RED ARROW pointing at the Black King - that is to show that the Rook on a5 is looking at him or attacking him. This is because Rooks can look both up and down - along files - and from side to side - along ranks. The red arrow is on the 5th rank which is labeled on the side of the board*.

*Remember that you can always find the name of any square by cross referencing it by file and rank. So when I wrote "a5" this means the square on the a-file and on the 5th rank.


RUN FOREST, RUN!

1. ...Kh5 - g6.

If our or our opponent's King is in check then we have a list of possible options that we should go through to make sure that it is either a check or to see if it is a checkmate.

THE LIST:
1.) Can the piece looking at my King be CAPTURED?
2.) Can I put one of the King's friends - one of my other pieces - in the way so as to BLOCK the check?
3.) Can my King RUN AWAY to one of the surrounding squares around him?

So we can rule out 1 and 2 on our list and so that only leaves option 3. Which is to move the King and is the option that the player of the Black pieces had to take. No taking passes on our turn!


Now the Black King can no longer cross the 5th rank as those square are attacked by the White Rook on the a5 square. Remember the Rook not only looks up and down the a-file but also along this 5th rank. All at once! He must eat a lot of carrots to have such good vision!!


TIME FOR A LEAP FROGGING ROOK MOVE!

Now it is the turn for the Rook on b4 and so here is where we are in this position:

1. Ra3 - a5 + Kh5 - g6
2. Rb4 - b6 +

The "+" means check in chess notation.


"CHECK"!

So each Rook is leaping over the other forcing the Black King to the back rank where he will eventually be checkmated. Notice that in the above position that this King is to far away to run at either of the Rooks. Even if he could the Rooks could then zoom into action and go over to the other side of the board!

RUN FOREST, RUN!

1. Ra3 - a5 + Kh5 - g6
2. Rb4 - b6 + Kg6 - Kf7

And so on until we drive the Black King to the back rank where the final leap frogging Rook will deliver a check and mate - CHECKMATE!

1. Ra3 - a5 + Kh5 - g6
2. Rb4 - b6 + Kg6 - Kf7
3. Ra5 - a7 + _____?


1. Ra3 - a5 + Kh5 - g6
2. Rb4 - b6 + Kg6 - Kf7
3. Ra5 - a7 + Kf7 - Ke8


1. Ra3 - a5 + Kh5 - g6
2. Rb4 - b6 + Kg6 - Kf7
3. Ra5 - a7 + Kf7 - Ke8
4. Rb6 - b8 #

1 - 0 (WHITE WINS - CHECKMATE!)


GAME OVER - BACK RANK CHECKMATE!


The Rook on a7 prevents the Black King from running up onto the 7th Rank.


The Rook that just landed on the square b8 is giving the Black King a check and attacks all along the 8th rank thus giving a check and mate.


The Black King is in check and all of the squares around him are controlled - so he is also mated - which makes this a CHECKMATE! Game over - white won. Time for a new game!

Try to practice this technique with your young scholastic star a few times this week while at home so they can pick up this checkmate - while having fun practicing with you!

YOUR CHEROKEE CHARGERS CHESS COACH
Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"HOW DO YOU WIN THIS GAME ANYWAYS" or "CHECK, CHECKMATE & STALEMATE"

3 VERY SPECIAL WORDS: CHECK, CHECKMATE & STALEMATE!

FOR NEW MEMBERS AND AS A REVIEW FOR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS

AFTER A TOUGH and HARD FOUGHT GAME THE POSITION BELOW WAS REACHED...


... WITH WHITE TO PLAY.

An easy win for White - if we remember our three special words, which are:

CHECK - When a piece looks at the Square the King is on.
CHECKMATE - When an enemy piece or pieces not only looks at the square that the King is on but it/they also control the squares around the King. If the player of the King who is attacked is unable to CAPTURE the checking piece (That is to say the piece looking at our King.), BLOCK it or to RUN AWAY then we have a checkmate.
STALEMATE - When the enemy pieces or an enemy piece controls the squares around the King but not the square that the King actually stands upon. That is to say they do not look at the enemy King. This can only happen as long as the King who cannot move does not have any "friends" upon the board who can move. In other words we either need only pawns on the board who cannot move at all or no pawns and no other pieces remaining upon the board other than the King. There could be pieces upon the board - as long as they are pinned to the King - thus they are unable to move.


BLUE BUBBLES SHOW THE SQUARES THE WHITE KING "LOOKS" AT... or RATHER THE SQUARES THAT HE ATTACKS/CONTROLS!

Each King can only move one square at a time - unless of course it uses the special move castling. See a previous posting for coverage of this special move. Not only can the King step onto any of the one squares around him - as long as an enemy piece does not look at them that is - but he can protect his friends that are in this one square bubble that floats around him.

Notice that the White King looks at or attacks all of the squares around him - going in all directions. Each King has a force field that keeps out the enemy King. Because we can never put our own King in check we are unable to use our King - under any circumstance - to give a check to another King. This would break the number one rule of chess! Because for our King to give a check to an enemy King he must step within the other King's "field" and would thus receive a check as well. The two Kings can never ever stand next to each other!


THE BLACK KING HAS A FORCE FIELD TOO!


THE QUEEN IS THE MOST POWERFUL PIECE ON THE CHESS BOARD!

The Queen is the strongest piece on the chess board as she combines the moves of the Rook and the Bishop. Here she can look along Files, Ranks and Diagonals - the three "lines" on a chess board.

As long as she stays inside the "FORCE FIELD" of the White King the White Queen is immune or safe from being captured by the Black King.

STALEMATE!

One careless or hurried move can ruin a win in a game of chess. Here the move Qc7 was played and now the Black King has no liberties or free squares upon which he can move to... but move he must as it is his turn. Because we can never, ever put our King in check the play is now stale. Hence "STALEMATE". This game has now ended in a draw - that is to say it is even Steven!

Stalemate is a kind of DRAW - one of the three possible results in a game of chess. Win, lose or Draw are the three possible results that we can have in a game. Here White played a careless move and gave a mate... but not a checkmate.

The Queen looks at all of the squares all around the Black King but alas the Black King is not attacked or rather being viewed/looked at by the White Queen. He stands on the one square that is not attacked - so he is not in check.

ANYONE HERE ORDER A CHECKMATE?


CHECKMATE - That is how you win chess games!

Let us say that in the diagram up above that instead of the move 1. Qc7 having been played that the move 1. Qb7 was played instead. This too is a mate as all of the squares around the Black King are controlled by the Queen.


Notice how the Queen ALSO attacks, or looks at, the square that the Black King stands upon. So this is a CHECK and MATE which means CHECKMATE! Game over - White won!

We would write that down on a score sheet as "1 - 0" to show that White had won this game.

ALWAYS CHECK ON THE CHECK!

IS IT REALLY A CHECKMATE OR IS IT ONLY A CHECK?


If instead of playing the move 1. Qb7, let us say that the player of the white pieces had instead played the move 1. Qa7 check!

This is only a check... and not a checkmate. Why?


After the move 1. ...Kxa7! The King has captured the White Queen! So this was only a check and not a checkmate because the Queen could be captured. Now this game is over because it is a draw by TWO KINGS! This is also known as a DRAW by INSUFFICIENT MATERIAL as well.

The reason why the Black King could capture the White Queen was because she was outside the force field of the White King!


So to get the checkmate as the player of the White pieces - in order for you to win the game - you need to keep the Queen inside of the White King's forcefield and she needs to land on the b7 square! There she is safe from capture by the Black King and she controls all the squares around the Black King - hence the "mate" - and she "checks" or attacks/looks at the square the Black King actually stands upon. Checkmate! Game over rover!! Do you have time for another game?

Enjoy the lessons! - Chess Coach Sean Tobin.

CHECKMATE WITH TWO ROOKS (Monkey Bars introduction.)

FOR NEW MEMBERS AND AS A REVIEW FOR INTERMEDIATE PLAYERS

Here is a checkmate that every one of our players should know!


BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!

Align Left
ONE MOVE WINS THE GAME!

In the position given up above White has just moved his King from c1 to the square b1 and now it is Black's turn to play a move. Notice how the White King cannot step up to the second rank?


Notice how the Rook on the second rank controls (or looks at) all of the squares on the second rank? It looks at the squares a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, and at the square h2. All because this Rook sits on the g2 square.

Rooks move along Ranks and Files so our Rook from up above also looks at all of the squares going up along the g-file. That is from the bottom of the board up to the top of the board. If a piece looks at a square then it is attacking that square and any opponent's piece moving onto that square can be captured.

Remember the number one rule of chess - A King can never step onto a square that is attacked. We can never leave our King in check nor can we step onto a square where we - that is our King - will receive a check.

If our King is in check we have a list of possible options that we need to check in order to make sure that we are not in checkmate. This is the list and you should always check it in this order:

1.) Can our King (or another one of our Pieces) capture the piece looking at our King - the piece giving check.

2.) Can we use one of our other pieces to block the check? That is can someone else take the check for the King.*

3.) Can our King run away to a square around him to escape from the check?

*Remember that a Knight giving a King check is the one kind of check that the King cannot block. So when a Knight gives our King a check he must either have some other piece capture the Knight or our King must run away.

If we cannot capture, block or run away - then we have been checkmated.


The move King from g1 to h2 is the winning move for Black in the above diagram! Congratulations to all of our players who found this move.

Kh2 won the game because once the Black King got out of the way of the Black Rook he allowed the Rook on h1 to stare at the White King on b1. Because the Black King went to h2 - as opposed to the square f2 - he did not block the view of the other Rook along the 2nd Rank.

The reason why this is a CHECKMATE is because:

1.) The player of the White pieces is unable to capture the Rook on h1. He only has a King left in the game and the King can only move one square at a time.*

*Unless we use the special moves "CASTLES" - in positions where this is a legal chess move.

2.) No other piece can land on any of the squares between the White King and the Black Rook on h1 to BLOCK the check.

3.) The White King cannot step up onto the 2nd rank as the other Rook, the one on g2, looks at all of the squares on the second rank.

So this is a checkmate! Game over - we can set up all of the pieces to the start position now and start a new game!

- Chess Coach Sean Tobin.