The Austrian attack against the Pirc defence.

One of the most popular weapons against the Pirc defence (1.e4, d6 2.d4, Nf6 3.Nc3 g6) is the Austrian Attack, that is introduced by the move 4.f4. White builds a strong centre and is ready to strike with moves like e5 taking advantage of the lack of space of black.

When we learn new openings it’s useful to know something about the main ideas behind the variations. This is the purpose of the opening books in the Starting Out series. In Starting Out: The Pirc/Modern you’ll see an overview of the main lines for white and for black. If you’re interested in the Pirc Defence take a look in The Chess Store and type “Pirc” in the search window. You’ll see several interesting titles that are available at The Chess Store.

Here is a video that I recorded this morning commenting a game between Vlastimil Hort and Jan Hein Donner. Hort uses the Austrian Attack and he crushes the black king using excellent piece coordination.

Chess Olympiad 2012

The Chess Olympiad is one of my favourites chess events. We get the chance to see players from all over the world meet each other and compete in teams of 4 players. Many chess websites provide reports of every round and comment the games played by the strongest teams.

I’ve chosen to make a series of video’s commenting instructive games from each round. The criteria that I’ve used to chose which game to comment is not the elo ratingĀ  of the players but the instructive elements in the game.

Click here to see the game from round 1

Click here to see the game from round 2

Click here to see the game from round 3

Click here to see the game from round 4

Click here to see the game from round 5

Click here to see the game from round 6

Click here to see the game from round 7

Click here to see the game from round 8

Book review: Chess endgame training, by Bernd Rosen

As you probably know I believe that we can only improve our chess by training in an active way. Reading about chess in only the first step. The second step is doing exercises. The third step is bringing the lessons in to practice in our own games.

Many chess books stop after step one. They give you loads of knowledge but not enough relevant exercises to assimilate that knowledge.

The book Chess Endgame Training, by Bernd Rosen is one of those books that not only offers you the knowledge that you need in step one and also the exercise that you need in step two. As soon as a topic has been introduced and a few basic ideas discussed, you are immediately invited to immerse yourself in the subject by doing a series of useful exercises. This way you’ll be truly understanding the concepts and ideas in different endgames.

Bernd Rosen is a titled player and qualified trainer who knows how to guide the reader step by step in the path of chess improvement. In this book he follows a clear structure to go through the different themes and, most important of all, to force you to think.

Chess Endgame Training is not a book for beginners. I think that club players up to 1900 will find it extremely instructive.

Chess Endgame Training, by Bernd Rosen is available at The Chess Store

Chess visualization training.

Many of the games that we play are lost because of miscalculations. Visualizing chess moves in one of the things that is extremely important to diminish miscalculations. Not many chess players give attention to the important skill of visualization.

Here are two video’s with a visualization exercise that will help you to develop your visualization skills further.

Have fun and good luck!

Click here to see part 1

Click here to see part 2


Don’t waste your time!

In my opinion learning opening lines won’t help you improve your chess much, unless you already have reached a high level of play. The reason for this is that getting an edge in the opening won’t mean that much if you spoil it in the middlegame. Besides that you won’t be able to remember those opening lines unless you understand the positional ideas behind them.

For players under 1500 it’s of very little value to memorize opening lines. Above that level it is necesary to know some opening theory, but not much. Above 1800 things become different. The chance that you will retain that edge that you got in the opening becomes bigger when you play stronger. But still also then the emphasis of your training should be understanding tactics and positional chess.

I do understand that to many of you learning opening lines give you a sense of control. But you should understand that this sense of control is just an illusion. Once you get out of book in a tournament game you will have to show that you truely understand the positional ideas of chess.

Understanding positional concepts and recognizing tactical patterns are the base of chess development. Just like you can not build a house without a solid foundation, your knowledge of opening will only be usefull if you first work on a solid understanding of positional chess. Without this foundation you will be wasting your time.

I don’t mean that you should not learn anything about openings. Of course we all need to have a basic knowledge of the openings that we play. Just don’t exagerate by spending to much time studying openings while it’s a much more rewarding investment to study strategy and tactics.

Good luck!