A little girl challenges a grandmaster at a chess bar in Paris

I'm impressed. This girl played the opening well and made very few mistakes against a Grandmaster. Furthermore, they were only playing with a time control of 3 minutes each, which is a very fast form of speed chess.


Carlsen Says His Match Against Nepo is Likely His Last Unless Firouzja W...

I don't think that Magnus will give up the World Champion title so easily.  He is hinting at retirement.

People will be pretty disappointed if the declared Greatest Of All Time no longer wants to play the World Championship or if he decides to retire.

Around 1858 Paul Morphy came out of nowhere to beat the top players in the world. Then a couple of years later he gave up chess claiming it was a waste of time.  Bobby Fischer called Morphy "the greatest genius of us all."

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Elementary Blunder but It's Magnus Carlsen| Lichess Titled Arena

Magnus again ...


Best wishes,

John Coffey



Russell Gumbrecht Obituary (2020) - Salt Lake City, UT

Russell was a nice older man.  He was badly wounded in Vietnam and then developed schizophrenia.  He seemed a little odd, but he was a nice person.  He had a 1519 rating.  He felt like a B player to me.  He played a few times in our chess club and the quick chess tournaments that I ran.


He paid me an exceptionally nice compliment when he said, "I thought that I was a good endgame player, and then I played John Coffey and I found out what a good endgame player really is."


Magnus rating

I figured out that based upon the 73 point rating difference between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi that Magnus should have scored 6.5 out of 11 points.  Instead, he won 7.5 out of 11.  Magnus gained only 10 rating points.



World Chess Championship

Magnus Carlsen just won the World Chess  Championship for the 5th time.

Ian Nepomniatchi commented that he did not know why he made more mistakes in this match.

This reminded me of players who told me that they don't make the same mistakes against other players that they make against me.  Maybe I'm just better at spotting the mistakes.



Carlsen-Nepomniachtchi: Predictions - Chess.com

For Magnus, it's inevitably getting difficult. It's already his fifth match, so I don't think the fire is burning so hard inside.
—Vishy Anand


Stockfish vs. Leela: 3600 ELO BATTLE

"You leave this position with two intermediates, they will find a way to lose it somehow."

Jason Koch  1 month ago

Computer: Sees 25 moves into the future. 
Magnus: Sees 12 moves into the future.
Normal person: Horsey move funny.



QUEEN SACRIFICE by Magnus Carlsen

This is a very cool game between Anish Giri and Magnus Carlsen.  I mistakenly told someone it was with Wesley So.





I wrote this 5 years ago on Facebook.

Chess is a complex game. One grandmaster said that it is too complicated for any single mind to comprehend completely, which is true, but the human race has made a reasonable stab at it. Thousands of books have been written about the game, and an inexhaustible list of strategies has been developed.

I have been thinking about chess skill. I wonder if anyone has tried to study all the components of chess skill? On personal reflection, I think that chess skill can be broken into four parts:

1. Vision. This is something I developed at the age of 14 when I realized I could see all the moves available on the board at the same time. Chess vision is the ability to see things instantly that others would have to think about.

2. Pattern recognition. This is similar to vision, except that chess can create many complex patterns. Through experience and study, skilled players have developed the ability to recognize these patterns in their games, sometimes almost instantly.

3. Knowledge. Many complicated strategies have been worked out about chess, and players have to memorize some of them to compete seriously. I have spent a great deal of time committing chess strategies to memory.

4. Understanding. This is by far the most important. There are areas of the game that I understand so well that they require almost no thought or effort on my part. I can play these positions with ease. There are other areas of the game where I feel completely ignorant. For example, sometimes I get into positions that make me uncomfortable because I don't understand them very well.

The reason why understanding is so important is that the more we understand something, the easier it is to learn. This worked really well for me on my computer studies, because the concepts came easy for me, so it didn't take much effort to learn them.

I think many players try to learn things in chess without fully understanding them. At times I have been guilty of this. It can be difficult because chess is a hard-to-comprehend game. There are many different areas in chess, each of which can be a separate field of knowledge.

So to be a good student at chess, one needs either good coaches or good books that explain the concepts well, and the student needs to make sure that he really understands what it is that he is learning. The same thing could probably be said about any field of study.

Best wishes,
John Coffey


WIN WITH 1. E4 | The Vienna Gambit

I watched this video, recorded all the moves shown, and I added some computer analysis to the lines that I thought needed it.


This might be messy, but all the lines and analysis are below.  This could be useful for someone wanting to explore the opening.

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.08.10"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Gotham Vienna Analysis"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C25"]
[Annotator ", John"]
[PlyCount "47"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Nc6 (2... Nf6 3. f4 d5 (3... exf4 4. e5
Ng8 5. Nf3 d6 6. d4 dxe5 7. Qe2 Bb4 8. Qxe5+ Qe7 9. Bxf4 {
With a huge lead in development.}) (3... Nc6 4. fxe5 Nxe5 5. d4 Ng6 6. e5 Ng8
7. Nf3 d6 8. Bc4 dxe5 9. O-O exd4 10. Bxf7+ (10. Ng5 dxc3 11. Bxf7+ Ke7 12.
Re1+)) (3... d6 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. d3 {
If Black plays a6 at some point, then Bxc6 and castle and open the F file.}) 4.
fxe5 Nxe4 5. Qf3 {This is Gotham Chess main line.} (5. d3 Nxc3 (5... Qh4+ {
leads to a trap that John Coffey has played for 30  years.} 6. g3 Nxg3 7. Nf3
Qh5 8. Nxd5 Na6 (8... Nxh1 9. Nxc7+ {Leads to a chaotic position.}) 9. Nf4 Qh6
10. Ne2) 6. bxc3 {White would like to play Nf3, d4, Bd3, and O-O.}) (5. Nf3 {
is considered the main line.}) 5... Nc6 (5... f5 6. d3 Nxc3 7. bxc3 d4 {
Otherwise White will play d4.  This is a tricky system.  Black knows what he
is doing.} (7... Be6 8. d4 ({Or} 8. Ne2 {headed to f4.}) ({
Stockfish barely prefers} 8. Nh3)) 8. Qg3 {White chooses to sacrifice the pawn.
} {If they take...} dxc3 9. Be2 {The point is to threaten Bh5.} g6 (9... a6 {
Stockfish gives} 10. Bh5+ g6 11. Bxg6+ hxg6 12. Qxg6+ Kd7 13. e6+ Kc6 (13...
Ke7 14. Bg5+) 14. e7+ Qd6 15. e8=Q+ Bd7 16. Qxd6+ cxd6 17. Qf7) 10. Bf3 {
Intending Ne2 and castle.}) (5... Nxc3 6. bxc3 {
Intending to rebuild the center.  Now Black can do many things.} ({You can play
} 6. dxc3 {with the goal of} Be6 7. Bf4 c5 ({Stockfish prefers} 7... Nd7 8.
O-O-O {Which is equal.}) 8. O-O-O {
With an advantage to White.  Maybe intending Bc4.} {Stockfish likes} Nd7 (8...
Be7 {would be a mistake} 9. Bc4) 9. Nh3 {Intending Ng5.}) 6... c5 {
He doens't recommend d4 here.} (6... Be7 7. d4 O-O (7... c5 8. Bd3 {
is still fine.} c4 9. Bf5) 8. Bd3 Be6 {This is a mistake.} 9. Ne2 {
Intending to castle and attack the Kingside.} ({Stockfish prefers} 9. Qh5 g6
10. Qh6 f6 11. Nf3 Rf7 12. O-O Qf8 13. exf6 Bxf6 14. Qe3 Qe7 15. Re1 Bd7 16.
Qd2 Qd6 17. a4 c5 18. Ba3 Na6 19. Ne5 Bxe5 20. dxe5 ({Or} 20. Rxe5) 20... Qe6
21. Bxa6 Qxa6 22. Bxc5 Qa5 23. Qe3)) 7. Qg3 {
To punish Black for not moving his bishop.} ({You can't play} 7. d4 cxd4 8.
cxd4 Bb4+ {And White is going to have a  hard time defending his pawns.} ({
According to Stockfish, much better is} 8... Qh4+ 9. Qf2 Bb4+ 10. Ke2 Qe4+ 11.
Kd1 Bc3 12. Nf3 (12. Rb1 Bxd4 13. Qe2 O-O (13... Bb6) (13... Nc6) (13... Bc5) (
13... Bg4 {Are all also good.})) 12... Bxa1) {Stockfish:} 9. Kd1 {
Black has just a 0.6 advantage.}) {Some people will freak out with} 7... g6 8.
Nf3 {Develope. Now White has a choice to respond to Nc6 with Bb4 and take it,
or respond to Bf5 with Bd3.} Bf5 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. cxd3 {
Long term White benefits from the open F file.}) 6. Bb5 {
You need to pin the knight.} (6. Nxe4 {is bad.} Nd4 7. Qc3 dxe4) 6... Nxc3 {
Now you should take with the D pawn.} 7. dxc3 {
Because you need to open up your Bishop and get developed quickly.} (7. bxc3 {
This is an option, but he is not fond of it.}) 7... Qh4+ 8. g3 Qe4+ {This is a
common line, but if they don't know the theory, then you will never face this.}
9. Be3 Qxc2 (9... Qxf3 10. Nxf3 {is minuscule better for White according to
Stockfish 14.  White plans to castle queenside.}) 10. Ne2 Qxb2 11. O-O Qxb5 12.
Qxf7+ Kd8 13. Nd4 {Stockfish 14 likes} Qc5 (13... Nxd4 14. Bg5+) 14. Nxc6+ bxc6
15. Bxc5 Bxc5+ 16. Kg2) 3. Bc4 ({Gotham Chess does not like} 3. f4 exf4 4. Nf3
g5 (4... d6 5. d4 {transposes back to a Vienna Gambit.}) {
Stockfish 14 gives the line} 5. g3 (5. Bc4 g4 6. O-O gxf3 {
Which is technically losing for White.}) 5... Bg7 6. d4 d6 7. d5 Ne5 8. gxf4
gxf4 9. Bxf4 Bg4 10. Be2 Bxf3 11. Bxf3 Qf6 12. Bxe5 Qxe5 13. Qe2 O-O-O 14.
O-O-O Kb8 15. Kb1 Nf6 16. Rhg1 Rhg8 17. Bg4 Bh8 18. Bh3 {
with a 0.46 advantage for Black.}) 3... Bc5 {Gotham Chess calls this the
copycat variation.  He says that it is losing for Black.} (3... Nf6 {
This is just the Two Knight's defense.  Gotham Chess likes ...} 4. d3 {
Black can play Bc5, Bb4, or ...} Bc5 {This is the most common.} (4... Bb4 5.
Nge2 {Reinforce the knight.  Intending to castle and f4-f5}) (4... Na5 {
"The professional move."} 5. Bb3 (5. Qf3 Nxc4 6. dxc4 {
with the idea of castling queenside as quickly as possible.}) 5... Nxb3 6. axb3
{and try to play for f2-f4.}) 5. f4 {This is a cool trappy variation} d6 6. Nf3
Bg4 (6... Ng4 {Inaccurate.  This looks scary like you have blundered something.
} 7. Ng5 {Counterattacking.} O-O (7... Nf2 8. Qh5 {is winning.} g6 9. Bxf7+ Kd7
10. Be6+ Ke8 11. Qh6 {is winning for White.} Qf6 (11... Nd4 12. Qg7 Bxe6 13.
Nxe6 Qh4 14. g3 Nxe6 15. Qxh8+ Kd7 16. Qxa8 Qh3 17. Qg8 Qg2 18. Qf7+ Kd8 (18...
Kc6 19. Qe8+) 19. Qxe6 Qxh1+ 20. Kd2 (20. Ke2 Qg2 21. Ke1 Qg1+ 22. Kd2 Nxe4+
23. Nxe4 Qe3+) 20... Qxh2 21. Ne2) (11... Bxe6 12. Nxe6 Qe7 13. Nd5 Qf7 14. Rf1
) 12. Nd5 Qf8 13. Qxf8+ Rxf8 14. Rf1 {Stockfish 14: 1)} h6 ({Stockfish 14: 2)}
14... Nd4 15. Bxc8 Nxd3+ 16. cxd3 Rxc8 17. Nxh7 Rf7 18. Ng5 Rf8 19. Kd1 c6 20.
Nc3) ({Stockfish 14: 3)} 14... Rb8 15. Nxc7+ Ke7 16. Bb3 h6 17. Nd5+ Kd8 18.
Nf3 Nh3 19. fxe5 g5 20. Be3 Nf4 21. Bxf4 gxf4 22. exd6 Be6 23. O-O-O) ({
Stockfish 14: 4)} 14... a5 15. Nxc7+ Ke7 16. Bd5 Rb8 17. Rxf2) ({
Stockfish 14: 5)} 14... Nxe4 15. dxe4 Nd4 16. Nxc7+ Kd8 17. Nxa8 Nxe6 (17...
Nxc2+ 18. Kd1 Nxa1 19. f5) 18. fxe5) 15. Nxc7+ Kd8 16. Bxc8 hxg5 17. Ne6+ Ke7
18. Nxf8 Rxc8 19. Nxg6+ Kf6 20. Bd2 exf4 (20... Kxg6 21. f5+) 21. Nxf4 gxf4 22.
Rxf2) 8. f5 {This is a really nice move.} Nf2 (8... h6 9. Qxg4 {0}) 9. Qh5 h6
10. Nxf7 Rxf7 11. Qxf7+ Kh8 12. f6 gxf6 13. Bxh6) 7. Na4 {
Gotham Chess describes this as the most important move of this entire lesson.}
Nd4 8. Nxc5 dxc5 9. c3 {Trying to induce} Nxf3+ 10. gxf3 {
with a very solid center intending to castle queenside.}) (3... d6 4. d3 {
Intending f4, Nf3 and 0-0.}) 4. Qg4 {Stockfish likes this move.} Qf6 {
and here comes the magic...} (4... g6 5. Qf3 Nf6 (5... Nd4 6. Qxf7#) 6. Nge2 {
To prevent 6... Nd4.  White intends d3 with Bg5 with a "much better position"
because they have weakened their dark squares considerably.} d6 7. d3 Bg4 8. Qg3
{Intending Bg5 and Qh4.}) (4... Kf8 5. Qf3 {With the same idea.}) 5. Nd5 Qxf2+
6. Kd1 g6 (6... Kf8 7. Nh3 h5 8. Qg5 Qd4 9. d3 Be7 10. Qg3 {
Gotham chess claims that this position is so rare that you would never face it.
} {And that Black has to play this move.} b5 ({Stockfish 14: 1)} 10... Nf6 11.
c3 Qc5 12. Rf1 h4 13. Qf3 Nd8 14. Bg5 Qd6 15. Ne3 b5 16. Bb3 Qxd3+ 17. Ke1 Qd6
18. Nf5 Qb6 19. Nf2 Ne6 20. Be3 Bc5 21. Nxg7 Bxe3 22. Nxe6+ dxe6 23. Qxf6 Rh6
24. Qxe5 Qc5 25. Ng4 Qxe5 26. Nxe5 {0.65/45}) ({Stockfish 14: 2)} 10... b5 11.
Bxb5 h4 12. Qf3 Qc5 13. Bc4 Nd4 14. Qf2 c6 15. c3 Ne6 16. Be3 Qd6 17. Rf1 f6
18. Nxe7 Nxe7 19. Kc2 a5 20. Rad1 Ba6 21. Kb1 a4 22. a3 Ke8 23. Bxa6 Rxa6 24.
d4 Ra5 25. Ka1 Rb5 26. Qc2 {1.43/45}) ({Stockfish 14: 3)} 10... h4 11. Qf3 Nd8
12. Nxc7 Nf6 13. Nf2 Rb8 14. Nb5 Qb6 15. a4 a6 16. a5 Qc6 17. Na7 Qd6 18. Ng4
Nxg4 19. Qxg4 Qd4 20. Nxc8 Rxc8 21. c3 Qf2 22. h3 Ne6 23. Re1 Rc7 24. Ra2 Nf4
25. Bxf4 exf4 26. Bd5 {1.72/45}) ({Stockfish 14: 4)} 10... Nd8 11. Nxc7 Rb8 12.
Nd5 h4 13. Qf3 b5 14. Bb3 a5 15. a4 Nf6 16. axb5 Nxd5 17. Bxd5 Rxb5 18. Rf1
Rxb2 19. Bxb2 Qxb2 20. Ra2 Qc3 21. Bxf7 Bb4 22. Bc4+ Ke8 23. Qe3 Nc6 24. Ng1
Nd4 25. Qg5 d6 26. Ne2 {1.86/44}) ({Stockfish 14: 5)} 10... Qc5 11. Rf1 Nf6 12.
Be3 Qd6 13. Ng5 h4 14. Qf2 Nd8 15. Nxf6 gxf6 16. Nf3 b5 17. Bd5 c6 18. Bb3 Qc7
19. Nxh4 d5 20. exd5 cxd5 21. Bxd5 Bg4+ 22. Kd2 Rc8 23. c3 Be6 24. Bxe6 Nxe6
25. Nf5 b4 26. c4 {2.03/44})) 7. Nh3 Qd4 8. d3 {
Gotham chess says that the Queen is trapped, but Stockfish gives...} Be7 (8...
h5 9. Qf3) 9. Qf3 f5 (9... Qc5 10. Nxc7+) (9... b5 10. Nxc7+ Kd8 11. Nxb5 Qb6
12. Be3 Qa5 13. Qxf7) 10. c3 ({or} 10. Nxc7+ Kd8 11. Nxa8) 10... Qc5 11. exf5
b5 12. Bb3 Bb7 13. Ng5 Nd8 14. Be3 Qd6 15. Ne4 Qc6 (15... Qxd5 16. Bxd5 Bxd5)
16. f6 Bd6 17. f7+ Nxf7 18. Nxc7+ Qxc7 19. Qxf7+ Kd8 20. Bg5+ Ne7 (20... Be7
21. Qf8#) (20... Kc8 21. Qe8+ Qd8 22. Qxd8#) 21. Qf6 Qc6 22. Nxd6 Kc7 23. Nxb7
Kxb7 24. Qxe7 1-0


Magicnus Carlsen


Even though the first game is a short draw, I found some of the lines interesting.  This is a neat opening.

However, the second game is both pretty amazing and funny.


Interesting blitz game.

[Event "Casual G/10"]
[Site "Columbus Chess Club"]
[Date "2021.07.29"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Hollars, Isaiah"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2016"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventType "blitz"]
[TimeControl "600"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 c6
8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. e4 Bb7 11. e5 Nd5 12. Bxe7 Nxe7 13. O-O Nd7 14. Ne4
Qc7 15. Nd6 Rfd8 16. Qc2 Nc8 17. Nxf7 Kxf7 18. Qf5+ Kg8 19. Bxe6+ Kh8 20. Ng5
Nf8 21. Nf7+ Kg8 22. Nxh6+ Kh8 23. Nf7+ Kg8 24. Ng5+ Nxe6 25. Qxe6+ Kh8 26.
Qh3+ Kg8 27. Qh7+ Kf8 28. Qh8+ Ke7 29. Qxg7+ Ke8 30. Qg8+ Kd7 31. Qe6# 1-0


The 35 most important chess principles

Most serious players already understand these, but I think that we all know people who could benefit from basic principles.

This video didn't teach me anything I didn't already know, except #32 which states that opposite-colored bishops are dangerous in the middle game.  I didn't know that.

I like principle #35.  If he didn't state it, I was going to mention it.

It is too bad that he didn't get to King opposition.  


The first 3 minutes talk about a Grandmaster tournament game being stopped midway because of COVID.



Bobby Fischer beats a Grandmaster in 10 moves! (But Reshevsky plays on)

Compare this 4-year-old video to a more recent one ...


This is a bit monotone.  It sounds like he has a cold or is tired.  I'm glad that his presentation improved over time.

At one time I thought that I would like to do chess instruction videos, but there are a ton of players better than me doing a really good job.  It is a very crowded field.

My presentation would not be near as interesting.


Centaur Smart Chess Set


BTW, at the Columbus Chess Club last night I helped a guy named Paul Chestnut use his new chess computer.  This thing is pretty interesting.  It typically sells for about $450.   The board can sense where you move the pieces.  Want to start a new game?  Just set the pieces back to the beginning.  Want to take back one or more moves?  Just move in reverse.  You can take back the computer's move and play a different move for the computer, which might be useful if you want to play against a specific opening, or if you want to analyze.

There are circular lights under each square that highlight where the computer wants to move.

The pieces are the same size as my nice $35 chess pieces, although my pieces aren't as tall as some brands.  The board is just barely smaller than a standard tournament board, which makes for a pleasant playing experience.  The pieces and the board seem like they are made of lightweight plastic.  The pieces don't have much weight to them except that I think that they have a magnet on the bottom.  Underneath the board, there is no covering over the electronics that sense the movement of the pieces, so overall this device feels cheaply made.

There is a small screen that shows what position the computer thinks is on the board, which is helpful in case something got mixed up.  It can also display a chess clock.

All the brains seem to be on the narrow right side panel.  I suspect that it is using something equivalent to a phone processor, or maybe something cheaper.  It is running Stockfish, which potentially makes it a very strong chess computer.

Unfortunately, it only has 3 modes of difficulty.  There is "Friendly" that tries to automatically adjust to your level, however, Paul and I playing together lost to this mode.   There is "Challenge" that tries to be tougher, and then there is "Expert".  Given that it is running Stockfish, this "Expert" mode probably plays like a strong Grandmaster or better.  The Stockfish program running on a desktop computer is far better than any human player.

An ideal chess program would allow you to set the playing ability by ELO rating, which for computers can go up to about 3600.  My rating is around 2000.  Magnus Carlsen is rated 2847.   Ideally, it could also go down to zero.  


Top 10 Chess Players (2000-2020)

I think that this is interesting.  Magnus Carlsen appears on the list at 1:20 in the video.  By 1:38 he is #1. 

Here are the top computer chess programs:

In the final standings, I am surprised that AlphaZero is not on top.

Giveaway INC - GM Simon Williams | iChess.net

I'm not suggesting that anyone purchase this course.  However, the sample videos here are interesting.



Endgame lessons



#15 puzzle

I used to be fond of the #15 puzzle, and even Bobby Fischer was fond of it. The 19nth century puzzle maker Sam Lloyd claimed that he invented it, but it was actually invented by a 19nth century postmaster named Noyes Chapman.

It seems to me that the puzzle is a precursor to the Rubicks' Cube. Both involve sliding pieces in a limited way. It is possible to take apart and reassemble both in a way that can't be solved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/15_puzzle



8 Year Old Girl Hustles Trash Talker With Genius Trap! Next Beth Harmon! Boston Mike vs Dada

Cutting to the chase, at 6:20 in the video the eight-year-old girl makes a blunder against some street trash talker, but then she sets a trap which he falls for, and then she destroys the guy.  I missed the later Rook to f2 check that was very powerful.



No One Ever Defeated a Grandmaster Quite Like This

In the USCF online rated blitz tournament last night, I had some good games against higher rated players especially after they seemed to play risky moves in the opening.  I beat one master and lost to two others.   I started the tournament as number 20 out of 67 players and finished 11nth.

I had not played one of these online tournaments in about 5 months, but I need the practice and want to make it a weekly habit.  


Tennison Gambit

Play online chess

Tennison Gambit

Play chess online

Tennison Gambit

Play chess online
Click here for 14... Bd3.

Tennison Gambit

Click here for 16. Re1.
Click here for 16... Kb8.
Click here for the continuation!"

Tennison Gambit

Click here for 16... Kb8.
Click here for 16... Kb8.
Click here for 16... Kb8.
Click here for 16... Kb8.
Click here for 14... Bd3.
Click here for 16. Re1.
Click here for 16... Kb8.


MrBeast Secret Chess Coach LEAKED

This is an overhyped chess game by two low-rated YouTuber chess players, but apparently, there was a $10,000 wager on the line, with reportedly the money going to charity.  I think that the comments are instructive, although he sometimes praises mediocre moves.  There were some good moves in this game, but also some not-so-good.


I just realized that there is a second game in the video.  The second game is simpler than the first.  The lower-rated player just fell apart quickly.  The higher-rated 1100 player seems a little better than his rating.

P.S.  I remember a time, say before the year 1990 when any chess rating below 1200 was considered meaningless.   I heard people ask, "How can you be any worse than terrible?"  You could have a good-sized tournament with nobody rated below 1200 participating, which was usually the case.   However, since about 1990, scholastic chess rose to such prominence, where the average kid might be rated 800, so the low ratings really did start to mean something.  Also, with the boom of Internet Chess over the last year, I know some adults who have 800 and 900 online ratings.  (Whereas some people might be intimidated playing others online, it is possible to go onto chess.com, get a rating, and then use the settings where you only play people close to your rating.)


You May Be Cool, But You're Not "Paul Morphy Hanging 3 Pieces" Cool

The astonishing thing about this brilliant game is that Morphy was playing eight people blindfolded.  Have we seen such brilliance from modern players?



These 2 Words Will Evolve Your Chess

I use different words for the same type of thing designating different types of combinations. This is a relatively simple chess lesson, more on the level of Class C maybe, but I think that the examples he gives are interesting and it is good to be reminded of these concepts because they are easy to overlook.



I Got BANNED From Chess Camp - YouTube

[Event "Candidates Match"]
[Site "Brussels BEL"]
[Date "1991.08.24"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Vassily Ivanchuk"]
[Black "Artur Yusupov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E67"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[EventDate "1991.08.24"]

1. c4 e5 2. g3 d6 3. Bg2 g6 4. d4 Nd7 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Nf3 Ngf6 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2
Re8 9. Rd1 c6 10. b3 Qe7 11. Ba3 e4 12. Ng5 e3 13. f4 (13. fxe3 Qxe3+) 13...
Nf8 14. b4 Bf5 15. Qb3 h6 16. Nf3 Ng4 {
With a knight possibly going to f2, and also planning on g5.} 17. b5 g5 {
Disregards the B pawn entirely.} (17... c5 18. Nd5) 18. bxc6 bxc6 19. Ne5 {
Absolutely fascinating.} gxf4 (19... Nxe5 20. fxe5 {is great for White.}) (
19... Bxe5 {weakens the kingside.}) 20. Nxc6 Qg5 21. Bxd6 {Aiming toward g3.}
Ng6 {Gets another piece invovled.} 22. Nd5 (22. gxf4 Qh4 {wins.}) 22... Qh5 {
The simplest apporach.} 23. h4 (23. h3 Nf2) 23... Nxh4 24. gxh4 Qxh4 {
Black has a scary attack.} 25. Nde7+ {This is the wrong knight.} (25. Nce7+ Kh8
26. Nxf5 Qh2+ 27. Kf1 Re6 28. Qb7 Rg6 29. Qxa8+ Kh7 30. Bxf4 {
The key difference is that the knight is on d5.}) 25... Kh8 26. Nxf5 Qh2+ 27.
Kf1 Re6 {The rook is going to join the attack.} 28. Qb7 {A beautiful move.} Rg6
29. Qxa8+ Kh7 30. Qg8+ {The only move that doesn't lose immediately.} (30. Nce7
Qh1+ 31. Bxh1 Nh2+ 32. Ke1 Rg1#) 30... Kxg8 31. Nce7+ Kh7 32. Nxg6 fxg6 33.
Nxg7 Nf2 {With the threat of Nh3.} 34. Bxf4 {
The only move to not lose the game.} Qxf4 35. Ne6 Qh2 {
Repeats the threat of Nf3.} 36. Rdb1 Nh3 37. Rb7+ Kh8 38. Rb8+ Qxb8 39. Bxh3
Qg3 {Black gets mate anyway.} 0-1  

Best wishes,

John Coffey


Nice finish

[Event "Casual Game"]
[Site "https://itsyourturn.com"]
[Date "2021.01.17"]
[Round "*"]
[White "John Coffey"]
[Black "chepillo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Ply "65"]

1. Nf3 d6 2. d4 c6 3. c4 e6 4. e4 Be7 5. Nc3 d5 6. e5
b6 7. cxd5 cxd5 8. a3 Ba6 9. Bxa6 Nxa6 10. Qa4+ Kf8
11. Qxa6 Qd7 12. Qb5 Qc7 13. Be3 Bd8 14. Rc1 Qb7 15. O-O
Ne7 16. Bg5 a6 17. Qb4 h6 18. Bf6 gxf6 19. exf6 Ke8
20. fxe7 Bxe7 21. Qa4+ b5 22. Qc2 Kd7 23. Ne5+ Ke8
24. f4 Rg8 25. Qh7 Rf8 26. Qxh6 Kd8 27. f5 Kc7 28. fxe6
Rh8 29. Nxd5+ Kd6 30. Nxf7+ Kxd5 31. Rf5+ Kxd4 32. Qd2+
Ke4 33. Rf4# 1-0

How To Checkmate With Bishop and Knight EASY (not really)

My knowledge of the Bishop and Knight mate was not complete.  I've pulled it off a couple of times, but not against what I think is the best defense.

About 6.5 minutes into this video, he assumes that the Black king runs back toward the wrong corner.  However, this makes White's job easier.


I always had trouble if the King runs the other way, which is to d8 and c7.  I had a general idea of what to do, but I hadn't practiced it enough to have mastered it, until now.

In the following sequence, moves 15 to 26 are the key idea.  Learn this sequence and the mate becomes easier.

[Event "Blitz:5'+2""]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2021.01.23"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Coffey, John"]
[Black "Stockfish 12"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/8/8/4k3/8/8/4KBN1 w - - 0 0"]
[PlyCount "59"]
[EventType "blitz"]

1. Kd2 Kd4 2. Bd3 Kd5 3. Ne2 Kc5 4. Ke3 Kb4 5. Kd4 Kb3 6. Be4 Kb2 7. Kc4 Ka1 8.
Kc3 Ka2 9. Nd4 Ka1 10. Nb3+ Ka2 11. Bf5 Ka3 12. Bb1 Ka4 13. Nd4 Ka5 14. Kc4 Kb6
15. Nb5 Kb7 16. Bf5 Kc6 17. Be6 Kb6 18. Bd7 Ka5 19. Kc5 { Some knight moves mate 1
move faster, but I like the simplicity of moving the king.} Ka4
20. Be6 Ka5 21. Bb3 Ka6 22. Nd6 Ka5 (22... Ka7 23. Bc4 Kb8 24. Kb6 Ka8 25. Kc7
Ka7 26. Nc8+ Ka8 27. Bd5#) 23. Nb7+ Ka6 24. Kc6 Ka7 25. Kc7 Ka6 26. Bc4+ Ka7
27. Nd6 Ka8 28. Bd3 Ka7 29. Nc8+ Ka8 30. Be4# 1-0

There is an alternative method where you use your three pieces to make a diagonal shaped wedge, and you try to force the enemy king into a smaller wedge.  Although supposedly simpler to understand, in practice I find that I can become confused on how to play it.  The cool thing about the above game is that you are almost guaranteed to reach the position after White's move 14, although possibly on a different edge of the board.  From there you just need to know the sequence to finish it.


Chess Game

Click here for 9. dxe5.
Click here for 11... dxe5.

Chess Game

Play chess online
Click here for 14... Ke8.
Click here for 15... Kd7.

Chess Game

Play online chess
Click here for 17... Bd6.
Click here for 19... Qf6.

Chess Game

Play chess online


Game against 11 year old USCF 1783 from San Diego

It is a simplistic game and the kid blundered at the end.  I just thought it interesting that this kid is rated 1783 USCF.  He wants to play me a G/60 sometime, so I might do that.  

[Event "Live Chess"]
[Site "Chess.com"]
[Date "2021.01.08"]
[Round "-"]
[White "john2001plus"]
[Black "Lukachess236"]
[Result "1-0"]
[CurrentPosition "r2qk2r/pp2bppp/3Q1n2/8/1n6/2N2N2/PP3PPP/R1B1R1K1 w kq -"]
[Timezone "UTC"]
[ECO "B27"]
[ECOUrl "https://www.chess.com/openings/Sicilian-Defense-2.Nf3"]
[UTCDate "2021.01.08"]
[UTCTime "02:01:57"]
[WhiteElo "1998"]
[BlackElo "1821"]
[TimeControl "600"]
[Termination "john2001plus won by resignation"]
[StartTime "02:01:57"]
[EndDate "2021.01.08"]
[EndTime "02:08:02"]
[Link "https://www.chess.com/live/game/6173533919"]

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 Nc6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nf6 7. Nc3 Qa5 8.
d5 Nb4 9. Bb5+ Bd7 10. Bxd7+ Nxd7 11. O-O Nf6 12. d6 exd6 13. Re1+ Be7 14. Qxd6
Qd8 1-0

The chess.com analysis feature didn't like some of my moves, but I won anyway.