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

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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

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Click here for 14... Ke8.
Click here for 15... Kd7.

Chess Game

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Click here for 17... Bd6.
Click here for 19... Qf6.

Chess Game

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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.