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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Strengths and Weaknesses of Chess Pieces

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There are a number of different Chess pieces available on a board that a game of Chess can be acted out with. Each of these pieces have a very strict set of rules which must be followed when using them and it is through the manipulation of these pieces that a victory will be won by one side or the other. Knowing everything about the pieces will only help a player in gaining that victory, giving them an edge when it comes to thoroughly understanding all of the varied strengths and weaknesses of each of the pieces available.
The King is the most important piece on a Chessboard. It is around this figure that this entire game revolves and the loss of a King means defeat for any player. The King is one of the weaker Chess pieces on the board, with the ability to move only one square at a time in any direction, with the exception of Castling. It can never come into danger from any other piece and if it is placed into a position where danger may ensue, the King must either be moved to safety, the piece placing the King in danger must be captured, or something must be moved, blocking the path.
The Queen, however, is the most powerful piece available on the board. It may move as many spaces as is possible either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. The only restrictions placed upon it are those of the Knight's movements: in an irregular shape or jumping over other pieces. With this vast power of the Queen, it is often a priority for players to remove another player's Queen from the game, as the endgame can be notoriously difficult to win with one or more Queens in play.
Bishops are allowed to move as many spaces as they wish, but only ever in a diagonal position. Because of this, Bishops have their limitations as they will always rest on a square of the same color on which they began the game. Their range, however, often proves to be an asset. Knights have the most unusual movement requirements out of any Chess piece. They are restricted to move either two spaces vertically and one horizontally, or one space vertically and two spaces horizontally, making their finished move look like an "L." This unique movement pattern is both an advantage and a disadvantage for a player, as it allows unique striking patterns that cannot always be avoided, but it can also provide more problems when it comes to making a retreat.
Rooks move as many spaces as is possible in either a horizontal or vertical direction. They are generally considered to be stronger pieces than Bishops or Knights, placing them just lower in power than the Queen. Rooks are one of the most advantageous pieces to hold in an endgame, often helping to quickly bring about a victory. Pawns, on the other hand, are the weakest pieces of the game. They can only move forward one space at a time, with exception of their first move, and they can only capture diagonally. The advantage about Pawns, however, if if a player can make one reach the other side of the board, the Pawn may be promoted into another piece of greater value, making them dangerous, the closer they get to the other side. With this basic knowledge, Chess can become a greater game of long-term planning and execution.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit used board games [http://www.sellusedboardgames.com] and chess pieces [http://www.sellchessboards.com].

Book Review of the Tao of Chess by Peter Kurzdorfer - Reveals Tournament Poker Principles

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Peter Kurzdorfer has been a Chess Master since the early 1980s.  He is the coauthor of The Everything Chess Basics Book with the U.S. Chess Federation and is the former editor of Chess Life magazine.  In The Tao of Chess: 200 Principles to Transform Your Game and Your Life, Kurzdorfer shows how the complex game of chess can reveal underlying truths that one can adapt from the chessboard to every aspect of life, even to the no-limit hold'em tournament poker table.
Here are a few of Kurzdorfer's competitive thinking insights, with each followed by my poker tournament translation:
1.  "Attacking a well-prepared opponent on the fly will rarely work in any sport or game."  Page 57.
In a no-limit tournament, the all-in bet provides a player with a significant advantage.  But, sometimes this advantage can be overused, leading to a false sense of security or superiority.  If you repeatedly attack a smart, observant opponent,  that opponent will adjust.  It is then only a matter of time before an ill conceived all-in bet will lead to big trouble.
2.  "The initiative is an advantage.  Take it whenever you can, and take it back when you don't have it, if at all possible."  Page 60. 
"We know that if you want something to happen, you need to make it happen.  And the way to make something happen is to go after it aggressively."  Page 102.
"The best way to psych out an opponent is to always play the strongest moves."  Page 213.  And,
"Fortune favors the brave...At least one reason why this is so is that defending is such a distasteful activity for most players."  Page 219.
In practically every situation in hold'em poker, the aggressor is favored to win the pot.  Thus, it is almost always preferable to bet or raise rather than call.  When betting or raising are not feasible options, then the best next option is to fold.  Becoming the table captain, or alpha player, is the goal.  This position is achieved through relentless aggression.   
3.  "Completing a hugh task becomes possible when it is broken up into many connected little tasks.  In other words, a journey of a thousand miles is carried out one mile at a time."  Page 129. 
Playing in a poker tournament is an undertaking of mammoth proportions.  There are literally thousands upon thousands of considerations about factors such as hands, opponents, odds, levels, and more.  These many factors intertwine to create an endless stream of situations.  And, each situation then requires the selection, from a menu of several, of the one best option.  This is indeed an elephant way too big to eat in one bite.  Even just the thought of winning a tournament can be overwhelming.
When overwhelmed, there is a mental fallback position.  Remember that poker is a game of decisions.  Winning poker is achieved by making one good decision at a time.  And, that is all that is required.  One good decision at a time, time after time.
4.  "Every dog has his day.  Don't ever think you can win without effort."  Page 160.
We all know about dogs in poker.  They are the hopeless, longshot hands held by an opponent.  Hands that probably should never have even been played.  But, there they are, anyway.  Sucking-out on the river to win our rightful pot.  It is maddening.  It is the stuff that puts otherwise sound players on tilt.
And, therein is the challenge.  And, therein is the meaning of winning against all odds, too.   Or, at least against all hardships.  This is not a time for whining and self pity.  This is a time for redoubling our commitment to winning.
5.  "Be on the alert at all times for opportunities in any game that you play.  They come up when least expected."  Page 173.
The windows of opportunity in a poker tournament occur during the play of a hand.  These windows open unnoticeably, and close quickly and permanently.  If a player is not informed, observant, and decisive, the opportunity will be missed.  The lost opportunity might take the form of failing to raise against weakness, and thereby winning a pot right then, as opposed to losing it later.  Or, many of the other moves in poker that are timing dependent.
6.  "The hardest game to win is a won game."  Page 192.
The greatest disappointment in tournament poker:  to become the bubble boy, after being chip leader.  And, the second greatest:  to place second, after being chip leader.  Indeed, winning a won tournament seems to be a major accomplishment in and of itself.  I suggest that you read Kurzdorfer's book to learn how to overcome this hurdle.
7.  "Anything that does not pertain to the position in front of you is extraneous thought: eliminate it."  Page 205.
Distractions.  There is no room in any form of competition for mental distraction or loss of focus.   Of course, to maintain one's focus for hours at a time during a tournament while under pressure and duress is one huge objective.  Especially, when you are competing on-line at home.  So, learn the art of concentration.  And, enlist any necessary aids, like disabling your email while you play.
8.  "Think along strategic lines when it is your opponent's turn and along tactical lines when it is your turn."  Page 207.
In other words, always pay attention to the action.  Especially when you are not in the hand.  The information you gain will help to shape your strategic plan.  Then, as opportunities present themselves during the play of a hand, you can execute the tactical moves to advance your strategy. 
9.  "Patience...All strong players possess this virtue in abundance...", page 214.
Every poker player has had the importance of patience drilled into their heads, over and over.  For some players, patience is synonymous with self denial.  For others, patience is an exercise in self discipline.  Regardless of how you define patience, the result is the same.  Patience is the ability to wait, and wait, and then wait a whole lot longer, to play only the right hand at the right time.
There is to be discover in Kurzdofer's book an important universal truth about competitive thinking.  It is this:  regardless of the sport, whether it is chess, bridge, poker, martial arts, video games, or whatever, there are only a few fundamental rules for achieving a winning mind set.  And most, if not all, of those rules can be found in his book.
R. Steve McCollum is a long time hold'em player. You may read many more of his sit 'n' go tips, tactics, secrets, and strategies at [http://www.SitnGoHoldemPoker.com] And, his poker book reviews at [http://www.PokerBookReviews.info]

Why is Chess So Popular?

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Chess can safely be considered to be one of the most popular games that exist in the world today. Having roots that go back many hundreds of years, this game has been in existence in its current state since the late Middle Ages, making it into one of the games with the longest lifespan that has ever existed!
Chess is relatively simple to understand despite some of the intricate moving patterns that the pieces employ and new players can master the basics of Chess in under 5 minutes. With only a little effort, the movements of all the pieces can be thoroughly explained, the game's concepts can be illustrated, and the objectives made clear. This easy-to-learn approach to the game gives new players the ability to get right into crafting their own strategies and start to learn the intricacies of the game, making it enjoyable for all.
The game has a wide following among more experienced players as well because it is one of the best mental exercises that one can receive when playing a game. It provides a thrill because there are an infinite number of possibilities that could happen during the course of any game, giving any player a wide opportunity of actions to initiate and react to. Long term strategies can often be enacted on a Chessboard against an opponent, allowing anyone to test out their knowledge and execution of tactics. Competing against a skilled Chess player can provide heavy stimulation for one's intellect, allowing this to be a perfect game to play with a partner.
Popularity of the game has allowed it to grow to the extent that worldwide Chess tournaments are often held, many of them annually. Nearly every country in the world is represented in these tournaments as the reach of Chess is widespread. These tournaments test the skills of all the best Chess players from each country attending, pitting them against one another until one player stands out, above the rest, as the Chess champion. Not only does notoriety play a huge role in these high-stakes tournaments, but often a large cash prize will be up for grabs as well to the Championship winner.
Chess is a great tool, not only for mental stimulation, but also for teaching discipline. Sitting down to solve Chess problems can help train the mind to look at problems in a new light. Sitting down for an actual game of Chess allows players to think creatively and strategically, helping their brains to adapt quickly to circumstances and to weight out all of their options before taking an action. This can be very helpful in everyday life, as many people do things without thinking about them, often being disastrous. Playing Chess frequently can help those people to slow down and evaluate the circumstances first, enabling them to become better, smarter people for it. Analyzing the situation has always proven to be beneficial to a person and Chess is just one of the most fun examples of how this can be done in everyday life. For this reason, the game of Chess has remained a part of popular culture for many hundreds of years, and should remain in that position for many years to come.
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for board games, chess boards, and dungeons and dragons miniatures. You will find all these things and more if you visit used board games [http://www.sellusedboardgames.com], chess boards popularity [http://www.sellchessboards.com].


Chess Pieces and Their Roles in the Game

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A wooden chess set can make for an interesting game. Unlike the general plastic ones we often find at the store, these pieces tend to have more character and class associated with them. They can add style and improve the overall feeling of any room they are in. But the best part of a wood chess set is getting to play it. If you've never played chess before, there is nothing to worry about. The game is easy to learn, just hard to master.
Each of the playing pieces has a specific role attached to it. As you learn to play the game on your wooden chess set, you will become more comfortable in the understanding of what each one can do. So go grab those wooden chess pieces, and we'll look at each one.
Pawn:
The pawn is the most underrated piece on the chessboard. Usually, these pieces are depicted as a single line with a ball for a head. These pieces can open with a single move forward or jump ahead two spaces. After this, they can only move one space forward until blocked. When a piece is directly diagonal to them, the pawn can capture it. Many people use pawns to snag pieces as part of a trap, but if they make it across the board, they can give you a piece back. There are eight pawns that line up in front of your heavy hitters.
Rook:
This is what appears to be a castle. The rook can move any number of spaces up or down, left to write unless blocked by one of your own pieces. Though never able to move diagonally, your rook can be a powerful piece when used wisely. There are two of these chessmen that occupy the far edges of the board when setup.
Knight:
A unique piece that looks like a horse's head. It can jump around the board in an L-shaped pattern. Because of its limited options, it can be difficult to use, so plan ahead several plays to master what you are going to do. Many people forget about this piece until it snags one of their pieces.
Bishop:
These look like taller pawns. One begins on a dark space and the other begins on a light space. The light squared bishop can only stay on light colored squares and the dark squared bishop is confined to the dark ones. They can move in any diagonal line as long as it is open and attached to the square they are on.
Queen:
This single piece is the most powerful piece on the board. She can be spotted as the tall piece with the enclosed crown. She can move along any of the squares that are directly connected to her. Front, back, and diagonal, there isn't a limit to where she can go. Keeping that in mind, you must protect her as well as you protect your king. Losing your queen can prove to be devastating.
King:
With an open crown, this piece can move in any direction by a single square. He is the piece you must protect with your others. If you fall into check you must move, and a checkmate means it is game over for you.
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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How To Improve At Chess - 2 Chess Improvement Tips That You Should Keep In Mind ALL THE TIME!

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With so many books, chess videos, articles, etc. about chess improvement, one could get easily confused while searching for the answer to the question: "How to improve at chess?"
When they read a book advocating intense tactical training like Rapid Chess Improvement by Michael De La Maza, they shove everything else to the side and start the grueling tactics training (which in this case involves going through 1000 positions in one day!).
Almost mid-way through the tactical training, however, the news that Jeremy Silman's How To Re-Asses Your Chess 4th Edition has been released and read all of the EXCELLENT reviews about the book. Forgetting the commitment they have made to study tactics intensely, they grab the book and start to devour the chess wisdom from IM Silman.
BUT after reading a couple of pages, here comes another chess improvement video from another internationally renown chess author and International Master Andrew Martin showing 10 things that a 1600 player should do to reach the next class. Guess what? Bye Silman and hello Martin. They shove Silman's book to the side and purchases IM Martin's new chess video.
And the cycle goes on and on and on!
The end result: they spread themselves too thinly and haven't learned anything at all at a level that will be useful for them.
It's about time to change your ways fellow chess amateur if you want to improve. And here are 2 chess training tips that will help you make your training effective and improve in chess:
How To Improve At Chess Tip 1
Focus, focus, focus! I'm sure you saw that coming. We have heard that time in time again, BUT have you really taken the time to focus on one aspect of chess (tactics, opening, endgame, etc.) until you really are proficient at it?
Here's a tip: when you have decided to read a book or a course that is useful for your chess improvement, make a note...NOT just a mental one BUT a written note that you will read that book from cover to cover and understand it DEEP enough to apply the ideas in your games before you pick another book.
Any good chess book will contribute something to help you improve in chess. It's your job to make sure you absorb it. 10 half-read chess books are NOT better than a chess book read and understood to the fullest.
Here's another thing: keep your training (reading books, watching videos, etc.) ACTIVE! Instead of just passively reading game notes and variations, cover them and predict the moves PLUS analyze the position. Only after that should you compare and check the notes.
For videos, pause it for a while. Set up the position on an actual board and do some thinking of your own before hitting play again. A. Nimzowitsch attributes his massive gain on playing strength because of such focus and training. He would spend as long as 6 hours in one annotated chess game instead of being spoon-fed!
How To Improve At Chess Tip 2 -
Focus and active training is important. BUT it's only half of the equation. The other half is just as important: focus on what's NECESSARY.
Endgame study is useful - no doubts about that. BUT if you are losing to simple forks in the opening or in the middle game, then focusing on tactics is necessary! I'm sure you get my drift now.
So what is necessary for an improving chess amateur?
That's precisely what a Grandmaster, chess coach, and psychologist reveals in his chess video course: The Grandmaster's Secrets.
Filled with practical advice on how to train in chess, which mistakes and pitfalls to avoid, how to prepare for tournaments, and MORE importantly (the core of the course) how to think like a strong player, this course is a treasure trove for the improving chess player: [http://how-to-improve-in-chess.com/2011/01/13/grandmasters-secrets-reviews/]
Please, a reminder: stick to it until you have absorbed every single idea in it DEEPLY. It will help you Improve At Chess [http://how-to-improve-in-chess.com/2011/01/13/grandmasters-secrets-reviews/]!


3 Rules Of Chess Success - Master The Chess Training Rules And GREATLY Improve At Chess In 23 Days!

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"What are the rules of chess success?"
Many beginning and improving chess players all over the world are left scratching their heads and asking the question above.
They spend sleepless nights analyzing different variations of the Open Sicilian. They sink their heads on chess tactics training and read strategy books that are encyclopedia-like in thickness. They watch videos of their favorite grandmaster or chess trainer teach a thing or two about playing the endgame.
HOWEVER, despite these long hours spent on chess training, they fail to achieve the consistent results they want!
These chess players may win in a game in brilliant and masterly fashion. BUT they would lose and get crushed like someone who has played his first chess game against a master.
Chances are you are one of these players. After all, if you are consistently winning games, tournaments, and play at a high level, then you wouldn't be here.
Well, don't worry. Right at this page, I will outline 3 rules that will dramatically help you improve at chess within 23 days!
Rules Of Chess Success 1
Play chess often.
This advice sure sounds obvious, but believe me, a lot of players are neglecting this advice. They spend 2 to 3 hours studying chess openings, middlegame strategies, chess tactics, etc. yet they can hardly find the time to play a game or two of competitive chess in a week.
Chess is a contact sport. The more you sink yourself in it, the more intricacies and subtleties you will know about it.
However, playing chess a lot alone won't take you far.
Rules Of Chess Success 2
Study instructive master games.
Again, we have another golden advice that is not heeded by class-level chess players. Many of them would rather grab books like "Winning With The Dilworth Attack", "Winning With The King's Gambit", and the like.
If you want to be successful at something, you need to look closely at the successful people in that industry and study what they do. The same thing can be said when it comes to improving your chess.
Look at how Mikhail Tal blasts the opposition into oblivion with his chess combinations. Study how Robert Fischer defeated the Soviet Chess Machines. Studying master games is like taking private lessons from these chess legends.
Rules Of Chess Success 3
Attention: Among the rules and advices for chess improvement that I have given here, this is the MOST important of all so keep your eyes glued.
Here is it: improve your chess thought process and make it efficient.
Chess is a thinking game. We all know that. Memorized moves and variations won't take you too far. With the millions of possibilities, you will encounter a position where you are all by yourself.
No amount of opening preparation and memorization could help you. Your chess thinking process - if it's efficient or not, will determine if you will come out on top or crumble in defeat.
Learn how to think PROPERLY - this is the most important rule of chess success!
Do you struggle and pull your hairs out when you encounter an unknown chess position? Are you always on the losing end of a one-sided chess battle?
If that's the case, then you should take advantage of an experienced chess teacher and Grandmaster's straight forward, efficient thinking tools, and clear-cut Rules Of Chess Success!
Know what your chess thinking process should be composed of. Learn how to study master games properly. And get more training tips to improve at chess in only 23 days!


How To Play Better Chess - Start Improving Chess Playing Skills NOW With This IMPORTANT Tip!

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How to play better chess?
The answers to that question would be so varied:
- Some would recommend drilling those basic tactical motifs in yours head day in and day out.
- Other would say start with chess endgames...claiming that doing so will help you realize the pieces' full potential and how to coordinate them.
- Some chess coaches believe that the key to play better chess is to master the positional side of the game and develop your eye for plans and long term strategies.
- There are players, mostly amateurs, that believe that it all boils down to your opening choices and chess opening repertoire. Pick the right openings and you should be on your way to playing better chess and even mastery.
- And there are some who don't really care about what you read and insist on playing more games and analyzing those to help you improve chess playing skills.
And we haven't touched even the tip of the iceberg fellas!
All are valid points. You can't take that away from them. HOWEVER, these solutions to the question: "How to play better chess?" forget to tackle one important factor: that chess is a thinking game.
And if you want to succeed in chess, you should know how to think properly - whether you are facing a position that requires long term planning, one that needs forcing moves to be resolved, or a combination of both.
Surprisingly, the subject of having a good chess thought process is hardly tackled in today's chess books and resources.
You will find a wealth of books on chess combinations, on basic endgames, on how to play the Sicilian Dragon or some obscure and tactical 1.e4 opening...BUT you will have a hard time finding a good book on how to think in chess!
BUT don't worry: there are a couple of guidelines that you can use to help you device a good chess thought process. One that you can practice over and over again in your training sessions and games until it becomes automated. And one that allows you to understand the position in front of you.
How To Play Better Chess - Thought Process Guideline 1
Always take a closer look at your opponent's moves and opportunities. The primary reason why chess amateurs blunder away pieces, allow back rank mates, allow double attacks (and basically, remain amateurs) is that they don't consider the possibilities that the opponent has.
Get this: you and your opponent has an equal 'say' in the game. Appreciate your trumps but learn to respect what your opponent have at his disposal. Be aware of what moves he may be threatening and that should help you eliminate blunders and play batter chess.
How To Play Better Chess - Thought Process Guideline 2
There are many factors in chess - development, initiative, open files for your rooks, diagonals for your bishops, outposts for your knights, paths for your queen, king safety, pawn structures, and those are just to name a few.
We are NOT even discussing the MORE advanced factors in chess success that are common in top level play like psychological motives, maximum resistance and defense, etc. I hope you see the point by now. It is impossible to cover all of these with your chess thought process. If only it was, then we would all be masters by now.
HOWEVER, to improve chess playing skills, you need to consider the main driving forces...the primary principles in a chess game when you are thinking of a move or a plan.
How To Play Better Chess - Thought Process Guideline 3 Last BUT not the least, your chess thought process should be structured for practical use...for tournaments and over the board chess games. This is especially true now since we have faster time controls.
If you are struggling to play better chess, if you are baffled of what makes a good chess thought process, The Grandmaster's Secrets - a course written by a well known chess coach, psychologist, and grandmaster, might be the game changing resource you need.
Coming with practical advice on chess thought process: the main principles I was pointing out, how to avoid blunders, how to think in chess if you are facing a tactical or a positional situation, etc., you are sure to learn how to Play Better Chess!
And it even teaches you how to prepare for tournaments, how to choose openings, and those are just to name a few. You simply have to check it out: http://fastchessimprovement.blogspot.com/p/grandmasters-secrets-chess-improvement.html


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