How to Study and Play “Reverse” Openings!!

If you ever get good at any opening the next idea you get will be to try that opening in reverse! The viability is determined by whether of not a single tempo is enough to approve or dismiss the idea.

What happens is there is usually a lot of theory on what ever color has gotten the most use. If you want to play the Bird, I think it’s best to have a book or 2 on the Dutch. With an extra tempo, why hasn’t theory made the Bird more feared than the Dutch? It’s up to you to discover that!? When you find the answer, and it is out there, you will have a tournament weapon that no one reading a book can prepare for!! The other good news is you may have found a move or sequence that is dangerous as White and as Black.

The way you check viability and find out where the tempo matters has definitely been improved by the computer. To find white’s best move, put the position on an engine with 12-16 lines showing and see what it says. Now, take the position on the right and put it on the engine but tell the computer that it’s black’s move. As white my engine chose c2-c4, b1-a3, and c2-c3. As Black it chose c7-c5, b8-a6, and c7-c6, but the numerical evaluations were off by +/- .10 – .25. If it’s the exact same position and color is the only thing that’s changed, why isn’t the evaluation exactly the same?? That’s why in my chess laboratory the computer is the tool, not the boss! Try this with any opening!?!

The basic consensus is that the English is one of the most boring and drawish openings ever created. Translation; Your endgame has to be at, “A” level or higher to handle the endings!?! lol With a tempo down, the Sicilian not only invokes more uncertainty, but it is not called a reverse English in any variation!? If you want to get good at the Bird you must also buy books on the Dutch, but if you really want to understand the Sicilian and the struggle for the tempo they lost, you must study the English!!

So now comes the challenge of transpositions. The Philidor starts with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6. The Philidor in Reverse for me starts with 1. Nf3 to prevent an unprotected e5 by black. The extra tempo eliminates the traps and sharp lines I usually have to face. Since there is so little theory for black and virtually none for white, I’ve been able to execute middle game campaigns that punish my opponent’s clocks because after castling, they are always in unfamiliar territory and I have a few, “Novelties”. Again, set your opening position up on the computer, If it’s white’s move, change it so that it’s black’s move. If it’s black’s move, change it so that it’s white’s. Now watch what can and can not still be done!?! Even if you decide not to play the reverse of your favorite opening, you are sure to come away with a better understanding and some fresh ideas!

As you play your opening in reverse, be aware that your opponent, whether a move a head or behind is going to try to steer the game back into familiar territory. Your break away, if possible, should avoid the theoretical or classic lines unless they are still good for you. Move order is very important when playing the reversed. Watch carefully for variances and make sure there is no way back to familiar territory as soon as possible. When one comes up that’s forced in your favor, study it, practice it, and add it to your arsenal!!

Remember, grandmasters beat other grandmasters by creating unfamiliar middlegames from familiar openings. Now you have the key to planning better middlegames and surprising your opponents. Chess.com’s analyzer is good enough if you don’t have an engine. Go to settings on the top right hand side of your analysis diagram and you can change the number of lines it shows you from 3 -5!! Don’t be intimidated by the number of equal lines. Select lines and moves that are sound and suit your tastes!!

We have reopened! Come visit us at the club on Thursdays, take a class, get some lessons, or register for our monthly tournament!! Need equipment or recommended books… We’ve got them at competitive prices, no shipping and no waiting! The other thing is … Call when chess is on your mind, it’s that important to us. 804-426-6058, 8 am til 10 pm.

Healthy, Wealthy, And Wise For All Ages,

Mike C

State Scholastics 26/27 March In Nearby Fredericksburg!!!

Those aren’t ratings silly!?! Those are the year the games are from! I blogged about this awesome book, ” The King Hunt”. Look at these positions… If every single move is a check, or a capture, or a threat, or a sacrifice, that should improve the chances of solving it, right?! If you can’t figure out the 1st 3 moves of the position even when allowed to move the pieces, you don’t need a tournament, you need a class!

In just the short time I’ve been reading this book and sharing these positions, I’ve heard so many excuses for not being able to write out the answer… It’s too long, it’s too complicated, you must have made these up, that’ll never happen in a real game. I just laugh!? Culture and competence go hand in hand with chess and that means one automatically leads to the other. If you’re new or low rated and not watching the classics, you are not following grandmaster advice!!

So me being the good Level III coach I am, I came up with a challenge:

If you present me with all the roads to mate from these 3 positions, I will let you select a book of your choice and give you a free entry into our February 27th tournament. That is over a $75.00 value!!! If you are not a paying student, you may make your submission any Thursday between 6 pm and 10 pm at the club meeting.

You have to be wondering, Why would he make a challenge like that when I can move the pieces around, put the position in a data base, put the position on an engine, etc? Because I want to prove to you that in chess, there is no cheating!!! What ever earnest or easy work you do will improve your game. Don’t think I let you off easy!? To accomplish this task will take you 3-4 hours. You have to show me every continuation to mate until you reach mate in 2. If there are 3 continuations that are mate in 6, 5, 4, or 3, I want to see them all. You’ll be amazed at how early they have to start throwing pieces on the sword to avoid mate and I want you to see that!!! You can’t cheat while you play, but compared to becoming good at anything else, you can cheat while you study and practice!!! If you think becoming good at chess is hard, you’ve been misled, misguided, and sometimes outright lied to.

Our classes expose these misleadings, misguidance, and lies, so that you can have fun while you learn and while you play. Visit this link to see when our February and March trainings are: https://scholarshipchessbusinesscenter.com/grand-reopening-dec-2nd/zoom-lessons/

Do you prefer private or small group lessons? We can do those to!

You’re not a hamster so don’t study like one!!

Get off the wheel and learn the truth about becoming a better chess player! Hope to hear from or see you soon!!

Keeping Your Half Is A Catch 2022!

When does everyone say enough is enough and start acting like chess players instead of other sports people? It seems the more informed your perspective is on what is actually a good result in chess, the more people question your intent to win!?!(Strange)

In chess, you don’t reach a stand off, the game actually starts as one!!

Each game starts with each player having half a point, not zero! In order for that to change, someone has to make a mistake, an oversight, or a blunder. At the less than Master level it will normally require that you make more than 1 mistake, oversight, or blunder. The skill that actually differentiates amateurs and masters is each ones ability to spot and punish mistakes. So when non masters play they are both making mistakes, oversights, and blunders, and the last one to get caught making 1 of those usually loses!

Statistics and training materials are your key to the real struggle!

Let’s take a look at how we keep score compared to other sports. In chess, what does it mean if someone has a record of 23-8-5? This means that they have 23 wins, 8 draws, and 5 losses. In every other sport it would mean 23 wins, 8 losses, and 5 draws/ties. That distinction is very instructive! Why? Because chess is the only sport in the world that when there is a tie, and you are following Grandmaster advice, there is still a winner and a loser!!

In every other sport they measure your win percentage. In the example above the person with a 23-8-5 record would have a winning percentage of 63.88%. In chess we measure our keep percentage! A person with a 23-8-5 record would have a keep percentage of 75.00%! Go to US Chess and look yourself up! Scroll down the, “General” page to, “game statistics” and then go to, “by year” and the number they will give you is your keep % not your winning percentage. If you want to know your winning percentage, you will have to do that math on your own!! Chess success is measured by what you keep! Every other sport goes from 0%-100%. We go from 50%-100% In chess being able to brag about your, “Not losing streak” is as good or better than other sports bragging about their winning streak.

Order is important!

This is an informant. It is a FIDE publication that features top games and puzzles from top games in it. The feature that stands out is when you go to the puzzle section, The 1st puzzles are for checkmates, the second set of puzzles is for draws, the 3rd set is for material, then a section for all other themes. The puzzles are set up in order of importance!! Win, Draw, Material, Everything else.

1-2-4 equals 76 points when you play up!

Do you know how to play up? Grandmasters agree that the only way to improve is to play up. Each player must decide what their comfort zone is. Playing in the, “Under” section is ok, when you are within 50 points of the cap. Example… your rating is 957 and you are playing in the, “Under 1000” section. Your rating is 1369 and you are playing in the, “Under 1400” section. Other than that, you should be playing the spread. Your rating is 690. You should choose the, “Under 1000” over the, “Under 800”. Your rating is 1028. You should choose the, “Under 1400” over the, “Under 1200”. No matter how confident you are, you should not be 1231 playing in the, “Under 1800” section unless you are there strictly as a discovery exercise. After 400 points, your odds of winning the section go to almost impossible.

You either need the right class, or the right books, or both!!

You don’t need to be a grandmaster to train like one. The fun part of our training is everything is a shortcut! We followed the advice from great books, we did the work suggested by great books, and we discovered things you only learn by doing exactly what you are told. Now we offer these improvement methods to you at a fraction of the time and money it would take you to discover and implement them. We guarantee that our methods and techniques are 100% unique and the result of decades of reading and following the advice of World Champions, Cycle Competitors, and Grandmaster Theoreticians So, we encourage you to sign up for a course, come by the club for some free training, or purchase some of the hand selected books that we know will take your game to the next level

SCBC Brings OTB Back To Richmond Dec 2nd!!

We are back! I played in a couple of tournaments with a mask on and I found the bandanna works best for me. I’ve researched and talked extensively with US Chess and it seems that If we just do things right, the likely hood of transmission is extremely low! It’s time to do things right and get back to the work I love… Finding new talent, putting them on the true path to becoming a complete chess personality, and helping people of all ages use chess to help themselves!

Masks, Sanitizer, and Thermometers are here to stay!

We’ve had a banner year in 2021! US Certified Coach, 8 year old Anagha Sinkar, took 1st place in the K-3 Division of the Virginia Scholastic Championships. Anagha is a student of ours that became a middle school head coach when she was only 6 years old!! I keep telling parents, if you want them to play more conscientiously, get your child involved in coaching and refereeing as soon as possible! Anagha’s peak rating has gone up more than 600 points since she started coaching!! Life Master, US Certified Coach, and US Certified Tournament Director Jason Morefield joined our coaching staff when he was 11 years old back in 2014. This year Jason won the Virginia Closed State Championship. He is one of the few to win both the Open and Amateur Titles! His rating has gone from over 1800 to a peak of 2354 while he’s been coaching for us! Again tapping into the total chess personality made the child a better player! Anagha achieved her peak of 1440 in just 178 games. Jason achieved his peak rating of 2354 in just 413 games!! Both of these kids have played 40% to 50% less tournament games than other children their age that have the same ratings!! That saved their parents thousands of dollars while they were earning money too!! That’s a life lesson!! Head Coach, Chief Tournament Director, and Organizer, Mike Callaham received his, US Chess Level III Advanced Team Coaching Certificate this year! His application boasted 163 team appearances in the last 90 months! He is 1 of only 43 people that hold that title across the USA!! If you want to get the most out of the time you invest in chess, your search for leadership is over!

Our club is both an Arena and a playground!?

We are a tournament chess, professional development, and entrepreneurial training company. We are experts at the, ‘play, analysis, reflect, repair, and repeat‘ of tournament chess. We know many secrets and shortcuts to chess success. We hope that is why you come, but if you just like to play, you are also welcome!? We need as many types of sparring partners as we can get!! Click on, “Club Meetings” for information about the benefits of club membership!

The proving grounds of chess!

Last Saturday Open Swiss Tournaments: Nothing compares to sitting down to a complete stranger with a clock, a scoresheet, and rating points on the line. This activity more than any other is what begins and sustains the improvements to the personality, character, and mental prowess that we all believe and want from chess!! Without a stranger, clock, scoresheet, and rating points on the line chess is just another toy!! Click on, “Tournaments” for a complete schedule of up coming tournaments!!

Stamina and concentration from, “no mute” lessons!!

The pandemic sent everyone to the computer. South Park ran skits of darkened screens and muted participants. The problem, people didn’t know how to prepare a thinking environment so they had to make sure they didn’t get caught and embarrassed by what they we saying and doing or what the people in their households were saying or doing. By forcing our students to leave the microphone on, it did 2 things… 1.) It made them find a quiet place or made everyone else respect that they needed quiet for this type of work. 2.) It made the students pay closer attention because they could be required to answer a question at any time without the warning of being told to,”unmute”. It’s been very successful for us and the students love the special treatment and attention. Click on, “Lessons” for more details about class times, class material, and costs!!

Information Overload!?

Camps are about taking in a whole bunch of information then reviewing the information over and over, and using it over and over again until the improvements become permanent! Our camps aren’t like other camps!? When you ask our participants if they understood everything that was in the camp, instead of yes, there answer will be, no, I need to look over the booklet again!? We are offering this intense training the 20th-23rd and the 27th-30th. Click on, “Camps” for more details!

Check out all the details under, “Grand Reopening”!! If you’d like details about any of the programs at SCBC please call 804-426-6058. Ask for Coach Mike C.