Do You Really, Truly, Understand The Value and Properties Of The Pieces!?!

In the last blog, Va Championship Wrap Up, I let the cat out of the bag about the shortest length of a combination and the Magic 10! The Magic 10 consist of 1.) Range 2.) Speed 3.) Power 4.) Force 5.) Time 6.) Space 7.) Mobility 8.) Initiative 9.) King Safety and 10.) Material. If you are like most of our students, the properties and values of the pieces are flashing through your head as you read the magic 10. You may say to yourself… that’s easy, basic stuff. Yes the way you were taught was basic stuff, but when is your perception of the value and properties of the pieces going to evolve like the rest of your game? The chess world leaves us clues about the true nature of everything in chess!! We see them all the time and don’t realize we need that lesson, method, or attitude. A couple of examples… In any other sport, if you see a record of 15-5-3 that means they won 15, lost 5, and tied 3. In chess that means they won 15, drew 5, and lost 3. The reason our scoring is different is because when you are following grandmaster advice and playing up as often as possible, when you draw, you still get points!! Chess is the only game in the world that still has a winner and a loser when there is a tie! Why is it when you go to the back of an Informant to solve puzzles, they have mating combinations 1st, then there are combinations to draw, then there are material combinations, then there are all other combinations. If you have a Win, Lose, or Draw mentality instead of a Win, Draw, or Lose mentality you are habitually doing something wrong! Why does Chess.com have a vision exercise that requires you to tell where a board coordinate is? That’s a clue that you are supposed to know where all of the squares are and record all of your games. That has been a standard recommendation by the greatest players for nearly 2 centuries but there are still people out there that won’t do it and think they are improving intelligently!?! lol

Without boring you into submission, let’s get into our topic. Forgive my rhetorical questions, but this is supposed to be a comparison between what you believe, what is true, and which one will help you more easily and efficiently improve at chess. How many pieces does a chess set have? No silly! lol Literally, what is the minimum number of pieces you need to play a game of chess? The answer is 33!?!

The board is a piece!! You must understand and master it!

You can’t play without one. Remember, the whole idea is to be able to play chess without moving the pieces. That’s what all of us are trying to master!! Some people can see a couple of moves, some quite a few moves, others whole games, and at the highest level they are able to play multiple games without a board and pieces. Don’t argue, even if you set the 32 pieces up, you’d have to have some type of imaginary board to play and coordinates to record the game! It’s a piece.

The playing area is smaller than the board!?!

What is the playing surface of the board? There are 8 ranks and 8 files, but what is the playing surface? The playing surface is 8×7, not 8×8!?! I can’t make this stuff up. If the playing surface is 8×8, how is it that the rook can only go to 14 squares instead of 16? What will really bake your noodle is when I say that the there are only 63 squares that a piece can go to! Now that’s funny!! it can’t go the square it’s sitting on, it’s already there. The only point I’m making is that the board is a lot smaller than we think. Being able to only go 7 in any direction and knowing how the squares are occupied affects range, speed, force, time, space, mobility, and king safety!! That’s 7 of the magic 10!! When I go to teach someone chess, the 1st thing we learn is the board and how to record a game. The more you write the coordinates, the faster you won’t need a board to do combos.

How much is each team worth?

What is the total value of a team of chess players. We’ve all heard the 1, 3, 5, and 9 nonsense. Yeah I called it nonsense. The only thing I tell my students is who’s more valuable and how it translates to comparable material. The only time the team is worth 39 is when nothing has been moved!?!

The teams potential value!!

Now we are getting closer. Here we have 103! So how do we properly describe the value of the pieces? Simple… Each team starts with a fluctuating value that goes from 39 all the way up to 103. The job of each team is to help a member of the team to become priceless. Remember, when we are following grandmaster advice and playing up, wins and draws earn points. The piece that delivers the mate or delivers the draw is priceless because they are equal or better than the other persons King!!

The square the King occupies is his and his alone to occupy and control!?

Every other piece can explode and implode except the King. What do I mean by implode and explode? Every other piece can force other pieces to take them and occupy their square, The king can chase pieces, but he can’t attract. So when we look at the diagram, the king only controls 8 squares. He’s not a coward, but technically speaking he is a running piece. All the other pieces have the choice of run, take, block, or sit there. When the king is at his strongest, he requires you to see further ahead than any other piece. When met by the opposition of another king, the number of playing squares a king can go to drops to 55, (1 + 8 = 9!). Don’t get it twisted, The king is using the Magic 10 to conduct a battle. When there are no checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices, the Magic 10 will tell you what needs to be played.

The Queen reigns Supreme

From here, everyone has explode and implode!! Like the king, she can go in 8 directions. Her range, speed and mobility are 3-4 times more destructive than the kings. She has the character of a King, Rook, Bishop, and a pawn. Her only limit is that she can not move like a Knight!!

A Rook is just part of a Queen!?!

Why does everybody complicate it. You’ll learn how to use all the pieces and the board a lot faster when start asking yourself should you use the Queen or the Rook? Should I use the Queen or the Bishop, should I use the Queen or the Pawn? The right person for the job requires us to use our pieces that way!

The other part of the Queen!

The balance! A mini queen and half pawn! lol The Pawn moves like a Rook and a Bishop, just slower and can only face forward. What came 1st, the Rook, the bishop, the pawn, or the queen?

Circular Piece On A Square Board!!

How does a Knight move? It moves in an, ” L” shape is not true. The Knight is actually moving in an 8th of a circle!?!

The mysterious Knight?! lol
If it’s on dark, it’s attacking dark!

if you want congruence from a knight, you must understand that it is a 2 phased piece. It controls from where it sits, and attacks when it moves. It’s control and attacks can not be blocked. The diagram shows the squares the knight can not attack! During an endgame, hiding on a square like this can gain time!

2 moves ahead every time!!

If it’s on light squares, it’s attacking light squares. If it’s on a dark square, it’s attacking a dark squares! If I have a knight on f3 it’s attacking h7, e6, and f7. A Knight has it’s own worth! Nothing moves like it!

Look different? It should!?!

Now that you have an evolved your understanding of the value and properties of the pieces you have several advantages that you shouldn’t be sharing with anyone if you like winning.

The playing board is smaller than the actual board.

The board is the 33rd piece. When you master the board, you won’t need pieces.

Except for the Knight, all the pieces are made in the image of the king. They all do what the king does, just farther or with the added benefit of being promoted!

The Knight is a circular 2 phased piece! You must imagine it moving twice or 3 times to get a peak at it’s true power. If it’s on light, it’s attacking light, if it’s on dark, it’s attacking dark!!

Pawns move in the shape of a fan, not just nomadically down a file. Once a pawn reaches the 6th rank it’s as valuable as a piece. The pawn isn’t slow. It has the smallest playing board of all the pieces… just 40 with 8 promotion squares!!

The pieces are there for you to invest in the war effort. Their lowest value is 39, and their greatest value is 103. Success is finding a way to make one of them priceless.

The queen is a combination of 3 pieces. Always be asking if a rook, bishop, or pawn could do just as good or better job!?

The Magic 10 are what increases and decreases the value of a piece or group of pieces. Material is the last concern. Invest wisely!

Hope you learned something unbelievable. If you’d like lessons, we offer a free consultation. if you are not ready for lessons, we will get you ready for free!!

Coach Mike C 804-426-6058

VA Championship Wrap Up

One of the most basic guidelines we use to teach chess is, “Look at every Check, Capture, Threat, and Sacrifice Every Time!?! Regardless of what you think… Whether they can take you or not… Whether it makes sense or not… to see where everyone can and can not go for Kings, and Queens and Rooks!?!” Except for threats you have to know what the other 3 are just to say you play chess! But, to employ this rule in a game takes discipline. I laugh when other chess companies have, “non compete” agreements. We’ve never used them and never will. Why? Because being great at chess is a matter of discipline. Knowledge is “power”, but it takes discipline to become a “force”!!! I told you last month that I’m not holding back on my secrets anymore! The stuff I’m giving you in the notes to these positions is guaranteed to make your game blunderproof!!! When you finally acknowledge that discipline, not knowledge is what wins chess games, winning and losing at chess becomes a choice of whether or not you care. When you care, you will win or draw…When you don’t care, you will win, draw, and lose.

What you are about to see are the Va Novice and Amateur Follies. Every position you are about to see is from an actual game! Some players left a pawn out there, some missed mates in 2, and 3, and 4 moves. Others broke the rules of the opening, middle and end game. Some where stuck in the, “you take me, I take you back” mentality. But the reason they all failed to take advantage of their opponent’s mistakes or their own opportunities was because they did not consider every check, capture, threat, and sacrifice! Well start with the simple and work our way up to the complicated!

White just played Qf3??

Black just takes on d4. If white takes on d5, the knight will take on c2

Black just played Nd4?

Chess needs philanthropist, but not at the board! lol White has no worries taking the pawn on e5. If by reflex black tries Ne4?, white’s Nf7! will remind black just how different the position is from when that would work!!

Black just played Bd6??

Black should have exchanged queens and took the loss of the piece. Lucky for black that white played 2. Ne5?? instead of 2.Ne7 and 3. Qg7 mate!

Black just played Qa4??

In the game white played Rac1?? What they missed was 2. Qd5!! cd 3. Rc8 Re8 4. Re8 Qe8 5. Rb1! and the king and queen are unable to get off the back row a the same time. White will play 6. Rb8 winning the queen and remaining a piece up! All combinations get easier to calculate when the moves in the combination are checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!?!

Here white played Ne4??

The whole purpose of putting the bishop on the long diagonal is that everything in front of a bishop, a rook, and a queen, should be treated like it’s a ghost. White wins material by playing 1. Nd4!

Here white played gf??

Same game with a chance to hit the long diagonal again! White wins material again, this time with 1. Ne5!. If the queen takes they win the knight and the rook. If the knight takes then it’s 1… Ne5 2. Bf4! (Yes, it’s better than taking the rook!?) Bg4 3. Qe1! 0-0-0 4. Be5 with a huge advantage!

Here black played Qb2??

Anytime you can threaten mate, you must look for at least a w,b,w,b,w, or a b,w,b,w,b, to see what your opponent can do!? The minimum length of a combination is 2.5 moves. If you can’t or won’t look that far ahead, all of your games will be filled with missed opportunities!! 1…Ng4! (b)is a killer move! After 2. Bf4 (w) Qd4 (b) 3. Kh1(w) Nf2(b)( that’s what I meant by a w,b,w,b,w, or a b,w,b,w,b.) 4. Rf2 (or face a smothered mate!) Qf2 5. Qh3 h5 and black is an exchange and a couple pawns to the good!

Here black played Rg3??

Everyone can see checks, captures, and sacrifices. Heck, if you can’t see those, stop telling people you play chess!! Tell people you are a piece mover?! LOL. Looking at the checks, captures, and sacrifices, will lead you to irresistible threats!! White is in a mating net after 1…Nf5! From here all white can do is keep throwing players on the sword until it’s over. 2. Rf2 Rf2 3. Rg1 Be5!! ( If you play these fianchetto systems, Be4 and Be5 have to constantly be on your mind!) 4. Qf2 Qf2 5. Ne5 Rb8 6. Nd3 Ng3 7. Rg3 Rb1 8. Ne1 Re1 9. Rg1 Rg1 mate.

Here black played Rh3??

Yes, the last 3 examples are from the same game. That knight on h6 should be able to collect retirement for how long it’s been sitting there doing nothing. Why not 1…Qd5!! 2. Qe3 Qh5! 3.Qf4 Qh3 4. Rh2 Rf3 5. Rh3 Rf4 and wins easily.

Here Back played bc??

Oh come on, it’s a Sicilian and your king is still in the center! No way could black take that pawn. Black had to just take his licks after 1… 0-0 2. Nd4 bc 3. Nc6 Rfe8. At least in that continuation white still has to figure out what to do. Instead black got punished swiftly with 2. Bd6 Qb7 3. Rc6 Ra7?? 4. Be7 Qe7 5. Rc8 mate. Black could have fought longer with 3… 0-0 4. Rc7 Qb6 5. Re7.

Here white played Rdg1?

One of the biggest errors amateurs make is looking at their opponents rating instead of at the board. White has a strong advantage every way you look at it by just taking on d6. Let’s see what happens as the game progresses

Black played b5?

Everybody knows or should know that getting rid of your backward pawn is a priority. Everyone knows that the way to counter an attack on the wing is by activity in the center 1st then possibly on the other wing. Here black misses their chance to take the initiative by playing 1…d5! 2. e5 Ne8 3. Kb1 Nc7 4. h4 d4 5. Ne4 c4! 6. Qd2 Nb5 and it is the black team that is marching! 1… d5! 2. ed Nd5 3. Nd5 Qd5 4. Bd5 and where did the attack go. One of the things about castling queenside is you will nearly always have to spend a move to get your king to the b file because they are still too exposed. If you ignore this guideline it can get you in big trouble!

White just played Qe3? instead of the forced Qa3

This is the type of over exposure I was talking about. Here, the magic 10 take over. They are Range, Speed, Power, Force, Time, Space, Mobility, Initiative, King Safety and Material. These 10 things are affected by checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices! Being able to see w,b,w,b,w’s and b,w,b,w,b’s are how you increase yours and take away your opponent’s!! Here black eliminates white’s attack and steals the initiative by improving the range, speed, power, and mobility of their team with checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices!! 1… Bb2! 2. Kb2 Qf6 3. Be5! {Black has to close the diagonal. 3. Kb1 is worse, ex… 3… Rae8 4. Qa7 Re7 5. Qa6 Re2 6. Rh2 Rh2 7. Bh2 Qc3!! 8. Rg6! hg and wins. If 3. Qc3 then 3… Qc3 (3… Qf4? would throw it all away because of the beautiful move 4. Bd3!!. Black can’t take with 4… cd in this line because of 5. Rg6! hg 6. Rh8 Kf7 7. Rh7 Ke8 8. Qc6 Kd8 9. Qd7 mate!!) 4. Kc3 Rf4 5. Kb4 Re8 6. Rh2 Re5 7. Ka5 Rd5 is winning for Black.}. 3…de 4. c3 Rad8 5. Rd1 Rf7 black has a winning position. If you think these are long sequences for novices and amateurs, break them down into the 2.5 or 3.5 moves at a time and it won’t seem that way. Remember, 2.5 moves is the shortest a combination can be. A smothered mate, which every chess players love to watch is 4.5 move if you count from the 1st check!!

Black played Kh8??

By now, you should be getting tired. If you are, that’s a problem of stamina!? Having to look at all of this is why they give you 90 minutes for 30 moves and then 1 hr sudden death. It’s because you waste so much of your time at the board looking at unimportant moves, continuations, and positions. Playing on line and doing puzzles on line does not build stamina because all the toys/tools do the thinking for you. Using a chess engine is supposed to provide a comparison not a discovery!? lol Here black panicked themselves into a mating net. The game concluded with 2. Rg6! hg 3. Be6 Kg7 4. Bh6 Kh8 5. Bf8 Rh7 6. Rh7 Kh7 7. Qh2 Bh4 8. Qh4 mate. Black missed the winning 1… Qa2!! 2. Be6 Re6! 3. de Bb2 4.Kd1 Qb1 5. Ke2 Qc2 6. Kf1 Qf2 7. Kf2 Re8 8. Re1 Bc3 and white will have to give back more than a rook to stop the pawns.

White played Ba2??

It’s late in the game, you may be tired, but you must continue to look for mate. Here white missed 1. Rg8 Kh6 2. Bf5!! Rg1 3. Kh3 Rg3 4. hg g4 5. Kg4 Bg7 6. Rfg7 a1(Q) 7. Rh7 mate

In this position white played f4??

I watched a lot of players trying to be aggressive while actually missing the most aggressive moves they could make. Why isn’t 1 or 2 pawns enough? White has a forced continuation at their disposal. After 1. Nc7 Rc8 2. Ne6 fe 3. Be6 Rc7 white is up a pawn with plenty of attack left! If black tries to get cute with 1… Bc4?!, then 2. cd Rc8 3. Nd5 Nb4 4. Nf5! still makes it clear who is in charge! It’s not black. You don’t need to open the f file to dominate black!?

White’s last move was Ne4?!

In this position black played …d5 letting white off the hook. The dark squared bishop has no retreat! If black is to seize their opportunity, they must play 1… f6!(b) 2. Bf4(w) g5(b) 3. Bd6(w) Be4(b) 4. Re4(w) Qd6(b). This was a, b,w,b,w,b,w,b. This is what we call a, “4 banger”!? If you intend to compete against players that have all the time in the world to decide what they want to play, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5 combinations have to be a part of your arsenal. I can guarantee that when you finally start considering combinations that are this long, each move will be a check, capture, threat, or sacrifice that drastically alters the magic 10!!!

White’s last move was dc??

I saved this one for last for 2 reasons… 1.) It embodies at the highest level the secrets that no one is talking and writing about in chess books, and 2.) Because only the people who made it all the way through to the end deserve to understand this trajectory altering secret!!! The king is not the only piece that can be in check!?! No bold, no italics, just the truth!!! Once you realize that kings, queens, and rooks, can be in check it will change the way you look at a chess position. “I take you, you take me back”, is the 1st hurdle in a 20 hurdle race!? This whole combo is because of the queen being in check, not the king! 1…d4-d3! (check! When you are one of our students, this is a check!) 2. Qd1 dc (check!) 3. Qc2 Nd3 4. Kh1 Nb4 (check!) 5. Qd1 Bg2 6. Kg2 Ne1 7. Qe1 bc and black is winning. For those of you who were wondering, on 2. cd? there follows 2… Nd3! 3. Kh1 Ndf4!(check!) and white loses their queen!

Thanks for all the games!! They were a joy to read and more instructive than I could put in this article. If you want to learn more about our form of chess discipline, please contact us!! if you are not ready for lessons or coaching, we will get you ready for free!!! We hope you learned something unbelievable!! Coach Mike C 804-426-6058

Ready For Coaching? We Get You Ready For Free!?!

59 next month!? I’ve become the old dude. It’s terrifying! Not because I’m closer to leaving, but because there’s still so much left to do!! If I’d known just how much I was going to have to get done in this life, I’d have taken more vacations, and planned for a lot more time off!?! lol Having to get a stint put in to relieve chess pain and blockage is life altering. Life, all of a sudden feels like having an hour glass where you can see the sand coming in the bottom, but you can’t see the top anymore. So many leave with so much more at the top that I’m just grateful for the time I’ve had and the time I have left. I’m one of the lucky ones that got a warning!!

So, it’s time to make some changes. The 1st thing that’s changing is I work with and for tournament players only! Tournament chess is the only proof that will bolster a school application, college application, or resume!! It is also the only chess that matters for a scholarship!! I’ve got more secrets than Russia and the US combined and the only way to not take it with me is to declassify everything!! I’m putting all my best stuff out there for everyone to see, learn and improve from!!! There is no order because all of our lessons, group and individual, have always been custom. If you’d like an invitation to this FREE Learning Group, a free 90 minute assessment/consultation is required. You must be a, Rated Tournament Chess Player!!

Rosen 2425 vs Chow 2232 from the year 2011

As mentioned in the 11 yr old section of “Arena or Playground the 60/40 Rule”, you must be ready to play against your older opponents peak rating. Here in 2011 at the North American Invitational, Eric Rosen is just 18 years old. Albert Chow reached his peak rating of 2456 all the way back in 1993! Here black must choose between 16… g5-g2, and 16… g5-h6. The answer to that question will tell you if you are ready to be coached. Write out what you think the next 5 moves will be for each side. Write out as many continuations as you think are relevant. If you can’t write out continuations, you need coaching! If 5 moves is too far, you need coaching!! Move the pieces around as much as you like before you ask for the answers.

Callaham 1863 vs Cohen 1990 From the year 2014

The next position is from the 2014 Virginia Senior Open. This is the 3rd round of the day. My peak rating is 1943 achieved in 2003. Harry’s peak rating is 2199 that he achieved in 1997. 2 old farts fighting it out if you must, but instructive all the same. I stared at this position for 35 minutes before I finally made my move. Here you have 5 choices 16. d1- e2, 16. c2-d2, 16. g3-f5, 16. h4-f5, and 16. c1-h6. Write out the next 5 moves for each side. Move the pieces around as much as you like. If you can’t write out 5 moves for each side even when you are allowed to move the pieces, you need coaching, but you may not be ready?!

Checkmate Drills

White has just played 20. f1-d1?? Because of this blunder, black has more than 20 ways to checkmate white!! Yes, I said 20!! If you can write out 20 or more without moving the pieces, you should be coaching. These and many other practical exercises to improve your chess await you.

If you think you are ready for Tournament Coaching, we offer a free 90 minute assessment/consultation. We will discuss your goals, play the potential student, and then give you our assessment. If your student is ready, we will give you a quote. If your student is not ready for lessons, we will help you get them ready for FREE!! Rated Tournament Chess Players Only!! Call, write, or email. No texting. Coach Mike 804-426-6058. Call anytime!

Ratings Schmatings!?! What’s your “Handicap”?

The thing is, your actual strength, the thing that most determines if you are following grandmaster advice is your, “Category”. Your Category is actually supposed to lead your rating, not the other way around! Following grandmaster advice it is possible to have a category result with a performance of 1-2-2. I know because that’s the score I got in the under 2200 section while my rating was 1880. My post tournament rating went to 1910. If US Chess started calling bonus points a, “Handicap” more people would understand and play up. Today everyone wants to play in the prize section.

If your rating is 1100 and you play in the under 1200 section and you win with a score of 4.5 you will get to 1276. 73 of that is bonus/handicap points. If you played in the under 1400 and got 3.5 your new rating would be 1270, with 71 bonus/handicap points and it would be a category 3 result.

Earning a category has no rating requirements. Earning a title does have category requirements. As you improve, Category results are harder and harder to get because the people you need to play to get that category are becoming rarer and rarer. To make it even more difficult, you are playing people that are in decline. By that I mean there are more former masters in the expert section than there are former experts in the under 1900, and under 1800 sections. By playing up and using your “handicap” you will always have the opportunity to achieve the category before the rating!!

“3 Norm and Title rules
The following table specifies the set of titles, and whether a player needs to have attained an
established rating above the rating level to earn the title.
Rating Level Title Rating Requirement?
1200 4th Category No
1400 3rd Category No
1600 2nd Category No
1800 1st Category No
2000 Candidate Master Yes
2200 Life Master Yes
2400 Life Senior Master Yes

  1. Norms can only be earned in events of 4 rounds or more.”

A critical requirement is that your result in a tournament has to be more than a point higher than your statistically averaged expected result. If you would be expected to average 3.48 points in six rounds then you would have to score at least 4.4801 points (actually 4.5) in the six rounds. If you play tournaments where you are near the top-rated in the section then it may be difficult to get that exceptional performance because even going 6 out of 6 is not enough when your average expected result is 5.03 out of 6 (kind of hard to exceed a perfect score).

Don’t forget also that the ELO chart was originally for titled players…Candidate Master and up. That’s why the spread only covers 677 point of differential up or down. The ELO system didn’t originally have k’s or bonus points. The rating systems used by websites don’t offer bonus points or categories. That’s because websites are a toy until you make them a tool, not a tool that you’ve turned into a toy.

Today there are players and parents that are treating chess like bridge. In chess, you are wasting your money by just playing all the time. Only in chess is other people’s experience the best teacher!?! Go to the top 100 list of ages 7 and up and look up their history. You will find that more than 80% of the people on the list got their rating points from playing down, that they have a category 2 and even 3 levels below their rating, most have no category at all, and they are averaging less than 4 points per game they play since acquiring a established rating. (more than 25 games). How do you reach 1800 and have no Category after 282 games!?! They don’t have their ratings because of how hard they work!?! They are not the product of following grandmaster advice!?! They have their rating because of how often they play. When you go to statistics by year, some of them are playing 125, 150, 175, even 200 games a year. They are coming away with 50, 150, or 250 points a year!?!(sad) Don’t take my word for any of this. Go check. After looking at the histories you’ll never be afraid of someone higher rated again!!

2021 is your year. What are you doing to figure out how to get the most of your time in chess. You owe it to yourself to get some coaching and save some money in the coming years! We have a proven system against players under 1800. Our students typically earn 8-15 points per game. They achieve the same ratings as other players with less than 100 games a year! If that interest you, please contact us for FREE information!