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!!

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.

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