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)
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!
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.
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.
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 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
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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!!
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.
Chess isn’t easy by a long shot but it’s definitely more fun than difficult when it’s taught correctly. Chess, above all other things it’s called, is a discipline!!! The challenge is what are you supposed to be disciplined about? There’s a correct way to do everything. Chess is no different. Checks, Captures, Threats, and Sacrifices is the beginning of your discipline training. Lombardi said we are going to get very good at the basics. Your punches, and kicks aren’t allowed o be sloppy because everyone knows you are a Black Belt!? Ask a chess player what they are supposed to be disciplined about and the answers will make you laugh more than provide guidance. The answer should have a common level of acceptance and then gain depth and diversity!! Read your chess instructions again for the 1st time and you will understand that there are things that you are supposed to be looking for on every single turn. Once you know what to be disciplined about and follow it, it’s like making people play any other sport in slow motion!?!
Checks: In the above position, The king has 0 checks, the queen has 6 at d2, c2, b2, e1, d1, and b5, the rook has 1 check at f5, the bishop has 3 at f6, e7, and c1, the knight has 1 at f7, and the pawns have 0. To evaluate the position correctly you should 1st see how many there are then see what your opponent’s response can or can not be for each one. It’s a rotation, so you may get the answer at any time. The key to getting answers is an open mind! You can’t say, “If I play that, they’ll just take me” Ok, if you play there they will take you, but should they, can they, without any risk or penalty? The more disciplined you become about the answer to that question the more you will discover about where everyone really can or can not go!!
Captures: If you did not figure out where to go by looking at the checks, now it’s time to look a the captures. The king has 0 captures, the queen has 1 capture at b2, the rook has 3 at d5, e6, and f5, the bishops, knights, and pawns all have 0. The procedure is the same! Look at each capture and see if they really can take you back or not or where they can or can not go. Again you must look a couple of moves to see should they, can they, without any risk or penalty? This is where the w,b,w,b,w, and b,w,b,w,b, I’ve been sharing with you in the last couple of blogs comes in to play.
Threats: If you’ve looked at the checks and captures and still don’t have moves to play, it’s time to look at the threats. Remember it’s a rotation! You don’t need patience to play chess, you need patience to win at chess. That’s why your blitz and puzzle ratings keep going up, but you still keep losing when you sit down to a real game! You don’t need skill to identify checks and captures, so don’t get all proud of yourself because you got the number right! Identifying threats will require that you use the Magic 10. Look at every piece and asses their range, speed, power, force, time, space, mobility, initiative, their affect on king safety, and if they can snatch any material. The features of the magic 10 in this position are range, force, time, and king safety… Anytime your opponents king, queen, or rook has no escape square, or has to stay on a square, all it takes is 1 good check/threat to take them down. You’re going to have to talk yourself through it. All you need is 1 check on the a1-a8 diagonal and black is toast. How or who has the range, speed, time or force to help me get my queen or bishop on that diagonal? My own rook is stopping my queen and their rook is stopping my bishop.
Sacrifices: The worst trick that has been played on the mind of chess players is that a sacrifice involves the temporary loss of something!! In chess, sacrifices involve the temporary gain of something!! That gain is a change in the Magic 10. Every time a check, capture, threat, or sacrifice happens, the Magic 10 of all the pieces changes!!! So here the question is how can I sacrifice with force and gain time to get my queen to e5? “I know, Rf5!? then if they take my queen, I take their rook and mate on g8!! Oh that won’t work, they just take me with their rook. Let’s look at something else” No, let’s finish looking at what we were looking at. The key to finding a combination is to constantly be looking the length of a combination. Here is the key to the entire system. You must look at the checks until all the checks are gone, you must look until all the captures are gone, you must look until all the threats are gone, and you must look until all the sacrifices are gone. That may take 3, 4, 5, 6 even 7 moves but at the end of your analysis, you will be 100% sure of where everyone can and can not go. So, after 1. Rf5!!(check) Rf5 you must keep checking, capturing, threatening, and sacrificing until they are all gone to get the correct answer about 1.Rf5!!(check)
We are going to keep going until everything is gone. Now the queen has 13 checks!!! e5(3), d2, c2, b2(2), e1, d1, b5, f3, e4, and g4. the bishop has 3 checks f6(2) and c1, the knight has 1 check f7 and the pawns have 1 check g4. We started with 11 checks and now we have 18! We used a forcing sacrifice to gain range, time, and more compromised king safety. We are in the middle of our combination now so we will be going through our rotation using the most forceful moves we can find to accomplish the objective we had set!. 1. Rf5!!(check) Rf5 2. Qe5! Re5 3. Bf6 mate! Visualize everything until they are all gone.
Our last example was using a check against the rook to change the Magic 10 in our favor. The rotation will always be the same. By that I mean we always go in the same order Q, R, B, N, then pawns.
Checks: The queen 9 at b5, c6(2), c4(2), d3, e2(2), and f1, the rook 1 at b4, the bishops 2 at c2(2) and the pawns have 0. If you’ve found the combination by just looking at the checks, then there is no need to go any further. My suggestion is to continue through the rotation until you are 100% convinced and sure that they have no way out and you haven’t missed a defensive resource!
Captures: There’s 1 for the queen at c6, 1 for the rook at b2 and 2 for the bishops at g5 and d4.
Threats: What does the magic 10 say? My pieces are good and that check on c4 looks killer. In this position instead of using the magic 10 for me, I have to use the magic 10 against my opponent. The only thing holding that position together is the Queen. How do we zap her range, space, and mobility?
Sacrifices: Here we know the problem. It’s the queen and here mobility. Oh wow!? the queen doesn’t have any escape squares either! 1…Rb4!!(check) They have to take with the pawn or I win the queen. 2. ab? Qc4 3. Kd2 Qd3 4.Kc1 Qb1 5. Kd2 Qb2 6. Qc2 Qc2 mate. They can’t take with the pawn, so I win the queen and get to keep my attack!!
Sometimes the checks will tell you what to sacrifice, sometimes the captures will tell you the threats, sometimes the threats will tell you which check to use! The point is, if you go through the checks, captures, threats, and sacrifices, every time, you are going to know the magic 10 of both teams, not just your own! You have to win more games when you know where everyone can and can not go for both sides!!
Now you have some idea of what to be disciplined about to win more chess games. It will only take one game of you using the information in these blogs to change the amount of fun you have when you play! This is still the tip of the iceberg. I promised you secret stuff that you’d never heard of that would explain why our students do so well so fast. how am I doing? There’s more coming!!! Your game, your inner talk and thoughts have to evolve. Remember we are a tournament chess training company. If you read and then try to discipline yourself to use this information during blitz games you missed the point!?! You must play longer time controls or be doing extremely difficult puzzles at a board to see how this works! At the beginning, doing what I say will shorten the length of your games, it’s not designed to save you time. For what I’ve explained to shorten your games and save you time. you must take these disciplines and make them habits!!!
Want to learn and see more? Get some lessons/coaching. Got a question, contact me. Mike Callaham 804-426-6058. Until then take what I’ve given you and beat the snot out of somebody!?! lol
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!?!
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.
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.
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!?!
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!!
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.
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!!
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 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?
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!?!
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!
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!
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!!