Isaac’s Mailbag, 3rd Edition

Hi everyone! I’m back with my third mailbag! As you know, each week I answer 4 questions that I have been asked since my last edition of the mailbag, either from coaching my high school team, or questions submitted by you guys, the viewers. Hopefully, you may find that some of these questions are similar to yours, and if not, maybe you’ll learn something new!

1) What is the best game of chess that you have seen this week?

Well, with the 2014 Chess Festival ongoing in Baku, its hard to not choose any of those games. Furthermore, with all of my preparation for the Kingstowne Chess Festival, any of the games I have analyzed would also be a more than respectable choice. But which game do I choose? My friend and teammate Charles, rated roughly 1300, trumps all of them, winning convincingly against the Yugolsav in a G/30 game today. Maybe I’m a bit biased towards players on my team, but preparation goes a long ways.

N.N. – Charles (Rated Game, 2014)

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Be3 Bg7 6. Nc3 Nf6

7. f3?! A bit premature, as Black immediately punishes this attack with the following moves.

7…0-0 8. Qd2 d5! 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. 0-0-0 Nxe3 11. Nxc6 Qxd2+ 12. Rxd2 bxc6 13. Ne4 Bh6 -+ 0–1

The game goes on a few more moves but the result is clear, black’s tactic is decisive. Great play Charles! Just remember, opening preparation gets good games, tactical preparation wins games.

2) What’s a good read for this week?

Broad question, but I like it! I’ll stick with books I have not mentioned on this blog before, so The Art of Planning in Chess: Move by Move by Neil McDonald is a great read for all players. If you want more tactical games, start with the Fire on Board series by Alexei Shirov, it just might change how you see tactical play. Lastly, I have to bring up Secrets of Chess Tactics by Mark Dvoretsky, which helped me break 1800 during the summer and early fall of 2012. This book takes a while to work through though, so be prepared to calculate like crazy!

3) Show me a tactic I can’t solve!

This isn’t a question, but I’ll take it anyways. I’ve got White to move in this position, you tell me if the position is won, lost, or drawn!

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 21.35.05


I mentioned Krabbé’s website, Chess Curiosities, a while back on my blog, and later found that Krabbé found White’s winning move here in a tournament game he played back in 1986.

1. Ke2! Nb6 2. c5 Nd5 3. a3 +- And white wins the piece. You have to wonder what made Krabbé stop himself from playing the all-to-natural 1. Bd2. Take your time in the opening, and maybe you will find moves like 1. Ke2!

4) You mention as a good resource for news on chess. What are some other news outlets that you would recommend?

So I personally like services the most because I can watch tournament games live on their site. But I should add that also has high quality articles, especially those written by GM Greg Serper and GM Daniel Naroditzky. Chessbase also has a reputable website, as you can not only read news, but also connect to, their own internet chess server. Those are the three main sources that I use to catch up on tournament events, but if you use different sources, please comment below!

Feel like I missed something? Feel free to bring it up in the comments section below!

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