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Opening traps

The first game I ever played in a chess club went like this (I was Black)

[Event "Chess Club"]
[Site "Hereward School, March"]
[Date "1972.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Stacey, Ian"]
[Black "Regis, David"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C20"]
[PlyCount "7"]

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 $4 
(3...g6) (3...Qf6)
4. Qxf7# 1-0

Oh dear!

OK, I haven't been caught like that since. What should Black do about this?

Garry Kasparov

Kasparov wasn't just the best chessplayer of his time, he may have been the best of any time. Botvinnik used to say that he was primus inter pares, first among equals, but Kasparov wasn't like that at all. His rating was a long way ahead of his rivals. And he didn't like to win a tournament by doing just enough to win -- he wanted to win a long way ahead of second place. And he didn't just like to win a game -- he wanted to smash his opponents -- and he often did! He worked harder, he knew more opening theory, he put more energy into his games...

Vladmir Kramnik

Kramnik has an unusual skill -- playing apparently simple and effective plans against the most complex modern openings, and against the most dangerous opponents. Here he his showing the value of a central pawn majority against the Grunfeld's staunchest defender:

How to play the opening 2

Don't play Old Stodge.

A lot of you play Old Stodge.

This is Old Stodge.

 [Event "Don't play Old Stodge"] [Site "Old Stodge"] [Date "????.??.??"] [Round "?"] [White "?"] [Black "?"] [Result "*"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. d3 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 * 

Don't play Old Stodge

Why?

It's usually blocked and difficult and boring, and your Rooks will sulk for a long while about being left out.

A planning test (Botvinnik-Kan)

White to play and win

[Event "URS-ch11 Final"]
[Site "Leningrad"]
[Date "1939.04.29"]
[Round "10"]
[White "Botvinnik, M."]
[Black "Kan, Ilia Abramovich"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E24"]
[Annotator "bishops: bad bishop?"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3r2k1/5pp1/bp3q1p/2pBpP2/2P1P3/P6P/2Q3P1/5RK1 b - - 0 26"]
[PlyCount "1"]
[EventDate "1939.04.16"]
[EventRounds "17"]
[EventCountry "URS"]

{[#]} 26... Bc8 {[#] The Bd5 is not bad - rather, it is the Bc8 that has no
scope. But how does White make progress?} 1-0


Christmas Puzzles 2020

I hope you have fun with these!

Very easy: White to play and mate in 6 moves (Mums and Dads)

[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[Annotator "Fox/James"]
[White "#6"]
[Black "B"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "K1k5/P1Pp4/1p1P4/8/p7/P2P4/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "11"]

{[#]} 1. *


Fairly easy: White to play and mate in 6 moves (U9s/U11s)

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