7 Steps to Better Chess
In Stock. Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess. Chess Openings for Dummies For Dummies. The Batsford Book of Chess for Children beginner chess for kids. Chess Skills - Tactics - Techniques. Mastering the Opening and Middlegame. It's Your Move X 3. Chess Problems, Combinations and Games. Ivory Vikings. Chess For Dummies For Dummies. All chessplayers make mistakes. Even the great World Champions have managed to play some dreadful moves. Beginners naturally make a lot of mistakes, even accidental ly losing pieces , but can often survive or even prevail , with a little help from the opponent.
When facing stronger opposition , however, even a small error can lead to defeat. To make progress as a player, your number one task is to eliminate , or at least limit, your mistakes. This book aims to investigate how bad moves can push past all the superior alternatives , and often lead to defeat. We 'll look at typical mistakes as seen in my own games , hoping that you will learn from them and be able to avoid them in your own games.
Many of these lessons were painful to me as a player. In most cases , I ' ve been able to understand why the errors were made. Although I can 't say that all of them have been purged from my system, you ' l l see examples where I have overcome or avoided some common pitfalls. I ' m confident that once you ' ve worked through this book , your play will improve and you will be able to do without some of the painful experiences at the chess board that are a large part of the learning experience.
This book contains valuable lessons in every phase of the game. The seven steps to better chess are organized as follows:. The opening contains more danger than mere traps , as shown in our first chapter. The art of preparing for battle has been raised to new heights with universal access to chess computers and chess database software.
Psychological preparation can be smashed by taking the game out of known paths - but how to know what the enemy knows? I learned a number of lessons in opening strategy and psychological preparation, which are shared here. This chapter deals with basic tactical errors , which plague top players as well as beginners. After all , in order to win a chess game , the opponent must make some kind of error. Without a serious mistake , the games are likely to end in draws. There are many reasons tactical errors are made , and half a dozen examples of psychological and other errors are presented.
The next chapter deals with strategic mistakes. Planning is one of the hardest chess tasks. Deciding whether or not the basis for an attack exists , or timing various positional moves , requires great care , and it is easy to slip up. A number of warning signs can be seen in the games analyzed in this chapter. The following chapter deals with middle game lessons , with a baker's dozen of examples of middlegame play gone awry.
Advanced strategy and tactics are seen here , together with many psychological mistakes. These were painful mistakes on my part , and I was duly punished for most of them. You can avoid this fate by keeping in mind the psychological traps that are likely to trip you up during the game. We then reach the chapter on endgames. It took me a long time to even begin serious study of this critical stage of the game , as I explain at the start of the chapter.
I have tried to make up for more-or-less ignoring the fundamentals of endgame play by devoting considerable study time to it over the past couple of decades. Just because I learned late doesn't mean you can 't benefit now by avoiding my mistakes. After witnessing all of these errors , you might be inclined to wonder how I could ever pull off an upset against my betters.
The fi nal chapter shows how I learned some lessons and applied them against top-flight competition. The games in this chapter aren't necessarily my best , but they are instructive wins over players rated from to Since my peak rating was , they qualify as major upsets.
7 Steps to Better Chess by Eric Schiller, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®
Most of my opponents were Grandmasters , and with the exception of one simul game from my youth , all were played in tournaments with prize money at stake. I hope that when you have finished playing over the games in this book you will have learned quite a lot and will make fewer mistakes in your own games. Perhaps the fi nal chapter will help give you the confidence to play fearlessly against all opponents , no matter how high they are rated.
Even the very best players are far from perfect , and in any case , if you do not make a mistake , they cannot defeat you! I ' ll wrap the lessons up with some final advice and hopefully, send you on your way as a better chess player. The horizontal rows of the board, called "ranks" are labeled a-h. The vertical columns of the board, called "files" are labeled Each square can be described by combining the file and rank, To indicate a move, we start with the abbreviation of tbe piece being moved, as indicated in the chart below.
If a pawn moves, we don't bother with any symbol. For example, if a bishop moves from fl to b5, we write Bb5. When a piece makes a capture, an. For example, if the bishop had captured an enemy piece at b5, we write Bxb5. When a pawn makes a capture, we indicated the file but not rank the pawn started on, followed by an x, and then the destination square. Kingside castling is indicated by two zeroes separated by a dash:.
Queenside castling is represented by three zeroes separated by dashes: Checkmate is indicated by the symbol. Chessplayers also use a set of symbols to express opinions on the position, or to point out special features. Cardoza Publishing prefers words, but we do adopt the standard suffixes to indicate the quality of a move, as in the following table.
Tactics are the building blocks of chess and when they fall , the game often falls with them. Tactical errors are more common among begi nners but even the most skil led players drop pieces from time to time. World Champions have made tactical errors in the opening that have cost games in as little as a dozen moves.
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International Masters have dropped games in less than half a dozen moves. So , tactical errors will always be with us assuming my readers are human and not chess-playing computers! Among accomplished players , a piece is not usual ly left hanging so that it can be captured in one move. Such errors are rare , and not particularly instructive.
Losing a piece in two or more moves to a tactical trap or through an oversight is far more common. Double attacks and discovered attacks should be anticipated , but are often overlooked. Let 's start things off with a few blunders that are typical of amateurs , and trap a few masters , too! When a piece or pawn is located on the edge of the board , and is not under attac k , it is easy to forget about it.
The item seems irrelevant , so no thought is given to it when grinding out analysis. It is easy for opponents , looking for targets anywhere on the board , to take advantage of such errors. Pehnec vs. Schiller, Manhattan Chess Club Tournament, 1 In try ing to force pieces from the board and draw the game , I overlook the weakness of my pawn at a7.
Qe7 is strong , but easy to miss. It is natural to th ink defensively when two pieces are under attack , but , the merit of this move lies i n the attack that will come if B lack takes the a-pawn. Kg2 Qxe I; Kh6; Kf2 Qxg4; B lack is on top. Nxf3 NfS; 3 1. White won the endgame. Even World Champions make elementary tactical blunders from time to time , but in the following example , played recently, it is c lear that I needed to spend more time checking for tactical traps.
The pins , counter pins and fi nal fork are quite elegant tactics in the hand of my master opponent , but I really should have seen them coming. Counterpins , where the pinning piece itself placed under a pin by the enemy are among the least obvious moves in chess. See for yourself and learn from this rich example so that you don 't blow the win as I did.
Position after 22 Nj7. Schiller vs. My king has been driven to h3 , where it seems to be safe , and the pin at f7 should lead to the win of a piece. All I have to do is play However, I didn 't see anything wrong with moving my queen to g4 , where it attacks the pawn at d4. I figured that Bxd4 and Qxg7 was coming.
It all seemed so simple at the time. Suddenly I realize that taking the pawn al lows Black to equalize with a sac on g2 , and a discovered attack on the bishop at e6. Surely the queen is safer here than at f5? It is remarkable that to avoid trouble on the c8-h3 diagonal I needed to bring my queen into the line of fire!
Into the crossfire , in fact , as she is vulnerable on the f-fi le. At least I avoided Kxg2 Qxe6. I didn 't even consider this move , because I didn 't realize the bishop was pinned. I had assumed I could always capture the knight with check, but Black's move pins the bishop on the diagonal.
A rook is usually better than a bishop , but the rook here does not pin the knight , so. I resigned , because I ' m going to lose the rook at f l too. A very painful lesson i n basic tactics , which I shouldn 't need anymore. One of the easiest ways to get into trouble is to fail to analyze deeply enough. It is often difficult in a tournament , especially when the clock is counting down , to devote enough time to all the critical lines in a position.
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Some important variations may extend quite deep and it is easy to lose track. Mental discipline is required. The next game was played when I was a Class D player rated just over 1 How proud I was of the 1 20 1 rating! Position after 2 4. A very typical and instructive error.
I didn't have the confidence to leave my bishop hanging and try Qxb2; The pawn at c6 would be so weak after 1 6. That would have brought about a roughly level game. Rxe2 ; Simple miscalculation. It is true that I will get the d-pawn if Black gets my c-pawn, but there is also a fork of the pawns at a2 and d3.
I should have played Rxb2 ; Rxf2; Kxf2 Nxb4; Bxd4 Nxa2; Ba7 Nb4; Bb8 c6; B lack went on to win. I did recover from the previous debacle and managed to progress to the next level. The following battle of Class C players shows that there was much yet to learn. Sometimes I fell for the old trap of thinking that a pawn sitting on a square prevents other pieces from using that square. If the pawn moves , then I have time to defend , right?
It doesn 't work that way. If a player needs to use a square , which is occupied by a piece , then the best tactic is to move the piece while making a threat. Then the opponent doesn 't have time to react. In the next game I walk right into a punch by giving my opponent the opportunity to clear a square with an attacking move. You can avoid this problem by allowing your imagination to examine scenarios where existing pieces are removed from the board.
This is a useful exercise , which can lead to spotting many combinations. At the very least, it helps prevent the kind of error seen in this game. Jed::inak vs. The key to the position is the a3-f8 diagonal. Naturally since White has a blockaded pawn at b4 , I didn 't give it a thought. After B lack is not worse. Wh ite 's clearance sacrifice opened up b5 , and now I can 't avoid loss of material.
After my first error, I never recovered. B lack's position was not lost until this move. NbS; 2 5. Bb4 Qb6; Bxf8 Rxf8 i s best. White w i l l lose the b-pawn , so the position is only slightly better. I resigned. Remember that pieces that seem immobile can sometimes be moved after a preliminary maneuver. As i n any sport , you need to respect your opponent! There is a danger when things go too well and you manage to get an advantage early in the game against an experienced and talented opponent.
It is easy to become complacent , and assume that your opponent is going to continue to make mistakes. After obtaining a good position , you can be tempted to play ambitiously and boldly in positions that require patience and slow play. The opening had been going so well that I thought I had a clear win of a pawn here. It turns out to be a major tactical miscalculation! Retreating the bishop to g6 would have maintained equality. Rbcl Rb4. I had counted on this little tactic to put enough pressure at d4 to hold the position. I forgot my own bishop was pinned.
I have to exchange pieces and make the most of the situation. Rxb2; Rxc2 Rxc2; Qxc2 Qxc2; The pawns don 't make up for the missing knight. White had a clear advantage and went on to win. The error here was one of disrespecting my IM opponent. Something should have told me he wasn't going to hang a pawn for nothing!
There are not all that many types of checkmates, and it helps to know every one of them. Sometimes tragedy occurs when a winning position turns into a loss because of a type of checkmate that you haven 't seen before. That's the case i n the next game , but had I not overlooked a basic trapped piece tactic along the way I wouldn't have needed to know it.
The entire game is interesting and was widely published. We pick it up in the early middlegame , where I use a fine sacrifice to gain a winning position. Position after 1 6. Meins vs. Schiller, Groningen GM Open Netherlands This looks like a strong move since , if the bishop retreats , the power of the pin is lessened. B lack, however, has other plan s.
Qxd5 , I intended either 1 6. Nb4 or 1 6. The former looked good to me during the game , but maybe it fails to a maniacally tactical line; 1 7. Qe5 Qxe5 ; 1 8. Nxe5 Bf5 ; 1 9. Bxe4 Bxe4; Rxe4 Nxb2; Nxb2 f5 ; Rf4 Rxe5 ; Nc4 Rd5 ; Nxb6 axb6; White i s clearly better.
A very strong sacri fice , which gives B lack a defi nite advantage. Rxf2 Bxf3. The only correct continuation , since 1 7. Qxe3 fails to 1 8. Bxe3 ; 1 8. Bxf3 Bxe3 ; Nc3 QgS. There is no need to capture either rook when the bishop is so strong. Kg2 d4; 2 1. Nd5 Rad8. At this point I thought the game was simply winning , but White found a strong reply. Rc5 Bxf2; Kxf2 NeS! It took me far too long to work out the complications , and I caught up to my opponent on time. Each of us was down to 1 2 minutes for the remaining 17 moves.
What a picture! B lack does not seem to have much of an attack , but in fact the attack continues. This undermines the knight at d5 and exposes the White king. Each of us is down to 8 minutes here. Wrong check. I missed the fact that the White knight is lost after. On Rb5 a6; Rxb6 Rxd5 ; Kf4 Rd2 , B lack wins. I must admit that I missed the entire line with. This would have been a much more efficient line , but my move should also win. Nf4 Rxd4; RxfS Rd2; Bc3 Rxa2; Nh5 f6 Now Bxf6 fails to Rb5 Rd8; Nf4 Rc2;. Bel b6; This rook should have stayed home , but I didn 't see any possible threat to my king.
Extreme time pressure was forcing me to play quickly. Kg4 g6; Here all I had to do is play Rb l , but with both flags hanging, I thought I saw a mating net. Now th ings are tougher, because the simple Rc7 fails to Checking at f5 was necessary. Now White forces mate, a pattern I have never encountered. I just never saw it coming. At first I thought I had won on time here, but I had forgotten to notate the exchange at g6.
Then I thought that the position was not winning for me. Eventual ly, I realized it was lost because of the checkmate at g7. Study and learn all mating positions, even those that seem to be rare or improbable! I had never seen this checkmating pattern , using bishop , knight and rook with no supporting king or pawns. Perhaps if I had a minute or two I might have figured it out , but my waste of time and poor decisions in the middlegame were the real culprits. Mating positions should be part of your standard arsenal , and all checkmates need to be learned if you want to avoid a fate like thi s.
One of my best games ever, and a major upset in full view of a lot of top professional s , rui ned because of time trouble and ignorance! Strategic planning takes a long time to learn. While every beginner knows that the ultimate goal of the game is to checkmate the enemy king , it takes quite a while to understand the different demands of various stages of the game. What works wel l in the opening is not necessarily a good idea in the middlegame , and the endgame is in a universe of its own. The Fischer era did a lot of good for chess, but there was a downside for those of us who had no formal training or instruction.
Fischer made hypermodern chess the norm , choosing defenses where B lack that did not plant a firm stake in the center as the classical theorists were taught. Awash in Sicilians and King's Indians, we simply did not learn the importance of con trolling the center. Sure , it was mentioned in some books, but other books proclaimed that center control was a silly old myth and that the Hypermoderns had disproved all that. Well, the simple truth is: the center counts. Always did. It is just that the Hypermoderns opened up some ways of playing in the center without occupying it.
That distinction was lost on me for a long time. This is one of my most memorable games.
In fact, it was memorable even before I played it , because I had a dream the night before that I would be playing the White side of this opening against Michael Wilder who I lost to in the next. This game was played in one of my most surprisingly successful tournaments , the 1 New York City Championship. I was playing chess seriously for the first time in several years , and in the middle of the tournament , I had to drive down to Florida and fly back in time for the second weekend of play.
Along the way, I studied the Caro-Kann , using it regularly for the first time , and it has remained a loyal friend to this day, after bringing me from a Class A player to a Master. Lev Alburt went on to become the United States Champion. We became friends and wrote a book together on Lev 's favorite Alekhine Defense. Meanwhile , here is the brutal , but not fatal , lesson I received at the board. My old favorite again st the Benko Gambit.
Nd2 d6; 6.
Bb2 Position after 8. This does not appear to be a bad move , but it leads to a lost position. Bd3 was the logical move. Nxe5 gives B lack a great game. If I leave the pawn at f4 , then Black captures and will soon occupy e5. I must try to keep the e-file closed while my king is still in the center. I may have worries on the f-file , too. OK, I ' ll get some play on the diagonals after all. Oh no! My understanding of play in the center was still very poor. Thoroughly rattled , I make things even worse.
If I feared this position with f-pawns still on the board , imagine my horror now! It's hopeless, I thought, as I tried to decide between 1 3. Ngf3 , the obvious move , and 1 3. Qe2 , getting ready to castle to the relatively safe queenside. Then a ray of hope appeared in the form of a strange choice. A truly remarkable move , because it is going to be very difficult to develop the kingside.
I have ideas for using the d2-square , which will become clear later. Bb7; Bh3 hS. As expected. Nxe5 ; 1 5. Bxe5 ; 1 6. Nxe5 is complicated , but White is in the game after either capture , or 1 6. Qe2 Qe7 ; Bxg7 Kxg7 ; 1 8. Rd l Qf6. B lack is in serious trouble. Finally, some counterplay in the form of a threatened fork at g6. My kingside is still paralyzed , but there are no i mmediate dangers. Qg5 ; Here the Grandmaster slips up. The correct plan , not easy to fi nd , is to bring the knight into the game , and pave the way for the rook in the comer to join the fray.
Bxe5 QxeS; Nxg6 Qxe4; Nxf8 Kxf8. The pos1t10n still seems to be hopeless for White.
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Exchanging queens leads to disaster on the light squares , on either side of the board. B ut I found a clever way to complicate the game by using the d2-square , as planned. Nxe2 Bxh l ; Rxh l Nc6; B lack has a bishop and pawn for the rook , but can capture at h l. Or can he? Bxh l ; B lack can do n o better than draw. Qe6 Nf6; B lack should still be winning , but needs to put the king on the right square. Kh8 ; Qxb7 and sooner or later Black must take the draw. Now B lack had no choice but to split the point.
Draw agreed. There are a few lessons to be learned from this game. On the plus side , I did manage to fi nd an escape route for the king and never gave up the fight , no matter how badly things looked. However, I allowed the game to open up before securing my king , and that should have cost me the game. When calculating variations , you need to know how deep to examine each line. In the first pass at a position , it is very easy to discard lines where you pick up a piece.
After all , the opponent isn 't going to go into a line that gives away a whole piece! There are some positions, however, where a variation leading to a win of material is deceptive. It is so easy to just stop analyzing when the variation grabs the piece , but if you do , there may be a nasty surprise at the end. This isn 't the same as considering an opponent's possible sacrifices.
Whenever your opponents play leads to an obvious material loss , you are natural ly suspicious. But when the position is buried a few moves into the analytical stream , you tend not to think of it as a sacrifice. In the game below, that 's just what I did. Although objectively my position remained fine , psychologically my failure to consider my opponent's entire strategy added a lot of pressure , which in turn lead to enough bad decisions to cost me the game.
In this game , I hadn 't managed to castle but wasn 't too worried because my king has plenty of defense. I had ambitions on the kingside , but felt the need to open up the game for my bishop at b7 so that it could participate in an attack on the enemy king. Delange vs.
Schiller, Gausdallnternational Norway, Black 's king is a sorry sight. I really shouldn't be thinking about opening up the center, but that's the only arena available. The rook stares menacingly down the g-file , but it only serves to support some cheap threats at f3 or h3.
7 STEPS TO BETTER CHESS
I just couldn 't fi n d anything better. Using examples from his own games, Schiller illustrates the types of errors typically found at each stage of chess development, from early scholastic games to professional encounters with grandmasters. In each case, Schiller shows how such errors can be overcome while at the same time showing how professional players can fall prey to the same problems as amateurs.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 13th by Cardoza first published January 12th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 1.
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