Pawns not only create the sketch for the whole painting, they are also the soil, the foundation of any position – Anatoly Karpov


The ability to keep absorbing new information after many hours of study is a talent. – Garry Kasparov

Modern chess is too concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it, checkmate ends the game – Nigel Short

Siclian Defense – Alapin Variation

In chess, the Sicilian Defence, Alapin Variation is a response to the Sicilian Defence characterized by the moves:

1. e4 c5   2. c3

It is named after the Russian master Semyon Alapin (1856–1923). For many years it was not held in high regard, since 2…d5 was thought to allow Black easy equality.[1][2]

Semyon Alapin

Semyon Alapin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, the Alapin is considered one of the most solid and respectable Anti-Sicilians and is championed by grandmasters such as Evgeny SveshnikovEduardas RozentalisSergei Tiviakov and Drazen Sermek. It has in the past been played by World Champions Viswanathan Anand,Garry KasparovAnatoly KarpovVeselin Topalov and Vladimir Kramnik.

The Alapin is also sometimes seen in deferred form, particularly if Black chooses an unusual second move after 2.Nf3. For example, after 2.Nf3 a6 or 2.Nf3 Qc7, 3.c3 is often seen, since neither …a6 nor …Qc7 is a particularly useful move against the Alapin.

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Tactics Time (Book Review)

Chess Tactics Relative Skewer Attack

Chess Tactics Relative Skewer Attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I thought I would just bring you a quick review of a great little book “Tactics Time” by Tim Brenan and Anthea Carsen.

The book features a series of chess problems that come from real games and is aimed at those who wish to improve their tactical ability to review board positions and come up with the best move.  Unlike a hundred other chess puzzle books out there that deal with either grandmaster games (which we are rarely going to get into the position in the first place never mind find the solution against the clock) or theoretical novelties (which we will never see even if we get to grandmaster),  Tactics Time draws it’s games from real games.  The authors requested games to be sent to them in pgn format for them to review and select from.  The book could just as easily be called “1001 chess opportunities and mistakes that players come across”.  But because of the careful selection by Tim & Anthea it systematically programs your brain to think more tactically. In solving each puzzle you will get a benefit.


The chess problems are all drawn from real life and are carefully arranged to allow even newer players to quickly build experience. Each set of puzzles builds on the previous set. Below I have included one of the earlier puzzles (#70)

34 .... Nd3+ forks King and Rook, and forces white to give up exchange

34 …. Nd3+ forks King and Rook, and forces white to give up exchange

From the product description:

“If the following applies to you…

  • You want to improve your game to win;
  • You want to enjoy chess tactics from real games;
  • You are frustrated with other chess tactics books;
  • You have a busy life and are looking for a quick and proven way to improve;
  • You enjoy chess and want to teach chess tactics to others,

…then Tactics Time! 1001 Chess Tactics is definitely the right chess book for you.”

Adn I totally agree.  The book is ideal for all levels and contains problems that you are actually likely to encounter.

Tactics Time on Amazon

Greenbriar West Elementary (GBW) was in the spotlight again

Chess Pawn

Following their success in May 2012 at the National Elementary Championships in Nashville, Tenn., Virginia scholastic chess powerhouse Greenbriar West Elementary  (GBW) was in the spotlight again recently, this time at the 2012 National K-12 Grade Championship held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2  in Orlando.

More than 1,300 young chess players from 40 states competed at the Marriott Orlando World Center Resort in a three-day seven-round tournament. GBW was represented by 11 students from 3rd to 6th grade.

The 5th grade team, consisting of Ryan Xu, Revanth Vejju, and Vivian Cao-Dao, won the team championship with a three-point margin.

via Chantilly Students Excel at Chess Tournament – Chantilly, VA Patch.