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endgames

Creative training session with Lucas Chess.

Lucas Chess Training - Breaking new ground

Lucas Chess Training – Breaking new ground. This was what I thought when I saw the new training feature of Lucas Chess. “Be the change”. Life is a journey. Every thing in life is transitory and yet important to be crossed. Each incident and every person teaches us something. Some experiences can be difficult and demanding and some can be happy and rewarding. You will learn many lessons in life if you believe in doing good and improvising everyday both morally and practically. In case you think I am going off-topic – don’t worry. I am jumping back on track (pun intended)!

The latest version of Lucas Chess involves a train journey. I have a feeling that this feature will be a trendsetter in changing the way we train in chess.



In case you did not know about Lucas Chess program it is the brain child of Lucas Monge – a very humble and good-natured person who likes to try out interesting features and who has been driving the Lucas Chess software for years. He listens to all his users and all you need to do is to comment in his blog to get in touch with him.

Lucas Chess Training - Breaking new ground


The idea is that Chess is 99% tactics and chess training is like a Train which stops at different stations (some important and some necessary for a break). Trans-Siberian Chess train is the name given to a long running train journey which involves solving thematic Chess positions and playing Chess as an excuse to pass time.

After installing Lucas Chess from here – you can access this training option as seen in the pic below.

Lucas Chess Training - Breaking new ground
How to access the Trans-Siberian Chess Train

For the train to advance, it is necessary to solve tactics. Each tactic solved correctly, leads you forward in your journey. This is an innovative idea to stretch your chess training and mind you, the tactics are interesting! They will sometimes be easy for you and sometimes will make you sit and calculate. I found that some tactics are very difficult for an amateur and that is where the fun begins – you get hooked. You will be rewarded for a correctly solved tactic and if you fail to solve any position you will not be able to progress. This way you can say that you Train has had a breakdown delay and you need to work on it.

Lucas Chess Training - Breaking new ground 

To arrive to stations one needs to solve basic endings. As in real chess games you need to master basic chess endings here too. Without a grasp of some of these your game results will stumble.

To pass the railway stations one needs to play against an internal very basic engine. A unique concept wherein your journey is made interesting with mock sparring sessions.

The overall scheme and direction of Lucas Chess Trans-Siberian Train is very creative and if I am right this is the first time we are seeing this sort of an innovation in Chess software training 

It engages the player in a fun way and motivates him to work hard. Don’t worry if the positions are too hard. You will eventually understand them and your chess games will see new insights while you move ahead in the journey. Very innovative and original approach.

It reaffirms what I already wrote – that anyone can learn chess!

Wishing you

Lucas Chess Training - Breaking new ground

76,132 Studies by Harold van der Heijden – A mind-boggling effort by the author that took him 3 years of hard work (in perfecting this version alone). The database is in PGN-format. Apart from the initial position and the solution (including sub-variations and analysis) these additional information is provided: the name(s) of the composer(s), the GBR-code which is an index code denoting the chess force in the initial position, place and date of the primary source (tourney, journal, magazine) and whether it is a win or a draw study.

This fourth version of Harold van der Heijden’s Endgame Study Database has more than eight thousand extra studies compared to the previous edition from 2005. Besides, the solutions of many studies have been corrected or updated based on reader feedback.

It is by far the most exhaustive collection of endgame studies available.

Regular chess software such as Fritz or ChessBase or even the free Tarrasch or Lucas Chess can be used to play out the positions.

However to find studies in the database by name, year, source, material balance, and numerous other criteria you may need to use SCID (free) or Chessbase (commercial).

John Nunn and Artur Yusupov believe that chess players can benefit a lot from endgame studies by trying to solve them daily. This trains both one’s essential skills in chess such as – calculation ability, planning, visualization and tactical performance in the endgame which also aids in the middle-game.

Dutch endgame study guru, Harold van der Heijden (above) celebrated his 50th birthday with a composing event, and the winner was the following spectacular effort, by the man many regard as the best study composer currently active in the world – John Nunn

This one is the best…
Try to solve this… And post your answers in the comment box!!

2 737

Pawn endgames can seem easy to play and understand. But even in so simple positions there are many subtleties.

I’m going to show some subtle nuances in king+pawn vs king endgame.

First thing to know is the rule of the square: if the defending king is inside the square of the promoting pawn then he can stop it

Black to move just enters the square of the a pawn with 1…Ke4 and its a draw.

If the defending king is already in the square of the pawn it is important not to push the pawn but reach, with the attacking king, the so called key squares:

Look at this example: b5,c5,d5 are the key square and White to move wins easily with 1.Kc4!!

This way he gets the so called OPPOSITION, Black is forced to move away and give access to a key square

I give a sample line:

1.Kc4 Kd6 2.Kb5 Kc7 3.Kc5 Kb7 4.Kd6 Kb6 5.c4 Kb7 6.c5 Kc8 7.Kc6 Kb8 8.Kd7 Kb7 9.c6 and White promotes and wins.

So it is clear that the battle for the key squares is often decided by which side gets the opposition.

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There are many different kinds of oppositions:

1. Normal Opposition

2. Distant Opposition

3. Very Distant Opposition

4. Diagonal Opposition

Usually all these kind of opposition will in the end get to normal oposition, allowin to fight for the key square of the pawn.

So, it looks simple but in the endgame we will look at now things are a bit more complicated.

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The following position is a study published in 1906 by chess composer Drtina.

White to move and win.

First thing to notice is that Black’s king is already inside the square of the c-pawn.

So, in order to win, White has to reach the key squares (b5, c5 or d5) with his king, BEFORE advancing his pawn.

Key squares will be reached through opposition: to get a win it is important that White reaches a position with King on c4 and Black’s king on c6, (opposition) BUT…. it has to be Black’s move, otherwise the opposition is lost by White!

Let us look at a wrong attempt by White:

1.Kd2 is wrong: how should black reply? Remember the different kinds of opposition!

Analysis of this wrong attempt, and the correct solution will be posted in our next chapter…;)

Meanwhile…have fun!!!

Marina

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76,132 Studies by Harold van der Heijden - A mind-boggling effort by the author that took him 3 years of hard work (in perfecting...