Chess tutorials, lessons, problems, tactics, strategy

Active coordinated approaches to learning and playing chess result in exciting games. I developed this website to help beginners to enjoy learning the game of chess, and to assist players at various skill levels in steadily improving skills. The techniques I utilize present my vision…mixing, matching, and meshing the rules of chess, guidelines, principles, and higher level concepts, to foster better conceptualization of the game of chess. 

Main Index

 Club de Ajedrez Valle

(site opens in new browser window, close window to return here):   Ajedrez escolar Ciudad de los Niños de Monterrey, N.L. Mexico. Visit their website to view photos and videos and learn more about the chess club run by volunteers at the school to augment the children’s studies. Please consider making a donation to the school and/or the club to help these children with their educational and chess studies.

A Primer Framework for Learning Chess. 

 View/Download/Print Tutorials & Lessons in pdf format!

Most of the tutorials and lessons available at the website (below in Main Index) – and more not posted here – including topics in general, beginner, advanced, & endgame areas of study, are now available and more will be added as time permits. Note: Tutorials and lessons in pdf format are formatted for best viewing at 100%.

 View/Download/Print Comparison Charts.

The powers and capabilities of the Pieces & the pawns (in pdf format).

 View/Download/Print Sacrificing in Chess (in pdf format; 493KB).

This tutorial is a detailed, extensive tutorial on using sacrificing for tactical and strategic purposes. Includes historical review, absolute versus relative, types of sacrifices, additional concepts, twenty-six study problems, and more. The tutorial also has a companion pgn. Download Sacrificing in Chess companion pgn file. 

 Chess for the Blind, Visually-Impaired, and Low-Vision. 

 Chess for Children.

Online Resources and Recommended Readings 

 Correspondence Chess.

I.         Introduction to Chess

A.   The Objective of Chess a 6 part tutorial

Part 1.  Checkmate and Checking.  Checkmate described and explained; Types of Checks – Check by a Piece, Check by a pawn, Fork Check, Double Check, Combined Fork Check & Double Check, Discovered Check; Discovered Checkmate; Skewer; and overview discussion of chess ratings.

Part 2.  Attacks and Threats.  Latent Attacks; Hidden Attacks; Immediate/Direct Attacks; Mating Attacks; Attacks before and after Castling; Attacks based on spatial, material, and temporal aspects.

Part 3.  Checkmates (simple and complex); Anatomy of Mate/Patterns; Mating Net; Pattern Recognition.

Part 4.  Simple Checkmates and Controlling Squares.

Part 5.  Rapid Checkmates – Fool’s Mate; Scholar’s Mate; Three-Move Mate.

Part 6.  Alternatives to Checkmate – Resignation; Draws; Stalemate.

B.    The Chess Set.    The Chessboard, the Pieces, and the pawns, with Introduction to using English Algebraic Notation & Symbols; Observation Regarding Learning Chess Terminology.

C.    The Pieces & the pawns.    with Introduction to Material Count & Material Value of Pieces and pawns, Compensation, Positional Structure, Development, King Safety, pawn Structure, Centralization, Space, Mobility, Initiative, Tactics, Strategy, Analysis, Chess Notation & Symbols (further development of English Algebraic notation & Symbols used in chess notation), & Terminology.

D.    The Hand is Quicker than the Mind.    A few timeless observations on bad moves and blunders from Irving Chenev & Fred Reinfeld, before proceeding on to moving pieces and advancing pawns.

E.    Moving Pieces & Advancing pawns.    The Conceptual Foundation; Primary Principle – Combination; Role in Constructing Framework of a Game Plan; Two Basic Building Blocks – Tactics & Strategy; Offensive & Defensive Moves; Goals; Move Order & Calculation; Battle for Control of Center and Roles of Pawn Center & Centralization; Threats; Traps; Tempo (Tempi), Lost Tempo (Lost Tempi), Time-Controlled Chess; Positional Inferiority; Positional Superiority; Counterattacks; Counterplay; Double Attack vs. Doubly Attacked (& the devastating tactic of Double Check); En prise; Entombment; Exchange; Fiachetto; Focal Points (also called focal-points); Forks; Infiltration; Interference; Luft; Overprotection; Principle of Two Weaknesses; Raking Bishops; Reverse Openings; Sacrifices; Trade; Transposition; Underpromotion; X-Ray; Zwischenzug; Zugzwang & Reciprocal Zugzwang; Pins & Skewers, Classification of Movement; Further Development of Concepts for Material Advantage, Positional Structure, King Safety, pawn Structure, Centralization, Space, Mobility, Initiative, Analysis, & Chess Terminology; Individual Tutorials for Each Piece and the pawns.

F.    Chess Notation.

G.    Chess Symbols.

H.    Opening the Game.

I.    Fundamental Concepts.

J.    Phases of the Game: The Opening, the Middlegame, and the Endgame.

K.    Open and Closed Games.

L.    ECO List.    Lists grouped by ECO Codes and Main Openings, and web addresses with free databases for each ECO code for downloading.

M.    Moving Review 1 with Analysis.

N.    Beginners Quiz.

O.    Moving Review 2 with Quiz.

P.    Review – Principles 1 Time Test.    (have paper & pencil or pen ready before linking)  

II.     Advanced Basics

A. Endgames.    Introduction, Fundamental Principle, Basic Considerations, Types. Basic Rules, Principles, and Guidelines. Simple (Elementary/Fundamental) Checkmates/Basic Endgames. Extensive review of King Opposition.

B.    Basic Endgames – Introduction to Pattern Themes.    Introductory level development of positional themes in endgames using King & pawn v. King, and King & Rook v. King. 

Other Endgames section tutorials currently available only in pdf format. Access using the Endgames Index links in either of the above two sections. However, most basic endgames tutorials for endings without pawns are covered in the Checking & Checkmating Studies below, not in this section.

C.    Checking and Checkmating Studies I, II, & III

Section I.    Intoduction to Checking and Checkmating.    Builds upon previous tutorials with Review of Basic Principles & Concepts in a Nutshell; Development of Framework for Pattern Recognition for Mating Attacks, Mating Patterns & Mating Nets; Foundation and Four Cornerstones; Common Pattern Themes; and review of basics of King Opposition.

Section II.    Simple Checkmates/Basic Endgames.    Elementary/fundamental checkmating patterns. Separate tutorials for endings with no pawns, and including discussion of The Principle of Intermediate Move, The Principle of Short Positioning, and The Principle of Retreat.

Section III.    Complex Checkmates.    Anastasia’s Mate (Knight and Rook); Anderssen’s Mate (Rook or Queen in corner square checkmating opposing King at b1, g1, b8, or g8, aided by pawn or Bishop and King); Blackburne’s Mate (Bishop Pair and a Knight with Entombment); Boden’s Mate (Two Bishops); Damiano’s Mate (pawn or Bishop and Queen against King castled to Kingside, checkmate at g8 or g1); Damiano’s Bishop Mate (Bishop and Queen against King castled to Kingside, checkmate at f7 or f1; also possible in a Queen-pawn alignment); Dovetail Mate (Queen-pawn or Queen-Bishop mate of opposing King at a2, a7, g2, or g7); Epaulette Mate (Queen mate against opposing King sandwiched between two opposing pieces preventing King’s escape horizontally along a back rank or vertically along a wing-a or h file); Greco’s Mate (Knight and Queen); Gueridon Mate (also called Swallow’s-Tail Mate, similar to Epaulette Mate except opposing King is one row forward of the sandwiching pieces which block opposing King’s escape to squares diagonally to the rear); Légal’s Mate (two Knights and a Bishop, Queen sacrifice offer/trap); Morphy’s Mate (Rook and Bishop with Bishop delivering checkmate); Morphy’s Concealed Mate (similar to Morphy’s Mate, but with capture of key defensive pawn first); Pillsbury’s Mate (variation of Morphy’s Mate, but Rook delivers checkmate); Réti’s Mate (Bishop and Rook, aided by opposing player’s own pieces); Rook, Knight, and a pawn MateSmothered Mate(Knight aided with blocking by opposing player’s pieces and/or pawns); Suffocation Mate (similar to Smothered Mate except Bishop controls long diagonal blocking opposing King’s fleeing to corner square); & Problems for Solution.

D.    Endgames – Practice Problems Series #1.    61 endgame practice problems in three levels: Beginner (31 problems); Intermediate (15 problems); and, Advanced (15 problems)

E.    Material Return Problem.

F.    Sacrifice Problem.   

III.    Tactics & Strategy

A.    Tactics & Strategy I.   Tactical Moves & Strategic Goals – Concepts, Problems, & Examples. Difference between Tactics & Strategy; Move Order & Computation; Evaluation (eight essential aspects-TOMPACKS). Individual sub-tutorials on: Entombment; Forks; Pins; Sacrifices; Skewers; Other/Advanced including among the topics: Shredding a Defense; Block & Counterattack with Double Attack; Ignoring a Major Threat; Block & Counterattack with Two Major Threats!; The Two-Faced Check; The Allure of the “Luring Move”; The Stranglehold Position #1 – Pin with Pawn Promotion on Back Rank; The Stranglehold Position #2 – Countering Threat of Pin with Pawn Promotion on Back Rank; Using a Traveling Bishop to Launch an Obscured/Hidden Double Threat with Double Entombment and Fork/Double Attack!; Doubled Rooks on the 7th (Seventh) Rank; Double Threat with Doubly Attacked; 3-Move (Three-Move) Repetition Draw; Doing a Major Sacrifice to Defend, Recovering through pawn Promotion; Perpetual Check; & Stalemate.

B.    Tactics & Strategy IIA – Tactical Play: Give to Gain-Sacrificing.    This section presents six tactical play problems (3-Black to Move; 3-White to Move) involving coordinated board play using sacrifices for tactical and strategic reasons to gain an advantage (e.g., material gain, developing a mating net, etc.).

C.    Tactics & Strategy IIB – Tactics and Strategy Problems – Set 1.    This section presents various problems (from easy to hard) for learning tactical and strategic maneuvering for use during playing games (e.g., ignoring a threat, using mate threat, discovered checkmate, sacrificing, double sacrificing, using multiple threats, etc.).

D.    Tactics & Strategy III – Tactics Lessons.This section (under development) covers various tactical themese, advancing the study of strategic goals through tactical moves. Lessons one through five are completed and available. Seventeen lessons will present a different tacticacl themes. Each lesson includes three game problems for four different levels-Beginner, Novice, Average, Master. There are two PGN files available for downloading per lesson. The first contains the twelve game problems presented along with annotations & commentary. The second contains a full PGN file with additional game problems for each difficulty level (varying from 10-13 game problems per difficulty level) with annotations & commentary. The annotator section for each game problem in the PGN files provides the problem information in the format: lesson number, playing level, problem number. E.g., 10 A 2 would mean Lesson 10, Beginner (A), Problem 2, and 01 D 12 would mean Lesson 1, Master (D), Problem 12. 

E.    Morphy’s 59 Official Games. & Morphy’s Opera Game.    Paul Morphy was arguably the chess world’s foremost genius regarding tactics and strategy. In his short time in the 1800’s, he helped to revolutionalize the conceptual theory of chess and aided in bringing about modernizing chess theory. The study of Paul Morphy’s games will provide a keen insight into tactics & strategy.

F.    Anderssen’s Immortal & Evergreen Games.The study of these two games played in the mid-1800s by GM Anderssen will help solidify the importance of sacrificing to gain a mating pattern and mating net, and exhibit “hidden” attacks to assist in conceptualizing tactical & strategic concepts.

IV.    Recommended Readings.

A.   Part 1: Framework – Sociology of Bobby Fischer.    In September 2007, a friend of mine, John Barroso, published the first part of his “Sociology of Bobby Fischer” in The Pittsburg Chess Club’s Newsletter. He has kindly provided the article for re-publication on websites of interest for chess playing. I am happy to provide for visitors his article for reading. After Bobby Fischer’s death in early 2008, he informed me that he decided not to publish further parts to his work on Bobby Fischer.

V.      Additional Downloads.

B.   Download Fred Reinfeld’s 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations.
Download file: 1001_Winning_Chess_Sacrifices_Combinations.pgn (250KB). The following is the complete collection of tactics from Fred Reinfeld’s 1001 Winning Chess Sacrifices and Combinations, from in a master pgn file, of which’s download page states: “which to the best of our knowledge is in the public domain. (Some later editions may contain new text or analysis from later editors which may still be protected by copyright, but the files do not contain any text or analysis — only the bare positions and an indication of whether it is White or Black to move.)”

C.   Download 3500 Games – Tactics & Strategy.    A collection of 3500 games in pgn format (uncompacted=1.2MB( Download file: (332KB) for studying and developing tactics and strategy.

VI.        Chess Programs.

VII.      Chess Sets and Other Great Chess Items.

VIII.    Chess Web Art.    Images, logos, and other goodies.

IX.    Chess Backgrounds.

A.   New Series.

B.   Archive.

X.      Chess Links

A.   Organizations, Clubs & Groups, and Online Playing Sites.

B.   Coaches & Teachers, Databases, Openings, & other Learning Resources.

C.   Commercial & Miscellaneous Resources.

XI.     Post Your own Chess Link & View Chess Links Submitted by Visitors.

XII.    My Chess Webrings.