56 votes

How can I prevent checkmate in this position?

Initial Analysis White is clearly in a dire situation, since Black is threatening mate in one on either h7 or h8 if White doesn't do anything. But the White king can't move nor can White get rid of ...
46 votes
Accepted

Are resignations by expert players naive?

By the time an expert resigns the decision tree may still be large but its evaluation has become simple. Players usually resign because continuing would be miserable to them and boring to their ...
  • 7,647
40 votes
Accepted

Carlsen beat a high ranking GM with 1 Nh3. Conclusions?

It was one game in online rapid. You cannot deduce from one game that 1.Nh3 is sound or not sound. Carlsen was actually MUCH worse out of the opening, and just outplayed Dreev later. It really means ...
  • 32.2k
39 votes

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face. You'll improve rapidly after that.
  • 83.9k
38 votes
Accepted

What should I do when I have no ideas and no strategies?

This is very hard to answer since the question is very broad, but in the opening, always ask yourself "what piece haven't I moved out yet?" If you move pieces twice or three times in the opening, and ...
  • 32.2k
36 votes

What is a good strategy for blocking your opponent from checkmating you even though they always win?

There is a tried and tested strategy which works better than all others although it takes some time. That is quite simply to get your opponent to go over the game with you afterwards and point out to ...
  • 83.9k
35 votes
Accepted

Is chess a solved game?

Because of the observation you make, that the tree of possible game paths for chess is finite, chess is indeed solvable in exactly the same sense that tic-tac-toe is. So optimal strategies for chess ...
  • 23.3k
35 votes

Positional thinking by Grandmasters

When a GM, or even lesser strong players reach a position that is totally unfamiliar, they have to break it down into components. They evaluate the following for BOTH sides. In general, a lot of this ...
  • 32.2k
32 votes
Accepted

When is castling needed?

Castling is extremely useful in almost all games. It lets you do two things at once. First, it moves your king from the center to the side of the board, where it is much more difficult to attack for ...
  • 1,345
31 votes
Accepted

What fundamental mistakes were made in my game that slowly turned in to a loss?

Presumably you were hoping to play a London system, but your opponent tricked you out of it and you found yourself playing a Benoni where you did not find a plan. You did not have to play d5. It was ...
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30 votes
Accepted

I was up a piece but could not win. What went wrong?

You unblocking your opponent's passed d-pawn with 2. Rxc4 is what went wrong from a pragmatic perspective. You are up a piece. The only way black wins this position is by promoting pawns so that you'...
28 votes
Accepted

Should you always try your best (play as if your opponent is a grandmaster)?

Is it a good strategy to always play like a grandmaster? Obviously yes, but unfortunately 99% of chess players are unable to do this even if they wanted to. ;) Is it a good strategy to knowingly ...
  • 5,847
27 votes

Why is Carlsen being praised for his tie-break play, when Caruana made several game-losing moves?

Carlsen crushed it, made almost no mistakes whatsoever in rapid. It is as if he was playing at classical time controls. Chess is about not making mistakes. If your opponent doesn't make mistakes then ...
  • 1,065
27 votes

What are pros and cons around banning castling?

It would certainly allow for more attacks due to kings being stuck in the center, but fundamentally changing the game, which in a way dumbs it down, is not good. It would be less complex. I also do ...
  • 32.2k
26 votes

How to learn chess if you're still a 3-digit rating after a few years

The first thing to learn once you know how the pieces move is basic tactics and general strategy. Tactics: In certain positions it is possible to gain an advantage doing a certain move or sequence of ...
  • 20.5k
26 votes

How do GMs “play the man, not the board”?

As you mentioned, playing the man can mean several different things, but before I answer I want to say that no one can become a better player by only playing the man - objectivity is the number 1 ...
  • 2,138
26 votes

Why doesn't Lichess' Stockfish suggest this bishop sacrifice?

Good question. I let Stockfish 11 think on the position, and even by around depth 25-26 it didn't suggest Bf6. But like in your case, after making the move on the board, Stockfish suddenly realizes it ...
26 votes
Accepted

Is endangering the king a good strategy in some positions?

Whereas "sacrifice" is a bad word, as already was pointed out ("endangering" maybe), from the standpoint of game theory this strategy may be completely rational...if the players ...
25 votes

How to minimise your opponent's fun in a game?

I play for two purposes: to win the game, or when winning is unlikely, to draw the game. to improve my chess skills, which eventually enables me to win/draw more games. These are good ...
  • 83.9k
25 votes

What do modern chess players understand about the game that previous generations did not?

The knowledge of previous generations was summed up in Aron Nimzowitsch's book, published in 1929, called My System. The advances in chess knowledge up to Kasparov's time are best summed up in John ...
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24 votes
Accepted

Could a top ranked GM draw against Stockfish using drawish opening lines in classical chess?

They can't. Engines are absurdly strong relative to humans these days, and Stockfish should be fully expected to beat top human GMs 10-0 without much trouble. In fact, they already have - and that's ...
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24 votes
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Why is g3 a bad move here?

Pawn structure. Allowing the exchange ...Nxf4 gxf4 simply weakens your structure considerably. The pawns on f2, f4 and h2 are disjointed and cannot protect each other anymore. Black can immediately ...
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23 votes
Accepted

How do I promote my pawn when the king blocks it?

This position is a draw with White to move. However, the same position would lead you to win if it was black to move (Zugzwang). The basic theory for you to promote the pawn when the opponent king is ...
  • 1,289
23 votes
Accepted

What is 'space' on a chessboard?

It's not a ridiculous question. Before discussing your precise example, let's cover some basic grounds: Purely from an optimal play perspective: having more space translates into having more activity ...
  • 11.9k
23 votes
Accepted

What is the best strategy for an amateur to last as many moves as possible against a GM?

It really depends on what you mean by "lengthen". I am not a GM, but as an "ordinary" Master, I have played 1700s before, who were lost by move 10, but the game still took 50 moves to finish. If you ...
  • 32.2k
23 votes
Accepted

Can luck be used as a strategy in chess?

Whether or not to resign is a question of sportsmanship rather than strategy, I would argue. Just according to the rules, you are never forced to resign and can play on until you are checkmated (or ...
22 votes
Accepted

Why is the engine suggesting this move?

Black would like to continue their development with Nf6 and castling short. g4 discourages Nf6; after g5, the knight is forced back. It also prepares Bg2, which protects d5 without giving up the pin ...
  • 24.2k
21 votes

Is preventing an opponent from castling considered an advantage?

It'll depend on the rest of the position. If it's relatively open, chances are you can keep the opponent's king in the center and launch an attack. This might well be a decisive advantage; preventing ...
  • 24.2k
21 votes

Understanding Kramnik's play in game 1 of Candidates 2018

The short answer is: white's making it difficult for black to challenge the center with their central pawns. But that's not really revealing much, so let us dig deeper into this beautiful middlegame. ...
  • 11.9k
21 votes

How do GMs “play the man, not the board”?

It's all Sun Tzu; If the player is a tactician, play positional. If the player is positional, play tactical. If the guy is booked up in a line -- don't play into it unless you have a surprise... ...
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