Podcast #128: We chat with Kent C Dodds about why he loves React and discuss what life was like in the dark days before Git. Listen now.
35

Very simple. Join a chess club and play people face-to-face.


33

"Tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do. Strategy is knowing what to do when there is nothing to do." -- Savielly Tartakower What follow are the most salient features of the position that jump out at me, and these are the sorts of things one needs to look for when there seems to be nothing to do: You have no structural weaknesses ...


31

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 the opponent. Second, it brings one of your rooks towards the center of the board, and it crucial in bringing both of your rook into the game. There may be a ...


28

In principle, the middlegame is indeed just raw calculation. In principle, the entire game of chess boils down to only that. But since the space of possible move sequences is so vast, chess is of course too complex from the standpoint of pure calculation for that to be all that we do when we play. And after all, even our computational superiors (chess ...


27

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 you're only going to get a draw even if you play like an engine. He did play good moves as well. Example on move 37 the position is a draw but he gave himself ...


26

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 do exist; however, no one has any idea what they are. Whereas tic-tac-toe is solved thanks to a quite small space of possible games, chess is nowhere near solved ...


22

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 moves. This is referred to as tactical motif/pattern and for a list of all kinds of motifs take a look here. You don't need to start learning all of them at ...


22

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 play moves that you know (or strongly suspect) to be mistakes? No. "Mistake" in the sense that there is an answer that screws you if your opponent finds it. ...


21

I think you partially answered your question. The main fact that you can "...execute tactics now without thinking..." is definitely a good start. Also that fact that you said, it "feels right" is also a good start although you don't really want to play a tactic just because it "feels right". Information on tactics can be found from Louis Holtzhausen site ...


20

First of all, the isolated pawn is a dynamic strength, and a static weakness. But what does this mean? This means that he represents a pawn weakness, but compensates this weakness in some other way. In short, Black should strive towards endgame, while White must obtain some sort of pressure/attack in order to compensate for his weak d-pawn. Why is this ...


20

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 castling on both sides can be much harder than just one side or none at all. It's worth noting that 'artificial' castling (e.g. Ke8-f7, Rh8-e8 and Kf7-g8) ...


20

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. The rook doubling is in fact part of a grander scheme that Kramnik has in mind. Once black commits to d6, Kramnik targets a very concrete objective: To ...


19

The thing is, in this example you opponent didn't play all that badly. h6 and g5 looks too risky to me, but blunting your bishop (with d6) and gaining space on the queenside makes some sense. Right now b5 is a threat and you might want to prevent it by playing a4. This would be the positional treatment of the position. There are two problems with pushing ...


18

This is a variation that was played fairly frequently, but it has been more or less worked out to a draw, so it is less common at the top levels now. The Ruy Lopez is a very concrete opening, and the capture on c6 has to be carefully considered as it relates to the exact position. In terms of opening principles, you're giving up a bishop for a knight ...


18

First, a side note: I play the black side of the French Defense almost religiously, and my results against the Exchange variation have traditionally been very good. It's not a variation that's feared by most French Defense practitioners. Neither, for that matter, is the Advance variation, which gives black a very clear plan of strategic counterattack based ...


18

If we remove the component of flawed, human players from the equation and consider just the game of chess itself as it is spelled out by the rules, then chess is purely a game of skill with no room for chance. That is, it is in principle possible for there to be a perfect chess player that plays optimally against every possible move sequence by an opponent, ...


18

When chess players play very fast, they think in much the same way that you think when you talk really fast. You don't think about nouns and verbs and grammar and dictionary definitions of words, although language is incredibly complicated; you have that all internalized. Good chess players have internalized the standard patterns of chess the way that you ...


18

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 having the opposition is you need to have your king in front of your pawn 2 ranks ahead of the pawn, (i.e. if pawn's on e3 King needs to be on e5) (opposition ...


18

I recognize that attitude. Remember, first, that chess is hard. That's why it took so long to get computers to be able to play it well. The rules are simple enough but understanding how those rules fit together to build strategy when the opponent is also building their own strategy, is very difficult. It's not even quite like backgammon, where I like to ...


18

The best move would have been 16. Rxe5, which entirely eliminates the mate threat, leaving white with a winning advantage. r6r/ppNk1p1p/3p2p1/2p1R3/2P3bq/3Q4/PP3PPP/R1B3K1 b - - 0 16 Here, if black takes the white knight (16. ... Kxc7), 17. Bg5 wins the queen as Qh5 is met with Bd8+.


17

I think that this is a good question, but also that the most enlightening way to answer might be to point out what I think is a slight misconception behind it. You say that most analysis you have seen focuses on the development of pieces, rather than the development of unoccupied spaces. But when one focuses on the development of pieces, what does this mean? ...


17

In this position, the material imbalance pretty much tells the whole story, as a queen and two pawns against two knights is, barring significant positional compensation, an overwhelming material advantage. And in this case, the non-material positional considerations only serve to emphasize Black's advantage: the white king is exposed, and his pieces are not ...


17

No, you should not. There are serious games, these are less serious games, there are chess lessons with kids. If you play all games at your maximum strength: kids are going to hate you, because they don't like losing. people is going to hate you, because spending 5-10 minutes thinking about every move in a casual game makes everyone bored to the death. in ...


17

Good question! The positional priorities in this position do not really lie in whose bishop has more prospect, but rather in the emerging pawn structure, potential pawn breaks, and either sides' ability to create targets and holes in opponent's camp. In short, c4 here is an extremely committal move which should only be played if it can be backed by very ...


16

I like your question a lot. Though I don't play either side of any 1. e4 e5 openings, it got me thinking about the motivations behind playing the Scotch Game. Though you were clearly happy with the answer you accepted, I'm adding another answer because I don't personally understand how that one addresses the question as you asked it, and I think some further ...


16

It is true, that sometimes occupying weak squares with your pieces will just lead to exchanges and no advantage whatsoever. But there is a well known dictum in chess, that "the threat is stronger than the execution". This means that just threatening to occupy a weak square can severely restrict your opponent's possibilities. Just imagine you brought a ...


16

my feeling is that Caruana lost the game, more than Carlsen won it. Whenever two players play a game without making any errors the result is a draw. Most games have lots of errors and it is usually the player who makes the last error who loses. As far as I can tell, Carlsen didn't make any winning!! or distinctly good moves Not true. Carlsen made many ...


15

There are a few regular things you should fight for out of the opening Control of the center Development of pieces Early castle Space So basically you want to get as many pieces out as quickly as possible, while attempting to control the center (the four middle squares and to a lesser extent the next ring of 12 squares). While not all opening strategies ...


15

While (e4, d4, e5, d5) are generally regarded as the central squares, the same principle can sometimes be extended to the adjacent squares like (c4, c5, d3, d6, e3, e6, f4, f5). So we have a kind of central polygon - Controlling the center is not an end in itself but a means to an end. The end results could be any combination of the following- 1. Greater ...


15

Yes, you have a cramped position and your game will be difficult if you don't find a solution. Advanced pawns are generally harder to hold on to. Your opponent has given you many targets and now he'll have to use his minor pieces to protect them. So, task #1 is to attack those pawns. Due to the situation, I am not seeing too many ways to do it right now. ...


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