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The 1st forum, where all the questions will be directly answered by Grandmasters!

The 1st forum, where you’ll be rewarded for your answers!

The winners of August, 2021

Hello champions and future champions! Hello ChessMood family!

Thank you all for sharing your games. It’s great to see you play some really strong chess! Keeping crushing the same way!

Moving on to the prizes,

The first prize goes to Jaylen Lenear for his Tal-like approach to finish the game.


The second prize goes to Vladimir Bugayev for the way he conducted a crushing attack in the Anti-Sicilian!


The third prize goes to Yuma Okabe for brilliantly handling the initiative after 11...Nxe4! and converting it into a win.


The 4th prize goes to Karl Strohmaier for this brilliant attack in the Accelerated Dragon.


The 5th prize goes to Paul Alejandro Cardones for the picturesque 16.Nce4#!


Congratulations to all of you, and thank you once again everybody for sharing your games! 

Keep crushing, and keep the #COGRO

See you soon for next month’s contest.

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ChessMood Open with $20,000 prize fund!
Dear chess friends!
I’m super excited to announce that on October 4-12 in Armenia there is going to be ChessMood Open tournament with around $20.000 prize fund.

By the way, right after it, we’re going to have “Yerevan Open” tournament (October 13-22) with a similar prize fund. So you can combine them and play two tournaments.
As there are no border problems at the moment, you can easily travel to Armenia.
Looking forward to seeing you soon and drinking something cold together :) 

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Approach to understanding a position/idea
This is roughly the approach I'm taking when studying a position idea over a number of moves. Ideas / suggestions for improvements welcome.

First I don't have hours and hours to spend on chess (though I do rack up quite a few at the moment as I'm sure my wife will tell you). So wisdom such as treat the position like a long-play game and guess the move 3 mins max a move probably isn't so useful for me. With a book such as Positional Chess Handbook containing just under 500 positions that would take at least a year for me to work through with that approach - fine perhaps if you have 8 hours to study a day and can sustain it, but impractical otherwise (not saying that the technique is bad when you do want to improve calculation skill, but then you wouldn't need to do all 500).

Second it's very easy to get lost in playing or reading the moves which is why I don't like playing from books or moving the pieces on a board, a pgn I can move through with a key press focusing on the game rather than losing sight every time I look away from the position, won't make wrong moves, and going back is a lot easier. It also lends itself to multiple repetition better.

I'm trying roughly the following steps:
Play through the game the first time, try to get the gist of what happens, not worry too much about well what if...
Play through a second time, try to make a narrative: e.g. king centralises, advance pawns, cause a zuzgwang to penetrate further, capture key pawn, force promotion
Play through a third time, check notes, try to answer some what-ifs with a computer if need be, note down positions of interest if any

Move on, only to come back if something is needed to be referenced later (say a similar concept) or to play from the position to test my technique (or lack thereof).

Other supporting ideas:

Between these takes I'll often use what I call 'the detective method' to give it a catchy name. Those who have read novels by Agatha Christie (famous author of murder-mystery books) will know the general format (at least from what I remember from reading them at school) is that there are often several theories and multiple suspects, but not too deep, where it all gets revealed (oh so obvious by the master detective) on the last couple of pages (so much so it's a joke that the best way to spoil such books is to remove or prevent reading of those pages). If you work backwards from the end though (or so I've read long after I read these novels) you'll see all the clues and it will be more obvious (of course you know what to look for and discard what doesn't fit the final narrative - cognitive bias). I sometimes find chess positions like this - go forwards and there are so many ways it could have gone, many things to look out for (often not relevant to the master) as well as questions (well why didn't they play that, what if...) however it can be useful to go from when the position is much clearer and you understand it fine and go backwards into the complications asking how did we get here (easier with pgns). Then you are looking for the key moves and strategies that made just that possible including the mistakes, and not everything else.

Another trick I use, especially from understanding why a computer's move is 'better' is to swap repeatedly between the main line and the computer line. So let's say the computer says Be3 is superior to Be2, okay, so I play Be3, well now what, then perhaps there is a follow up a4 say, well let's see if I play Be2 as in then game then a4 then what. Maybe Be2 then Be3. This might go on several moves deep, but often it turns out that Be3 with a4 was necessary right now because of something the opponent was threatening (or would be given time to defend) that I didn't see. Also I might have discarded a move because of something I saw the opponent had - so try the same technique with the potential replies to find why I was wrong. I find this especially useful on post game analysis (especially auto-analysis of lichess) when the computer alternative is more subtle than just made the wrong decision, or some obvious tactical issue with my move - sometimes these quick checks are wrong of course and my move was better when the computer gets to think for a bit. I use the computer less on games where trying to understand positional ideas (as even if they are tactically unsound where they were played the concept is not). However, sometimes to answer the whatifs or check something the computer needs to get switched on.

Finally there is the mindset that a few positions progress every now and then is better than one or two big attempts and giving up and chop and changing too much between other things (guilty here). I try not to beat myself up (particularly after working all day) if I only get through two positions in an evening (when I first started I tried to get through everything quickly as if the next book would add something more and a few books later I'd be master level - which never happened of course).

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Anti-sicilian d6 11.. Ng4 video 12 theory changed?

In this position, the video commentary (4:30) mentions a big advantage and a plan of d4 Rf3, Rxe3.

Unfortunately both my own analysis and computer analysis / matches puts this into doubt and perhaps this is one reason the Nb5 line doesn't appear as a widely considered option.

The position is R + 2P (3 if the e3 pawn can be captured without any loss) vs 2B. The problem is the concrete nature of this position, lack of open lines for White's rooks, lack of easily accessible targets (aside from e3) for White, the power of Black's 2B working together, and the fact Black has an extra piece of wood (ignoring the pawns) taking away any ideas of sacrificing back an exchange say.

Meanwhile both Black's single rook and queen and Bs do have open lines and targets (a4, b2, f4 [if g3 , then h3]).

The computer gives this position slightly (varying up to half a pawn) in Black's favour (though closer to equal with more chances for Black, but some too for White, is my own feeling). Black's plan is Kg8 and then Rc8 or f8. If White plays Rf3, then Bh6 attacks f4.

There are some different moves playable earlier, which might give White a very small edge and therefore keep the line alive in practical terms over the board, but again the computers make a lot of draws.

I'm not sure until this is resolved that the theory can be claimed to have been changed. Even if 12... a6 might not be found (not that it's not an obvious candidate), it only needs one game of yours to get in a database and this line will be found by the next person prepping a defence against you.

Is there any concrete analysis to support the claim of a 'big advantage'?

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