Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis

Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis

Dvoretsky's latest book on the art of prophylaxisThere is always a dearth of quality chess material for training once you climb up the ELO ladder. When my students join they are raw beginners but later I find it difficult to set them challenging tasks as they slowly master the techniques. And therefore I keep looking out for new avenues for training them with. Today I have a reason to be thrilled. I have seen Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis that seems to have come after a long hiatus. Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis is something that most of chess books have been lacking and that is Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources: Developing Preventive Thinking which is by the way the title of Dvoretsky’s new book. 

Victor Kortchnoi once said with great insight If you do not check what your opponent is doing, you will end up complaining about bad luck after every game.

So understanding your opponent’s next move could be or what agenda he is trying to accomplish, is one of the most important core skills required climb up the ELO ladder. It is what makes a difference between a good chess player and a strong chess master.

The reason why many students stagnate is because they are aware of most of the direct methods of attack and will thrive in many a tactical melee, but give them a position where they are at the receiving end of the opponents’ blows, or where the tactics are not yet present on the board, they will be all at sea.

What is special about Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis ?

What is prophylaxis in chess?

I have a 1200 player who attacks ferociously with tactical claws that will tear any ripe position apart. One day when we played a game that was steered into positional waters, he was stuck for 2 hours in getting the best move! I had to reset the clock many times as he was floundering for a move and in exasperation he asked me (after having reset the clock for the 4th time) – “What is the move I must play here, Master?” – to which all I could say was “I think your best move is to resign as I myself do not know how you are going to disentangle from your mess”.

That is the power of prophylactic thinking for you.*

Dvoretsky is known for advocating the art of prophylaxis as a key to mastery in the higher levels of chess playing arena. To put it in his own words (Secrets of positional play), Prophylaxis or prophylactic thinking is “the habit of constantly asking yourself what the opponent wants to do, what he would play if it were him to move, the ability to find an answer to this question and to take account of it in the process of coming to a decision.”

Coming to the book under review – Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources is a collection of problems with underlying theme of prophylaxis. 

Dvoretsky is very famous for his classical books that are considered as must-read for those beyond 2000 ELO upto 2400 ELO. In this book, Dvoretsky embarks on a classical but neglected training on this theme, with high-quality training material for independent analysis. 

Contents of the book – on the subtle art of prophylaxis

Each chapter has a introductory theoretical section followed by plenty of exercises, from easy to difficult. Each chapter begins with a small explanation on the chapter’s theme, and this is followed by positions for solving with their solutions.

This book consists of four chapters, all dealing with identifying what your opponent’s next move or moves could be. They are:

  1. Pay Attention to Your Opponent’s Resources (180 problems).
  2. The Process of Elimination (106 problems).
  3. Traps (36 problems)
  4. Prophylactic Thinking (154 problems)

To summarize –

The best part is that among the approximately 500 exercises, there are opening, middlegame and endgame positions. This provides you with challenges in searching for a move and calculating variations as per the given pointers, that will help you at any stage of the game, be it the opening or the middlegame or the Endgame scenario.

The crux of the book is the solutions offered for the training position which are very detailed, as is typically expected of Dvoretsky’s work. Throughout the book, the author guides us by leading us through the schematic thinking for a solution in each position, to show how a player can come to the right choice of move at the board.

Recognizing Your Opponent’s Resources is a must buy as it comes from the master himself. I suggest going through this book with your student if you are a Coach or Trainer – this will open up a few hidden insights in his/her chess brain.

*I keep harping on positional play many times and prophylaxis is my main forte while playing with some upstart students, as it is a complex concept. And whenever they start watering in the mouth with an upcoming tactical warfare and an impending win over me, I pull the plug, and play positionally to get the grip back. That way I enjoy the looks on their face when they hit a wall. This actually makes them understand that tactics has to coupled with positional concepts for chess mastery.

Order Dvoretsky’s latest book on the art of prophylaxis from the Bookdepository if you are in the UK.


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Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal

Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal

Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal

Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal

Fischer Vs Tal – the Magician from Riga

Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal – the magician from Riga . Fischer – Tal 1960 Olympiad Team tournament. Leipzig, East Germany was chosen as the venue of the 14th Chess Olympiad, organized by FIDE.

It comprised of an open team tournament, as well as many other events designed to promote the sport. It took place between October 26 and November 9, 1960.

Fischer BobbyAfter winning a tournament in Reykjavik (3 1/2 out of 4), in October, the teenager Bobby Fischer arrived at the Olympiad in Leipzig, to head the American Olympic team for the first time in his life. And what a team tournament it was for him!

The American team was without Samuel Reshevsky who did not want to play below Fischer, yet the Americans succeeded in winning ‘silver’ for the first time in the postwar period!

The contribution of young Fischer who was also the team captain was significant: 10 wins, 2 losses and 6 tough draws! (+ 1 0-2=6), and more importantly the best result on board 1 in the final that clinched the second spot for the team.

Of his two defeats, one (in the semi-final) caused a shock; the Ecuadorian Master Munoz defeated Bobby who played against his ‘Dragon’ as black!

As for Gligoric, the Yugoslav grandmaster was a veritable opponent for the young Fischer. The 5th round of the team tournament saw Fischer having White against Tal. Fischer had read a lot about Tal’s swashbuckling style of sacrificial play and was also obviously eager to get even with him for past humiliations as well as to show him a taste of his own medicine!

It was a tactical slug-fest by a existing world champion against a future world champion.

Tal had beaten Fischer in their last four encounters, but Fischer came out aiming for Tal’s jugular.

The Olympiad wasn’t that important, they could easily have avoided a fight had it been so, but went for one deliberately to prove who was the better man standing.

The draw was looked as such by spectators who wanted a result, however the draw by perpetual check, was not because both players felt like it on that day, but was born out of practical necessity – the attack had died out and it was prudent to either repeat the moves or lose.

The world champion Tal employed a sharp variation of the French Defense involving the sacrifice of his king side pawns and opposite side castling.

At the critical moment he created a tactical melee on the board, leading to a draw by perpetual check.

This game showed Fischer why Tal was considered a  tactical genius although Tal himself said of his tactical sacrifices sarcastically – “There are two types of tactics, the sound ones and the ones I make”!

As is seen the photo was taken when Tal played 7… Ne7 – see by the game lines.

Fisher appears to be analyzing with rapt attention (little nervous?) while Tal seems to be seemingly easy (preparation home ground?). The above photo is an evergreen classic in the annals of chess.

This fine game, which was annotated by both players and later in great detail by many other authors, rightfully appears in the well-known book The Mammoth Book of World’s Greatest Chess Games as well as in Fischer’s 60 best games of Bobby Fischer


According to Tal himself, when he was interviewing Fischer at the 1962 Varna Olympics, the first question he asked Fischer was: “Whom do you consider to be the strongest player in the world?”

Fischer looked at Tal with surprise to which Tal simply made it easy by adding, “Excluding yourself, of course.”
Fischer replied tounge-in-cheek –  “Well, you don’t play badly.”

By that time (1962), Bobby had defeated Tal twice. One might assume that perhaps Fischer couldn’t consciously admit that Tal was the best, but when Tal eased the question ruling out Fischer, he readily accepted to Tal’s superiority.

Bobby Fischer meets Mikhail Tal

Fischer visits Tal while he was hospitalized during the 1962 Candidates tournament

At that time Tal was still the world’s best chess player, when ever he was in robust health. If you may recall he lost his crown long back to Botvinnik in partly because of ill health.

In Tal’s own words, Tal was Tal but Fischer was not yet Fischer.  They were friends. They became friends at the 1958 Inter-zonal.

Fischer was the only player to visit Tal while he was hospitalized during the 1962 Candidates tournament.

That showed the human side of Fischer and what he cared about friends.


Hope you liked this info about two of my favorite players! Your comments, suggestions and feedback are welcome. I will be happy if you were to share this article or copy it anywhere (provided you attribute it to this webpage).

  • Some good books for you to read about Bobby Fischer at the Bookdepository.com site with free shipping worldwide.
  • Some good books for you to read about Mikhail Tal at the Bookdepository.com site with free worldwide shipping.

Golden Chess Centre teaches chess for students staying in Nanganallur and suburbs like Madipakkam, Adambakkam, Moovarasampet, Kilkattalai, Kovilambakkam, Puzhuthivakkam, Ullagaram and Pazhavanthangal in South Chennai. Online sessions for players who live out of Chennai are also undertaken via appointments.

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8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015 (for school students only) is organized By  MODERN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL  Nanganallur, Chennai 600061

Under the Aegis of AICF,TNSCA, KDCA & MCA (AICF Event code: 115226/TN/2015 – TNSCA Approval No. R07/2015-16)

Modern School Road, A.G.’s Office Colony,
Nanganallur, Chennai 600 061

Modern School

Modern Senior Secondary School is a new generation CBSE SCHOOL situated at Nanganallur in Chennai.


8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

Sri Lakshminrisimha temple, Nanganallur

Nanganallur is known for its myriad of temples dedicated to the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the place appears to have a religious aura during festive occasions. It is also home to Modern Senior Secondary School that has showed a phenomenal support to chess playing students and Chess tournaments.

Apart from a robust scholastic endeavor, Modern School gives great importance to Co-curricular and extra curricular activities and encouraging chess among its students; and this has paid rich dividends.

8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

K.Sasikiran, Grand Master – Alumni of Modern School, Nanganallur

The School is very proud of its alumni, K.Sasikiran, Grand Master and Arjuna Awardee in Chess who is ranked among the top 5 in Indian Chess list of Grandmasters. Following in his footsteps, the School has a host of eminent chess players.

Players like RK Ranjith, Anjana Sowjanya, Arun Hariharan, Saravana Krishnan, Santhosh Bala, Pon Krithikka,  Mohanapriya, Radha Krishnan, Narasimhapriyan, V.Shvetha, T. Vishwanath, Akash PC Iyer, K. Anshuman and many others have been inspired by this school’s motivation and its teachers interest in Chess.

They have brought many laurels for the school and made it a force to reckon with among CBSE schools Zonal and National Chess championships.

There are many upcoming juniors who are slowly inching their way up.

Every year, starting from the year 2008, Modern School has been conducting the Fide rated Chess tournament and this is the first ever International Rating Chess Championship at the School level.

8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015

Modern School Venue for the International Chess Tournament at Nanganallur.

This year, from 1st August to 5th August 2015 they are conducting conducted the annual 8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015 for school children and there was a huge response to the event as it is one of its kind as far as chess tournaments go.

For the 5 days duration there was a carnival like atmosphere and children from various schools converged at the main building to participate in the tournament.

Meet the people behind the 8th Modern School Nanganallur Chess Tournament 2015 :

Many children from India and abroad take part in this event, that is now a permanent fixture for 8 years now. Kudos to the School and especially to Mr. Ravichandran, Mr. Santhanam and the P.T incharge Mr. Ramadoss who have built this program from its inception.

Modern School Principal Mrs. MohanaSpecial mention must be made of the Principal Dr.(Smt.) Mrs. Mohana – M.Com., M.Phil., B.Ed., Ph.D, who takes personal interest in hearing the chess players’ results and motivates them even amongst her very busy schedule, and that too with a perennial smile.

Like wise the Vice-Principal Mrs. L. Padmavathy (M.Com., PGDCM, C.I.C, D.W.T, B.Ed) who is adored by all, and the Office staff who have worked hard in maintaining a professional routine.

Recognition in Chess:

The Central Board of Secondary Education, New Delhi allotted the Southern Zonal Chess Tournaments to the School, in 2004 and 2006 under its Competitive Sports Program. The final all India Chess Championship was conducted in the School in 2007.

With this background, the School endeavors to conduct Modern Senior Secondary School International Rating Chess Tournament every year. We at Golden Chess Centre, wish them a very huge success in the coming years!

Day to day Chess-results and pairings will be pasted here from chess-results.com

Please note: The results are/will be updated as soon as the pairing is ready.

Round Schedule
31.07.2015 – Arrival
01.08.15 (Saturday) – Inauguration 09.30 A.M
01.08.15 (Saturday) Round 1 – 11.00 A.M Round 2 – 4.00P.M
02.08.15 (Sunday) Round 3 – 09.00 A.M Round 4– 02.30 P.M
03.08.15 (Monday) Round 5 – 09.00 A.M Round 6 – 02.30 P.M
04.08.15 (Tuesday) Round 7 – 09.00 A.M Round 8– 02.30 P.M
05.08.15 (Wednesday) Round 9 – 09.00 A.M
05.08.15 (Wednesday) Prize Distribution – 3.00 P.M

Board Pairings Rd.1, Rd.2, Rd.3/9 , Rd.4/9 , Rd 5/9, Rd 6/9, Rd 7/9, Rd 8/9, Rd 9

As a gesture of appreciation, Golden Chess Centre Nanganallur, will analyze any games played by the children (free of any charges) and also give tips on how to improve their game.

Interested players may get in touch with us using the contact form or visit the Golden Chess Centre in person.



Why is Center control important in chess?

Why is Center control important in chess?

Why is Center control important in chess?

Are you a chess player who has mastered the basics but seem lost in limbo land when it comes to winning Chess games? Here is an instructive post-beginners’ course material that will help you attain a decent level of understanding and a rock-solid foundation before entering the club-level and advanced level field. The first question that needs to be understood by a post-beginner is – why is Center control important in chess?

Def: A post-beginner is one who has learnt the basic concepts of chess.

In my career as a coach spanning 10 years I have seen that there is a dearth of structured syllabi, for beginners in Chess. Either they are too complicated/too basic for the post beginner or they are not coherent – meaning that they do not answer the questions from a novice’s point of view. However the evergreen rules are still relevant for a generic approach in learning.

My advice for a post-beginner is just one simple sentence –

Play simple chess – control the centre! 

The simplest advice to beginners is – Control the center, develop your pieces actively, create problems for you opponent and you will soon be winning many games. Make your opponent to think and let him stress out. After all Chess is a mind game.

Why is this control of the center so important? Controlling the center limits your opponent’s mobility and hinders the relationship between his pieces. Advantages like these lead to attacking chances.

Now last week I received an email asking me to comment about the relevance of Center control and why many of the games are based on this one singular aspect of chess theory.

In case you are interested there is a DVD by Damien Lemos which is relevant for our discussion. Here is my take on this DVD and why this is a really good material in case you are around or below 1500 FIDE rating strength.

What if you do not have an official FIDE rating? If you do not have a FIDE rating yet, but regularly play online then remember that 1500 FIDE approximately corresponds to 1800 rating in online sites such as Chesscube or Freechess and 1600-1700 in case you play in ICC or Playchess.


Center control important in chess

Mastering Control of the Center –

The biggest headache for all post-beginners in chess is they do not know why is Center control important in chess

The reason why they miss out on this point is that they tend to either get carried away by some impromptu tactic or forget its importance or lose sight of the opponent’s ambitions in the center.

I always tell my students to keep it simple. Control the Center – this simple advice will fetch you points or save the lost points to a minimum draw. 

Broad benefits of controlling the center:

  • Greater mobility of pieces. Often, if the central pawns are advanced to the central squares, then the mobility of the pieces is greatly increased. Thus, pawn moves such as e2-e4 frees the bishop on f1 and d2-d4 does the same for the bishop on c1. Later on, these moves also free the queen on d1 and the rooks.
  • Greater influence over the whole board. For e.g., a centralized Knight on e5 generally controls more important squares inside the enemy camp than a knight passively placed, say, on a4.
  • Limit and push back the strong pieces of your opponent or restrict mobility of enemy pieces.
  • Break his defense of the central squares to give you a free pawn as bonus.
  • You can use this central control to establish make your own pieces placed on better squares called as outposts.

In his instructive chess DVD, Damian Lemos focuses on the basic concepts and common themes of successful central control for beginner chess players.

He explains the concepts using model games listed below so as to showcase the concepts.

1. Capablanca vs Anonymous
2. Alekhine vs Casielles
3. Shabalov vs Smylov
4. Tal vs Benko
5. Landa vs Purtov
6. Schlechter vs Wolf

This idea of using model games is good and the games he chooses are classic examples. See them and remember to see it many times till it drills down to your subconscious mind.

Let the concepts and ideas become second nature for you, when you play chess. Try your ideas while playing chess online and see your wins increasing… And most importantly – have fun!

Buy it here Mastering Control of the Center – Empire Chess
The above product download now includes PGNs of the analyzed games!

Additional games for you to see check out:

Karpov vs Kasparov World Championship Match (1985), Game 16 – Kasparov places a black knight on d3 which was famously described as the ‘octopus‘, controlling several key squares in White’s position and throwing White off-balance. White’s knights on the other hand are passively placed and have no control on the center.
Paul Morphy vs James McConnell, 1849 – Morphy follows simple chess opening principles; develops pieces towards the center, advances pawns to e4 and d4, empowers his bishops and tortures his opponent!

Karpov vs Kasparov World Championship 1986, Game 5. – Karpov shows how pawns in the center can block a fianchettoed Bishop making it bite on granite.

Fischer vs Myagmarsuren, 1967 – Bobby Fischer pushes a pawn to e5 to drive the Black knight from f6 and then launches a King-side attack. Shows that when you control important squares you have the ability to push your opponent’s pieces when time arises.


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Review: Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies

Review: Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies

Domination in 2,545 Endgame StudiesDomination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Genrikh Kasparyan is a power-packed tome of chess positions in the endgame that show us what real chess ability is all about. A statutory word of caution to readers – this book is for serious chess players only – not for beginners or those who have a cursory interest in chess. That aside, welcome to the land of mysticism in the chess planet.

Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies by Ghenrikh Kasparyan

is a true treasure trove of many of the greatest chess compositions by various authors, including Kasparyan himself. – well organized and presented. No other book even comes close to its level of organization by topics such as ‘two minor pieces trap a Rook’ or ‘two Rooks trapping a Queen’ so that you can look up specific scenarios according to which game play is involved.

I remember as a kid I was forced by my coach to go through some fancy endgame positions (later I came to know that they were called as ‘studies’. He would ask me to look at the positions for 3-5 minutes and eventually (impatient as he was to ignite my interest) he showed the answers to me. It did a lot to boost my imagination and I was hooked thereafter to Chess studies.

Each one of the 2545 positions is packed with chess wisdom and offers valuable tips on how to force your opponent to lose material. Many positions that would be considered a draw in tournament play by average players, are shown as winning, with stunning calculated moves leading to a win (or a draw in hopeless positions) with the dramatic sequence of moves to capture of one or more of the opponent’s pieces.

Some hopelessly lost positions will be shown as drawn or winning! Armed with this knowledge you will gain many new insights. You will realize that chess is not all about rules or mathematics. It is also an art of the highest order.

This book will throw your self-limiting beliefs out of your mind.
Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies

geometry of the chess board

If one analyses deeply the best works of outstanding ‘studies’ composers such as Troitsky, Reti, Averbakh, Platov, Kubbel, Rinck and others, one will deepen the knowledge of the geometry of the chess board. This is what is also known as ‘board vision. The greater the familiarity of each square’s correlation with other squares (and the effect of a piece on that square) the better will your strategy be.
If you have never seen a chess study you will be dazzled by one. Get ready to see Chess positions in a new light! So let’s start with one of my favorites:

Interference, in anything but chess, is considered impolite.

Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies

White to play.

I know that the above position may appear to be simple for most of you but that was for the starters!

I remember being entranced as a kid by a few Reti studies in this book, especially a few of those where a Knight dominated a Bishop on a somewhat empty board – funnily the bishop could not find a good square to move! Take a good look at the Reti studies if you choose to buy it.

You might wonder – why are endgame studies important for calculation training? Can we not learn the art of calculation by solving Mate in 2 or 3 movers? The answer lies here: In my personal experience – I myself have never got to like many problems as mate in two or mate in three – what difference does it make whether you mate your opponent in two moves or three? But endgame studies are another matter.

Not only do they create a sense of curiosity, but they are also useful in training you to think along different lines that might come up in your games and honing your calculating abilities by making you think about your opponent’s resources and more importantly making you think out of the box.

An IM who is a good friend of mine told me that he rose in the elo ladder after finishing the Domination book not once but twice! And most of his opponents fell into his traps that he learnt from this very same book!

My mileage was different. Domination will not make you a better player overnight. I was able to implement a few lessons only after a few months of looking up the Domination book. It takes some time as this is not your run-of-the-mill stuff. This one will embed in your chess psyche slowly but surely.

No wonder many books refer to Kasparian as as the greatest Russian composer!

Next article in this regard will be my review of Dvoretsky’s Studies for Practical Players – a hidden gem that needs to be brought to the limelight and which will be a worthy companion to the Domination book.

Check out this book Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies here!

Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies

Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies


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