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Greater Peoria Chess Foundation


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The Greater Peoria Chess Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging chess in our community and school systems. Chess helps students to develop many life skills that will help them as they navigate with challenges that lay ahead.


Playing Chess




Basics

Chess Queens Logo
Chess for Girls

How to Play Chess - Learn how the pieces move and some basic ideas about how to play the game. This presentation by Chess4Life is an ideal introduction to the game for the young beginning player. Chess4Life also has some interesting ideas about chess clubs in the lower grades.

A List of Basic Tactical Motifs - Many tactical patterns share similar ideas with other named patterns and because of this overlap it’s difficult to say exactly how many unique tactics exist. But on this page you will find a fairly comprehensive list of chess tactics, 56 in total, with simplified examples of how they work.

A List of Basic Check Mating Motifs - A checkmate pattern is a particular and recognizable arrangement of the pieces that deliver the checkmate. You can further improve your chess tactics skill by studying all the different checkmates that commonly occur in chess games. Learn the names of the patterns and impress your friends.




Chess Advice for Parents and Young Players - Susan Polgar has participated at every level of chess up to and including becoming a World Champion. She is also one of America's most forceful proponents of youth chess. Here she shares her thoughts on tournament etiquette for both players and their audience.

Daily Chess Improvement: World Champion Tactics! White to move! What is the best plan for white? Please write it out or explain.




Recommendations:




Openings


Every game starts from the same position, so you can plan some moves before the game even starts.


Learn how to play the opening. Common Opening Themes include:

  • Control of the Center
  • Development of your pieces to their Best Squares.
  • Including ALL your pieces in your Game
  • King Safety is most important

The key to opening play is to "Play What You Know and Know What You Play". This means don't play an opening in an important game unless you have studied it and tried it out successfully in off hand games first.


The best way to track your openings knowledge is to keep a note book which contains your tabiya of preferred lines. As you play, you will eventually reach the end of your known analysis. At that point you should research your position and learn the next move(s) so that when the opportunity appears again you will better know what to play. This method will slowly build your opening knowledge and expand your tabiya with useful moves. An automated way of tracking your tabiyas is to use Bookup, also known as Chess Openings Wizard. ChessBase also has some features for saving and analyzing your tabiya.


One mistake that many players make is to try and study too many openings and not learn to play any one of them really well. Using the above method will give you an opening book of lines that you play without wasted effort of learning parts of openings that you never play.

Learn to get the initiative and get a head start on your opponent.



How to Learn a New Opening

Find a good learning resource. It may be a book on the opening or a learning video. Do NOT select a video analyzing just one game. Learn the main line of what you want to play 10 to 12 moves deep. Learn the openings traps that you may encounter. Play practice games in unrated and unimportant situations. Find a buddy who also wants to learn the same opening Play at school or casual games at the chess club. Play it in speed games to get an idea of what variations you will see. Play it in tournament games, at first against weaker opponents and, as you have success, play it in more important games, Always Review and learn about sidelines you see in your games.

Video Recommendations:
(W)=White Point of View, (B)=Black Point of View




Tactics


Tactics are the basis of most chess play in the middlegame. A tactic is a short sequence of moves that creates a tangible gain either in material or checkmate. Common Tactical themes include:

  • Question #1: Is it Safe?
  • Checks, Captures & Threats
  • Double Attacks and Forks
  • Pins, Skewers and X-Rays
  • Question #2: What can my Opponent do?
  • Move, Capture & Block
  • Discovered Attacks and Checks
  • Removing the Defenders

10 Underrated Reasons to Study Chess Tactics


You need to do more than just tactical puzzles, you need to be good enough that you see them in your own games. You can't play what you don't see.


Video Recommendations:




Strategy

Chess Strategy is a long term plan or idea which improves your position in the absence of playable tactics. Common strategical themes include:

  • Space
  • Time
  • Mobility
  • Center Control
  • Open Files and Diagonals
  • Outposts
  • Pawn Structure
  • Color Complex
  • Prophylaxis and Defense
  • King Safety or King Activity?
  • Bishops or Knights?
  • Every Move should have a Touch of Poison
  • Where to place the Rooks

Every piece has strengths and weaknesses. Learn to place your pieces on their best squares to create a winning strategy.


Book Recommendations:

Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by Bobby Fischer
Programmed learning for beginners - a best seller for over 50 years
How to Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman
Concepts of strategical imbalances - a must read
My System by Aron Nimzowitsch
An explanation of non-classical control of the center - a must read for over 100 years
My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer
60 self annotated games including brilliancies and blunders
Think Like a Grandmaster by Alexander Kotov
Russian classic explains how to think using candidate moves etc
My Great Predecessors (five volumes) by Garry Kasparov
A great anthology of play from the 1800s to date and the progress of chess play over the years


Video Recommendations:






Endgames

Chess Endgames: If there isn't a checkmate in the middle of the game you can still win in the endgame when there are few pieces on the board and the strategy turns from checkmate or the winning of material to Queening a pawn. Common endgame ideas include:


  • Basic Checkmates
  • Activating the King
  • Creating a Passed Pawn
  • Opposition
  • Triangulation
  • Square of the Pawn
  • Outflankng
  • King & Pawn vs King
  • Theory of Two Weaknesses
  • Corresponding Squares
  • Simplify to a Known Endgame
  • Shouldering
  • Anchoring
  • Tempo Move

Learn how push your pawns through while blocking your opponent.


Book Recommendations:
Pandolfini's Endgame Course by Bruce Pandolfini
(Basic endgame concepts for beginner & intermediate players)
Silman's Complete Endgame Course by Jeremy Silman
(Understandable book for players 1000 to Master)
100 Endgames You Must Know by Jesus de la Villa
100 Endgames You Must Know Workbook by Jesus de la Villa
(Encyclopedic listing of most important endgames for practical play)
Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual by Mark Dvoretsky
(Highly technical manual recommended only for serious players)
Mastering Endgame Strategy by Johan Hellsten
(Endgame text book for Class A and above)
Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Müller & Frank Lamprecht
(Complete endgame "Bible" for tournament players)

Article Recommendations:
Every Pawn Structure Explained by Johan Hellsten
(How to examine pawn structures, including the Carlsbad & IQP)




Chess Puzzles Chess puzzles let you practice on the board all the situations mentioned above which you will find in a game. A good puzzle will challenge you to detect the patterns you look for in a game.