Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Back from Brownsville

I just got back from Brownsville on Sunday. I was there coaching The Village School. Every single person on the team had a plus score or even score. They became the 3rd Grade State Champions. Congratulations to them. A lot of my private students and friends were there, and they all did very well

My next tournament will be the National Championship in Orlando Florida, from December 8-10. I will be coaching the Village School there again. I will probably get there a few days early or stay a few days late to see Orlando (although I've already been there several times as a kid).

In March I will be coaching in the State Championships again with Annunciation Orthodox Academy in Plano Texas.

I am considering playing in the following tournaments. I won't play in all of them, but maybe two.
2006 Motor City Open in Michigan (Detroit I think?)
2007 Chicago Open
2007 World Open (Philadelphia)
2007 US Open

Anyway that's all for now and sorry that I haven't been posting lately.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

White to Play, Mate in 2
Alekhine,A - Asgeirsson,A 1931.

To view the whole game with the solution to the puzzle, either click on the diagram to the left or click here.

Hi everyone. I haven't really been updating as much as I should. I've been busy with a lot of chess related stuff.

I would like to congratulate all of my students and friends who played in the T.H. Rogers tournament. So many people I know did well. Martha Jenkinson did a wonderful job running the event as always. The people of Houston appreciate all of her great volunteer work.

I would also like to thank my good friend Justin Gardner for making the trip from Dallas to help analyze games at the tournament. He will be moving to the Houston area in January to teach chess professionally. Houston is very lucky to have a strong player and great coach such as himself.

Enjoy the puzzle and the game! Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 31, 2006

Going to Michigan

Hi everyone, and thank you for faithfully reading my blog even though I haven't been updating it as much as I used to. I will be going to Michigan until August 20 to visit family. If you have any questions while I'm gone, I insist that you email me. I always love discussing chess. I encourage all students to do as many tactical excercises as possible, and just study chess until the school year begins. Before you know it, there will be tournaments every few weeks.

Here is one for you to enjoy. It is White to play and win. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Quick update

Sorry for not posting in a long time. Right now I'm getting ready for the Houston Open this weekend. I am not as prepared as I would like to be, but I'll spend a lot of time today and tomorrow doing some tactical training and also review my openings. I encourage my students and friends to do the same!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My new "Best Game" from the National Open.

This is from my round 6 game against the German player Axel Stephan, who is rated 2320. This game was important because if I wanted a chance to win the U2300 prize, I had to win.

This is one of my favorite games that I ever played, and very close to perfectly played. I think it's very instructional how I played against the Stonewall formation. I then did a nice switch from the queenside attack to the kingside attack. View the whole game by clicking
here. Posted by Picasa

Friday, June 09, 2006

My crazy chess teaching lifestyle!

Hey everyone. My schedule has been extremely hectic.

During this last week, I've been teaching at the Klein Chess camp during the day, then teaching in the evening as well. I've been spending this week waking up at 6am and going to bed around 10pm, with hardly any free time at all (I spend this time making lesson plans). I'll also be teaching about 8 hours a day this weekend, and I also have to attend my law school admission test class on Sunday for about 4 hours. Monday I have another camp week (T.H. Rogers), where I will be busy from 6am until 10pm again. At the end of the week on Friday evening (after finishing the camp) I fly to Vegas. Saturday and Sunday I will play in the two day schedule (playing chess for about 8 hours a day). I have no idea how I will play in Vegas. Sunday night (after round 6) I fly back to Houston, so I can make it in time for my 3rd camp starting the next day on Monday! It is a good thing that I love chess or I would probably be going insane from all of this work! When I moved to Houston I didn't think that I would be teaching chess for 60 hours a week.

The Klein Chess camp was a great success as usual. Congratulations to Mr. Liptrap for running another great camp. Hopefully when I get some free time (at this rate, it will be sometime in August) I will update my blog with more chess stuff and post my games.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Texas State Championship Part 1

I played in the Texas State Championship this Memorial Day weekend. I actually finished it a few hours ago, and I am completely exhausted (physically and mentally). I am struggling to stay awake as I type this. I heard that playing a game of chess is as physically exhausting as 3 rounds of boxing. Karpov lost 30 pounds or so when he played in the World Championship one year. I have always been a little skeptical of these "facts" but I personally feel like I can sleep for a whole day. Luckily I am taking a little trip to Dallas for a couple days so I can get some rest.

These are my overall results with a brief summary of the game (the ratings are rounded).

Round 1: White - Win against Chris Toolin (2150)
I was winning, he was winning, then I won.
I played the opening and middle game extremely well. I won a piece, but he got compensation. In time pressure I made a few errors and he stood better. For a few moves he was completely winning (if he played the winning move I could have resigned at one point). He made some horrible mistakes towards the end and I came back to win. The strangest thing about this game was that for a very long time, I had less than 30 seconds. On some moves I made I had less than 5 seconds. There was a 30 second increment, so it was hard for me to lose on time, but I really had to think fast for a few moves. He always had over an hour on his clock. He did something that was very bad though: He moved very fast because he saw that I was low on time, and he wanted me to lose on time. If he used his time to find the best move, I probably would have lost. At one point soon before he lost, I attacked his Bishop with a knight in a position where he stood better. I had about 30 seconds at this point and he had over an hour. He just ignored it and let me take his Bishop for free. With all due respect to him, I've never seen an expert do this before. I think he was really thinking too much about trying to beat me on time. He is a young talented player that plays chess for UTD (my school) and I think he will avoid making this mistake with a little bit more experience. I know he must feel absolutely horrible for losing the game, and I feel bad for him.

Round 2: Win against Adam Coveney (2150)

I was winning, he was winning, then I won.

I played very well in the beginning. In time pressure I won material, but I let him get a nice counter-attack. If I converted the win when I should have without messing up, this would have been one of the best games I ever played. At one point in time pressure my king was running around the board to avoid checkmate. He was completely winning at this point but he was low on time also. I played some perfect moves in extremely complicated situations where I had only a few seconds on my clock. It was almost as if I had to "guess" the best moves a few time, but I kept on "guessing" right. I had to find the best move to avoid being checkmated, and it seems that I dodged checkmate perfectly each time. Because of this I was able to avoid being checkmated. Then I came back and won.

Round 3: Draw against GM Magesh (2550)

I was winning then we drew.

He played into an opening that I have been preparing carefully. The game started equal, then I got a huge advantage, but I took a draw. More info is below.

Round4: Loss against GM Alejandro Ramirez (2550)
He played like a very strong GM. I played well too, but he lost. He stood better the whole game and won. I learned a lot from this game. This is by far my most instructive game of the tournament.

Round 5: Draw against Selby Anderson (2250)
I was better for most of the game, then he equalized and we drew.

Round 6: Draw against Warren Harper (2200)

I used experience from the Ramirez game to get an excellent position against Warren. I stood better for a lot of the game, then he stood slightly better for a few moves, then we took a draw in an equal position (I was low on time when I accepted his draw offer. Otherwise I would have played on). Earlier in the game he offered a draw and I declined. Then later I offered a draw and he declined. Then a few moves later he offered a draw and I accepted when I had 2 minutes on my clock.

Round7: Draw against Chris K. Land (2200)

Equal game where I thought I had a winning tactic, but instead I had to go into a very boring drawish position. We drew early.

Total: 4 out of 7 (gained 10 rating points)

I did ok in the tournament, but nothing great. This post is a general summary of the tournament... I will soon post my annotated games and write some more about the tournament in the future. I plan on doing this after every tournament I play in. This will be useful for me as a player, and I think it will be very useful for the readers who want to learn how a Master approaches serious competition. I like to write a lot about a lot of the mental facets involved in tournaments, as well as describing my games in detail, so stay tuned for that. Also I am sorry that I did not post anything new in almost a month. I have just been very busy.

I finished with 4 points out of 7, and I gained about 10 rating points. Considering that this is my first tournament in almost a year, I was happy with my plus score. I also got to play two GMs (drawing one, and playing a well against the other). I always prefer to lose to a GM than to beat a Master as I learn much more this way.

It was pretty obvious that I am rusty, based on the time pressure I was getting into. I would say that I played about 30 moves (between two games) in this tournament where I had less than 30 seconds on my clock! The fact that there is a 30 second increment made it so I never lost on time (I won both of these games). Spectators told me that there were many times when I had less than 5 seconds (apparently I got down to 2 seconds a few times). In 6 games I got into time pressure. This is not good! Every morning before I drove to the tournament, I did about 10 pretty simple tactical puzzles to "warm up". It's weird, but there were many times where I was in time pressure and I had to find the best move very quickly. I felt that my tactical "eye" was very sharp, and maybe these morning warmup puzzles helped me out. Mark Dvoretsky (possibly the world's most famous chess trainer) and GM Yuri Shulman both recommend doing puzzles before a tournament game. Yuri told me it's a "blunder check". Mark Dvoretsky writes that it is similar to a musician playing scales before a recital. This is something that I will always do for now on.

In the games where I played the best I only got draws. In two other games I played superbly in the beginning but then I made some errors in time pressure and I was completely losing. However in both of these games where I was losing, I defended very well and came back to win. One of my favorite things in chess is to win a game where I am "hopelessly" losing. One of my biggest strengths as a player is that I am very good at defending positions where I am losing.

In my first day I played 3 games, and got 2.5 out of 3 (drawing a GM). So I guess I was not too rusty. I felt that I was getting stronger after each game, and I played my best in day 2 and 3 (although my results were best on day 1).

I did two things in this tournament that I thought were very weak of me. Against Grandmaster Magesh, I took a draw in a much better position. Fritz thought I was clearly better, with a decisive advantage. I knew I was better when he offered the draw, although I spent all of my energy trying to calculate a forced win (I had a variation that comes very close to winning by force, but it just leaves me with a clear advantage). However if I just play simple moves in the position where I took the draw, I am winning also. I felt nervous having about 18 minutes on my clock when he offered the draw, and I didn't have confidence in my ability to convert the win against the GM. I know that if an IM or weaker offered me a draw I would not even consider accepting, but I just have so much respect for Magesh's play. Either way, that was weak of me, and I will not repeat that mistake again. Twice before, GMs offered me draws in a position where I was much better and I declined (and then went on to lose). Maybe I had those memories in the back of my head.

Another very weak thing I did was in the final round. I played an opening that I played several times. I thought my opponent made a blunder that allowed me to trade off my queen for two rooks (giving me a material advantage). I played the first move of my combination which was a simple pawn trade that is normally not good in this opening. After he recaptured the pawn, I realized that it was not good for me to trade off my queen for two rooks. My calculation of the tactic was correct, I just misevaluated the position after I win the material. I decided that if I go into the variation I will be worse, so I had to go with a different plan . The problem is I already worsened my position by making the preliminary pawn trade. Either way, the main thing that I did wrong was not spend enough time on this move. This was a very critical decision, and I should have spent maybe 20 minutes or so before making the move. I probably spent less than 10 minutes. After I made this mistake, I had a completely even position where we soon agreed to a draw.

In my game against Grandmaster Ramirez I thought I played very well, and he played brilliantly. I made a few slight errors in the opening. I then reviewed the game carefully after playing it. I found about three improvements in my opening. The next day I played Warren Harper and he repeated the exact same opening. I was able to play my three improvements and I got an excellent position against him (much better than the one I got against Ramirez). It goes to show you that opening preparation and reviewing your games carefully will help you improve immediately. Too bad I could only draw the game against Warren (he played incredibly well).

I went to this tournaement with a few simple goals. I consider myself to be a very "realistic" person when it comes to making goals. I know some people try to psyche themself up by "thinking big". I don't think being over-confident helps me play any better, and my moves are still to the best of my ability when I have realistic expectations of myself. It might seem that I have low expectations of myself, but keep in mind that I have not played in almost a year. Once I play a few more tournaments I will set higher goals.

1) To not lose a significant amount of rating points.

I was successful in this goal. I actually gained 10 rating points. When a Master is rusty, sometimes we can lose a lot of rating points by losing to a lower rated player who is "in shape".

2) Play all 7 games equally hard no matter how well I am doing in the tournament. To not "fade" at all and play worse at the end of the tournament. I want a person to be able to look at all 7 games, and not be able to tell which game I played early in the tournament when I was "fresh" and which games I played at the end of the tournament where I am "tired".

I did a good job with this. I am actually quite proud of how mentally tough I was this tournament, although I was slightly weak in my last game where I misevaluated a variation. But I think that could have happened to me in any round.

3) Not "fade" at all throughout my game due to fatigue or psychological reasonings (such as giving up on a worse position). Basically to play the endgame as well as the middle game, and middle game as well as the opening.

Again I did very well in this. I know I played worse when I was in time pressure, but I never "faded" for any reasons other than having to move fast.

4) Not to withdraw (play all 7 games with no byes) no matter how poor I am doing in the tournament.

I played all games, and I never considered withdrawing. But then again, I was always doing pretty well in the tournaemnt. In the past I often don't play my last round if I have to play a weaker opponent (and when I am not in contention for a prize).

5) Get a lot of sleep each night.

I could have done better with this. I got about 6.5 to 7 hours each night (mainly because I was doing opening preparation each night on my computer). For me I think it's much better to get more sleep than this, but I never felt tired during my games.

I feel that the training I have been doing in the past few months have really paid off. Although I am rusty as a player, I still have a lot of skill from all of the hard work I've been putting in. If I just played in this tournament without doing the work I put into it, I probably would have done poorly. Once I play more often, and study as I have been, I expect to become much stronger and hopefully improve my rating to the next level.

In the next post I will show my games with notes about by play. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 12, 2006

As many of the readers know, I have been studying chess for a few hours a day for the past couple of months. Ben Finegold has been doing a great job of coaching me and I would like to thank him for all of his help. Also I am very happy that he is healthy. His hospitalization gave everyone a good scare.

As well as working with Ben Finegold once as a week, I started working with Grandmaster Yuri Shulman. I know Yuri

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

1100 Level Puzzle: Game against former coach Rade Milovanovic.

Black to play and eventually checkmate white (or force white to sacrifice his queen to defend).

This puzzle is probably good for about the 1100 rated player, although anyone can solve it. Look for the answer in the "comments" area.

This is a game where I am White. I am playing against my coach at the time, International Master Rade Milovanovic. He is the first coach of the University of Texas at Dallas chess team and has been there ever since. I was a freshman in college when he joined the team. During that year our team was a lot different than it is now. For one thing, we only had about six masters total. We only had the man-power to send one team to tournaments. Now University of Texas at Dallas often sends three strong teams to tournaments and could send five if they wanted to.

Rade helped our team win several National and Pan-American chess championships. I not only thought of him as my coach, but also a close friend. He would often invite members of the team over to his house for wonderful dinners cooked by his wife. We used to have long discussions about things such as his career as a chess player in war-torn Yugoslavia, or simpler things such as "World Wrestling Entertainment". He was always laughing and joking, so he put the chess team at ease during critical times in tournaments.

He is also a very strong chess player. Recently he won a very large prize in the "HB Global Chess Challenge tournament" in Minneapolis. This is the biggest open tournament in America and it had a $500,000 prize fund. I saw Rade at the State Championship held in Houston a few months ago. He was coaching University of Texas at Dallas players in the collegiate section. I was telling him about how I plan on playing chess very seriously again, but I am concerned that I might not do well because I am rusty. He encouraged me by telling me how he played almost no chess in the year before he won his prize in Minneapolis.

I like his playing style very much, and it is somewhat similar to mine. He plays in a very simple, solid manner but with a very keen eye for tactics. This is kind of like how the former World Champion Tigran Petrosian plays (he is possibly my favorite world champion). Rade has a very good understanding of positional chess, and he can play many different openings because of it. I would never know what opening to prepare for when I played him. He is a very good blitz player because of his great positional understanding. This goes to show you that you do not need to play complicated tactical chess like Gary Kasparov to be a strong chess player. If you just have a very good positional understanding then you can do well.

In the "puzzle" position, I am playing White. Out of the opening I achieved a small advantage in a variation of the Queens Gambit Declined. I held this advantage for much of the middle game, but he very calmly defended. I used to have a serious weakness that is common among many players strong and weak. If we let an advantage slip away, we then start to play worse. Alex Yermolinsky addresses this psychological issue very carefully in his "trends and turning points" chapter in Road to Chess Improvement. Let me give you a hypothetical example of this happening:

You are up a pawn for most of the game. You now blunder two pawns back. You become very discouraged. Instead of being ahead one pawn you are now down one pawn. You now start to make more blunders, and you defend the endgame lazily. You then go on to lose the game very fast, even though there was still a lot of fight left in the position.

Yermolinsky uses graphs to demonstrate that more mistakes happen right after a player makes an error that changes the nature of the game. This chapter in his book has helped me improve a lot. In my opinion, the best way to solve this problem is to simply understand that the problem exists (I believe Yermoinsky says this too). If you are playing a game where you just made an error that gives your opponent an advantage (or you simply lose your advantage), take a little break. Get up and walk around if you have to. Remind yourself that you might (and probably will) start playing worse because you are shaken up psychologically. Once you admit that this might happen, remind yourself that you do not have to play worse. Make a very conscious effort to play the rest of the game to the best of your ability. Go back to your game and forget the past, and play it as if it were a brand new game.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, April 14, 2006


Just an update. I've still been studying a lot of chess, almost 2 hours a day. That is a lot better than my 2 hours a week goal. I am now making plans to play in the World Open as well as the National Open. I am playing a training match (Game in 55 minutes) against another strong player. In the first game, I felt pretty rusty. I played well, got in time pressure, then blundered all of my pieces when I had a few minutes left. Getting in time pressure is something that shouldn't happen to me too often once I get back in shape. In the 2nd game I played very well and I felt like I'm back to form. I won the game on time in a better position, and I didn't make any mistakes the whole game. Fritz basically thought I played perfectly (which is very rare in my games). I'll post the games on this blog eventually. I feel very confident with my playing ability at the moment, and think that I might have a very good performance this summer if I get a chance to play in a few tournaments. Also I achieved an all-time high five-minute rating on ICC of 2306 (62nd best overall).

Outside of chess I have been studying a lot for the LSAT. I plan on taking it at the end of this summer.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Great chess book on education

There is a great new book about chess and education. It is titled "Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators". It is written by Womens International Master Dr. Alexey Root. She teaches a course on chess and education at the University of Texas at Dallas. She also writes regularly for many chess magazines, including Chess Life. This book will be beneficial to anyone who is curious about learning chess, or helping someone else improve.

Go to for more information.

If you use the special discount code "F238" the price will be $20 instead of $25.

Progress report and Internet Game

Lately I've been way ahead of my 2 hours a week goal of studying. I've been studying for close to 1 hour a day.

I worked with Ben Finegold today over the phone. He showed me some of his games and tried to give me some general advice on how to play better in tournaments so I can beat players stronger than myself. I hope to win my section in the National Open, and qualify for the U.S. Championship. I think I have good chances of winning my section, but the odds are against me of qualifying for the U.S. Championship. Who knows, maybe I will get lucky.

I played an internet game later where I played very well. I checked the game with Fritz after the game was over, and I played pretty much perfectly, which is rare for a such a short time control (especially when I am playing). My performance rating is very high with the English opening, and I think I will try to learn it better.

The position on the diagram is White to move and get a winning advantage. For the whole game, click here.

Right now my Internet Chess Club "5-Minute" rating is 2281. That does not sound very high, but that actually ranks me as the current 102nd best 5-minute player on ICC, which I am kind of proud of because there are over 30,000 members. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

National Open June 16-18.

Sometimes I do things on a whim. Earlier tonight I was thinking that I need to play some chess over the summer. An hour later I finished purchasing airline tickets and reserving two nights for my trip to Las Vegas. I will be playing in the National Open Championship section on June 17 and June 18 (I am playing in the two day section). It will be a hectic week. On the week of June 12, I am teaching at the TH Rogers chess camp, after finishing the Klein chess camp the week before. On Friday, after teaching all day, I will immediately pack some things, go to the airport, and fly out at 9:15 pm. I will arrive in Vegas around 10:30 pm Vegas time. Saturday morning I will play 4 games (although I might take a half point bye). Sunday, I will play two more games. At 1:15 am Monday morning, I will then fly back home to Vegas. If my last game on Sunday goes for the full 6 hours, I will have to rush to avoid missing my flight. So I hope I crush my opponent quickly. It will be a quick, tiring, and exciting trip. I plan on studying chess VERY hard until then. I will continue to post a study report (I have met my goal of studying 2 hours for week 1), and I will also post a trip report.

For more information about the tournament, go to:

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Question + Answer: Becoming weak through lack of study

Someone emailed me a question. If you have any questions that you think are suitable for everyone to view, please post it in the "comments" area, and I will respond in the same way. I will dedicate a post to answering the question though:

The person wrote:
Thanks for the "inside" information! You wrote that your goal is to spend 2 hours/week and that you did practically no studying last year. May I ask if you became weaker without training or are many things so "hardwired" in your brain that you do not need much studying to keep playing at a given level?

I definitely became a little bit weaker, but not by much. The main thing that happens when I am not studying is I might forget a few opening variations, but this shouldn't weaken a player significantly. In my opinion, once you learn something in chess it becomes somewhat hardwired (generally speaking) into your brain. Chess masters rely on intuition and experience for most of their playing strength, and it's hard to lose that. I think the main reason I got weaker is my lack of playing in tournaments. When I made my journey from 1100 to Master, I was playing in one or two challenging tournaments a month. Now I am lucky to play one tournament a year. To avoid getting weaker it is important to "stay in shape" by competing in tournaments regularly. It is also important to stay in tactical shape. For less experienced players it is best to do this by solving puzzles. For stronger players I think solving puzzles and playing internet chess (even blitz) is a good way to stay in tactical shape.

Again feel free to post appropriate questions in the "Comments" area and I will gladly respond in the same way.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More study and recognizing Burn Out!

Ok, what I am doing normally turns out horrible for most people. You see this pattern with many people. It is like I'm trying to run a marathon, but sprinting the first mile. This leads to burnout, and this happens in many types of training. For example, when people make new years resolutions to join a gym and excercise. You see the gyms are packed in January with people excercising 3 hours a day. Come February, the gym is empty again.

The point is, to not get burned out. So when studying.. try to stay with your reasonable goal. I am already over-training. But I should be mindful of this, and not get discouraged when my training slows down a bit. I should make sure to stay with my small 2 hour a week goal.

Anyway, I just studied a nice game between Alekhine and Euwe. Here it is:

Click Here

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Klein Chess Camp 2006

The 2006 Klein Chess Camp will be held June 5-9.

I highly recommend the Klein Chess Camp. This will be my fifth time teaching there. I have to say that this is one of the most well run chess camps that I have taught at, and I am honored to be a part of it. Jim Liptrap puts countless hours volunteering with Texas scholastic chess and he organizes this wonderful camp.

For more information, please visit

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Dallas: March 17 through March 20

I just finalized my plans to go to Dallas on Friday March 17 and return to Houston late on Monday March 20. To the parents of my students, I will be missing classes for those days. I will remind you again closer to the date. After that, I don't plan on taking any out of town trips until the summer. Thanks!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Funny Stalemates

A Stalemate is type of draw that occurs when the person to move has no legal moves and is not in check. You often see this happen in games between inexperienced players due to one side being a bit careless. Sometimes at more advanced levels of chess you see tactics executed by the losing side that result in a draw by stalemate. One time former World Champion Anatoly Karpov carelessly stalemated Judith Polgar when he was ahead a queen and bishop (he was very low on time).

In the following three games you will see some of the most unique stalemates in chess history. These games are "compositions". Both players first memorized these clever moves, then played them out in a game to result in a friendly draw.

Click here for the stalemate "compositions". (I also included the game where Karpov stalemated Polgar).

New exciting game

I've shown this game to many of my classes. White plays a somewhat simple game with a very nice attack on Black's king. I hope you enjoy! For the less experienced players: when viewing the games on this website, do not get caught up too much in the "side variations". Concentrate on the main lines (the moves in bold print).

Click here for the game!

Updated November 4, 2013:
There is a broken link above. I will try to find the game. I believe it is Waterman-Pachmann. It is a Ruy Lopez where Waterman plays this exciting Qc6 move.

Monday, February 06, 2006

State Championship and clutch performance by a 2nd grader!

Congratulations to all of those who played in the State Championship this past weekend. I have the privilege of working with several chess teams and individuals who took home great awards. So many people did well that I don't want to start naming specific teams and players because I know I will accidentally leave someone out.

One of my 2nd grade students showed me a great game he played. He won this game in the final round in only 14 moves. This win gave him 5 points out of 7, not only guaranteeing himself a huge trophy, but helping his team become the State Champions. I would post more games that I see, but this is the only one from the tournament that I memorized. If you have a good game you would like posted on this website, feel free to email it to me.

My student has the White pieces in this game.

Click here to see it!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Getting ready for the State Championship.

A lot of the readers have an important tournament coming up next weekend. The Texas State Championship held in downtown Houston. During this week I will concentrate on posting extra work for those participating in the event.

Mark Dvoretsky who is arguably the world's most famous chess trainer recommends tactical practice on the days prior to a chess tournament. He even suggests completing some moderately easy excercises the day of the tournament to warm up. This is comparable to a musician practicing scales on the day of a recital.

If you complete these puzzles, please email the answers to I will list the names of everyone who completes this successfully (unless you ask me not to list it).

Click here for the puzzles and good luck!

Friday, January 27, 2006

All Girls Tournament

Good luck to everyone playing in the Susan Polgar All Girls tournament in Corpus Christi this weekend.

I know at least 8 who are going and I sincerely hope they all do very well.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I discovered a new great game! Iskov-Plaskett

I have never seen this game until this week. I find it to be very instructional and entertaining. This game does a very good job of illustrating the attack on a castled King, when both sides castle in opposite directions. In this game Plaskett does a great job of punishing Iskov for playing a strange opening.

Iskov-Plaskett: The "Can-Opener"
Activity #1.5

By the way, I recently discovered that the java chess program and this overall site works better with Internet Explorer than Mozilla Firefox.

Friday, January 20, 2006

The Dragon Opening Interactive Lesson

I teach many of my students to play the Dragon or "Accelerated Dragon". This is a very good study aid for those who play the opening. It mainly focuses on learning the ideas and the general setup.

Activity # 1.4

Accelerated Dragon Interactive Lesson   Broken Link :( 

First Interactive Worksheet

I will put up more worksheets like this as homework for students. Please give me any feedback as I am still in the experimentation process.

Activity # 1.3

Click here for the "Loose Pieces Drop Off" worksheet. Rating Level: 0-1400

The answers are listed under the "comments". I will do this with all of my puzzles and online worksheets.

Morphy's Puzzle

Activity # 1.2
Black to play, mate in 2.
For the answer, look under "Comments"
Difficulty: 0-1400
Please post your answer under "comments" or email if you think you know the answer

Welcome to my new blog!

Hi everyone. This is my first post. I plan on putting up various homework items and material for extra training. Feedback is greatly appreciated. I just made a sample "newsletter". I hope you enjoy!

Activity # 1.1

Ruy Lopez Exchange (Rating: 0-1000)