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Material Imbalances - Queen vs. Two Rooks Part One

Sun, 2015-02-22 16:59 -- IM Max Illingworth

One of the most misunderstood elements of chess is that of the material imbalance – this is where each side has different pieces on the board. Of course, we don’t have to concern ourselves with the gigantic material imbalance of being a queen up for nothing, but many players avoid the opportunity to enter positions with a (on the pawn = 1, knight = 3.25, bishop = 3.5, rook = 5, queen = 9.75 material values) near-equal material imbalance. This can mainly be attributed to fear of the unknown (as there aren’t so many articles or books on this subject).

Introducing Positional Chess Understanding

Fri, 2015-02-06 10:26 -- IM Max Illingworth

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post on the 'Rudiments of Chess Understanding', defining chess understanding as 'how well one appreciates the value of pieces, pawns and squares in a given position'. This is true, but I now feel the definition can be made a lot more specific and helpful:

Positional chess understanding is the ability to evaluate conflicting advantages and ways to maximise our advantages/decrease the opponent's.

Blog Post 22-12-14: Dealing with Failure

Fri, 2015-01-02 20:10 -- IM Max Illingworth

Hello everyone!

Do you know what it’s like when you really want something, you want it so much that you’ll make some sacrifices to maximise your chances of getting it?

I was very determined to attain my final Grandmaster norm at the recently concluded Australasian Masters in Melbourne, and with all my other writing and coaching along with my tournament preparation and playing, the blog took a back seat…but I’m back and well!

2014 World Championship Match, Part 1

Sun, 2014-11-16 19:41 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "WCh 2014"]
[Site "Sochi RUS"]
[Date "2014.11.12"]
[Round "4"]
[White "Carlsen, M."]
[Black "Anand, V."]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "B40"]
[WhiteElo "2863"]
[BlackElo "2792"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "94"]
[EventDate "2014.11.08"]
[Source "ChessPublishing"]
[SourceDate "2013.03.07"]

{In this blog post I'll examine Games 4-6 of the World Championship Match (for

Opposite-Colour Bishop Endgames

Fri, 2014-11-07 15:34 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "URS-ch17"]
[Site "Moscow"]
[Date "1949.11.17"]
[Round "18"]
[White "Flohr, Salo"]
[Black "Geller, Efim P"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E92"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "122"]
[EventDate "1949.10.16"]
[EventRounds "19"]
[EventCountry "URS"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{In this blog post I will tackle an often oversimplified subject:

Assumptions in Chess and how to avoid them

Tue, 2014-10-28 10:52 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "Valencia"]
[Site "Valencia"]
[Date "1475.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "De Castellvi, Francisco"]
[Black "Vinoles, Narcisco"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B01"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "41"]
[EventDate "1475.??.??"]
[EventCountry "ESP"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "2007.11.25"]

{One of the most common causes of a mistake in chess is when we assume that

Learning from Alekhine

Wed, 2014-10-22 17:52 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "World Championship 13th"]
[Site "Buenos Aires"]
[Date "1927.10.26"]
[Round "21"]
[White "Capablanca, Jose Raul"]
[Black "Alekhine, Alexander"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D63"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "64"]
[EventDate "1927.09.16"]
[EventRounds "34"]
[EventCountry "ARG"]
[Source "ChessBase"]
[SourceDate "1999.07.01"]

{My inspiration for this week's post is the World Championship practice of the

Domination in Chess

Tue, 2014-10-07 13:54 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "1905.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Domination Study"]
[Black "Composed by Henri Rinck"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/1p4R1/2kp4/2p1P3/2P2Npq/3P3p/4K1PP/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "0"]
[EventDate "1905.??.??"]

{Don't you love it when you stop one of your opponent's pieces from safely
moving to any of their available squares? Such a theme is known as

The Meran for Club Players

Thu, 2014-10-02 10:58 -- IM Max Illingworth
[Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2014.10.02"]
[Round "?"]
[White "Meran Semi-Slav"]
[Black "Starting Moves"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D46"]
[Annotator "Illingworth,Max"]
[PlyCount "11"]
[EventDate "2014.??.??"]

{This week's blog post is on the Meran Semi-Slav, which arises after the moves
} 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 {. The basic idea
of White's setup is to play e4, exchanging the Black d5-pawn and giving White

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