Growing Through Chess

Chess introduced me to a rich culture of players from all over the world. Opponents direct their own musical scores for a quartet of offense, defense, strategy, and prophylaxis. Once a game monopolized by intellectual elites, it now exists near park benches and pubs where the lives of me and my friends intersect at the board over a pint. The beauty, the balance, the poignancy – these all bring me back to the game time and time again.


French Defense Strategy Simplified: 2 Key Concepts in Understanding the French Defense

In this article, we'll explore two fundamental concepts in the French Defense using the Advance Variation as our example: 1) Pressuring the Center and 2) Trading Off or Activating the Light-Square Bishop. These concepts are essential for beginners to understand to play the French Defense effectively The Setup: Advance Variation in the French Defense The Advance Variation in the French Defense starts with the moves: e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Starting position of the advance variation of the French Defense This setup by white aims to control the…


4 Rules: How to Set up a Chess Board

Setting up a chess board is easy to learn and easy to master. Before you make your first move, make sure your board is set up correctly with these 4 rules. Rule 1: White on Right The bottom-right square of your chess board should be a white (or light) square. Not a dark square. Rule 2: Pawns on the 2nd and 7th rank Pawns belong one rank (horizontal row) from the bottom and top. Get 3D pieces on Rule 3: Rooks -> Knights -> Bishops Starting in each corner,…

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An Update from James Fazzolari

Nearly a year ago I wrote an article setting out my 2023 Chess Goals. Speaking with Matt, wethought it would be interesting to reflect on the past year, highlight the lessons learned and set newgoals for 2024. Lots happened during 2023: improving from 1382 (provisional) to 1508 rating (in the January 2024 FIDE list) playing 46 rated OTB games for +23 -16 =7 (57.61%) winning two rating category prizes and one tournament outright (with 1864 performance) publishing my first course for ChessGoals on the Nimzo-Indian still playing the London System…


5 Ways Chess Games End in a Draw: Explained Simply

In Chess, the goal is to trap the opponent's king and the game when one player wins by captures the other players king, but sometimes it doesn't end that way! Sometimes, the game ends in a tie or a draw. A "draw" in chess means that nobody wins. It's like saying the game is a tie. There are different ways this can happen, and they're like special rules that make sure the game doesn't go on forever. These special rules make chess more interesting and fair. In this discussion, we're…


Cracking the Code of Stalemate in Chess: A Beginner’s Guide

I. Introduction: What Is Stalemate in Chess and Why It Matters In chess, there's an exciting resource that can change the game – it's called "stalemate." If you're new to chess, you might have heard about it and wondered, "What's that?" Don't worry; we're here to explain it all in simple terms. Stalemate is like a chess puzzle, and understanding it can be quite fun. Imagine turning a game that looks like a loss into a draw! In chess, a draw is a tie game.  If you would like to…


London System: Slav, Bf5 & Bxb1!?

(guest post by James) Hi Goalies! Like me, I’m sure you have been enjoying the recent London System course prepared by Matt and Jesse. While I have been playing the London System for a few years already, it was great to see the fresh ideas they brought to the opening, and to see them give my pet set-up versus the Queen’s Indian the mark of approval (thanks guys!). In the spirit of contributing to the great Chess Goals community, I’d like to share with you some more home preparation to…

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Conversing in the Language of Chess

Guest post from Christopher Fisher, MD The conversation of chess is one of the most profound and intricate dialogues to be found in the world of strategy and competition. With every move, the pieces on the board speak in a language that is steeped in tradition and strategy, a language that is both beautiful and complex. The chessboard serves as the stage for this conversation, a platform upon which the pieces dance and weave in a symphony of tactical brilliance. The pieces themselves are the words of this language, each…

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Beating Caro-Kann Sidelines

This is a guest post from James Fazzolari. Thank you, James! Short & Sweet Guide to 5 Caro-Kann Minor Sidelines I recently spent time preparing for a five-day, nine-round Classical tournament. I normally feel comfortable with my mainlines for such an event since they come up all the time, and I am very familiar with the ideas, so I like to do some revision for minor sidelines which rarely come up since many of them have quite some bite if you are not well prepared. After speaking with Matt, we…

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Chess Learning

This is a guest post by ChessGoals member Christopher Fisher, MD. Hey Chess enthusiasts! As a perpetual student with nearly two decades of higher education, including Med school and specialized surgery training, I've gained a deep understanding of effective learning techniques. Recently, I dove back into the fantastic world of chess and realized that the learning principles I've acquired can also be applied here. So, you've decided to get serious about chess and want to see results fast. I've been pondering how to bring my lifelong learning expertise on learning…

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