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The Search for Chess Mastery

- Chess Vision -

Stephen Ward

This is a sample, I hope you enjoy it. The full version has 20 fantastic games to play through, visualise and absorb. These include some beautiful sacrifices, manoeuvres and combinations that will become part of your knowledge/pattern database. The difficulty progresses too, with games going from looking 3 moves to 7! You can get the full version on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Just follow these links: (Paperback) US: UK: (Kindle) Amazon UK: Thank you!

Contents Introduction What does Chess Vision consist of? Useful Techniques Our Approach Terminology The Games Game 1: Anderssen v Kieseritsky The Immortal Game, 1851 Game 2: Anderssen v Dufresne The Evergreen Game, 1852 Game 3: Mayet v Anderssen, 1859 Game 4: Anderssen v Staunton, 1851 Game 5: Morphy v Duke Karl / Count Isouard, The Opera House Game, 1858 Game 6: Meek v Morphy, 1855 Game 7: Bird v Morphy, 1858 Game 8: Morphy v Anderssen, 1858 Game 9: Paulsen v Morphy, 1857 Game 10: Zukertort v Blackburne, 1883 Game 11: Em. Lasker v Bauer, 1889 "The Double Bishop Sacrifice" Game 12: Steinitz v Chigorin, 1892 Game 13: Steinitz v von Bardeleben, 1895 Game 14: Pillsbury v Em. Lasker, 1895 Game 15: Steinitz v Em. Lasker, 1899 Game 16: Rotlewi v Rubinstein, 1907 Game 17: Capablanca v Marshall, 1918 Game 18: Em. Lasker v Capablanca, 1921 Game 19: Bogoljubow v Alekhine, 1922 Game 20: Gruenfeld v Alekhine, 1923

The purpose of this book is to develop the readers ability to see ahead in chess games. This is a very important skill that is used to analyse the consequences of this or that move and so help us find the strongest move that we can. Beginner-level players often ask how far ahead Grandmasters can see and are met by varying answers. Alekhine was known for his long, complicated variations the result of which he claimed to know when he made his original move. Capablanca famously quipped, I see only one move ahead, but it is always the correct one. Garry Kasparov says that he once saw a variation that went on for 14 or 15 moves and that this was probably the longest series he analysed. Whilst it is considered to be generally true that the ability to see ahead increases with chess strength, much of this is down to the individual player, their style and particular strengths analytical players with strong memory being at an advantage. However, many Grandmasters are able to play games blindfold, that is, without being able to see the position on the board. There have been many instances where top chess players have played multiple games simultaneously, keeping all of the positions in their head, updating each when they hear their opponents move and following their usual processes for finding their reply. If some Grandmasters can play whole games in their head, why do they only look ahead a few moves as they play? The reasons are largely practical. It is only necessary for the player to consider a few lines (variations, or sequences of moves) and evaluate the position a few moves deep along these lines. The number of possible replies at every stage makes this process lengthy enough and the constraints of time and mental energy mean it is best not to go deeper than is necessary. The important point, however, is that these players could see further ahead if the position required it. The skill of looking ahead in chess, whilst different from the skills of finding the best move and evaluating a position, is one that should be developed. This happens naturally as we play more games and become stronger at chess think of beginner players who fall for the bait of winning a Queen with their Rook only to find that the Rook move left them open to a back-rank mate - but can be trained also. Strengthening our ability to see the chessboard and think ahead will help us avoid tactical mistakes.

What does Chess Vision consist of?

The ability to see the board exists in all players to some degree. To prove this point, think of the beginning position, before Whites first move. You could recreate this position on a board with ease, we do it before every game. What square is Whites Queen on? Blacks King? What colour is the bottom-right square, h1? This is an example of chess vision. We know the pattern, we have it imprinted on our minds. Maybe when we first learned the game, we were taught different rules to help us remember the position: White on the right for the correct board orientation (h1 being a White square). Rooks in the corners, Knights next to the Rooks and Bishops next to the Knights The Queen and King next to each other, with the Queen on her own colour A pawn on the square in front of every piece

After seeing this position a number of times, we do not have to consciously think about how to set it up, we know and just do it. Through pattern recognition and repetition the position has become knowledge and the process of recreating it is automatic. This can be compared to the skills of walking or riding a bike. We are not born with the skill but develop it until it becomes automatic. The same occurs with our chess vision. I imagine that the reader can see the positions after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 or 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6. They occur so frequently that we know the pattern. Largely, that is how we develop our ability to see ahead in chess. Through repetition, we begin to remember and recognise more chess patterns and are able to think about them clearly without having to refer to them on a physical chessboard. To help us bridge the gap between our current level of pattern memory and the next level, we can help ourselves by thinking of the position a piece at a time and making mental notes about it.

Our Approach
Our approach in this book is to play through a collection of famous chess games a few moves at a time. The next few pages have games where we discuss the positions and the moves together, practising some of the thought processes. After this, you will play through the games in your head and be responsible for your own way of thinking about the moves and the positions. There will be questions at each step about the resulting position. These will help you test your success at visualising the board and remembering the position. There are usually 3 questions, a to c. These can be answered all at once of you can play through a game answering just the a questions, then replay the game later answering the b questions and so on as the b and c questions are designed to be more of a challenge. As we go through the game collections, the main idea is to know the position, see it, and be able to accurately think about what legal moves could be made, what the threats are for either side etc. This will help hugely in your own games, with analysing ahead over the board. The bonus of this method is that you will be adding some of the greatest games ever played to your memory and absorbing patterns, piece placements and tactics as you do so!

Game 1: Anderssen v Kieseritsky The Immortal Game, 1851

Perhaps the most famous game ever played, this was an informal game played between rounds of a competitive tournament (London 1851). Adolf Anderssen, who won the tournament beating Kieseritsky and Howard Staunton on the way, was considered the strongest player in the world at the time and was well known for his aggressive, sacrificial play. This game certainly displays that style with White giving up a huge amount of material to checkmate his opponent. The title of The Immortal Game was coined by Ernst Falkbeer 4 years later. 1. e4 e5 Starting position. E pawns on e4 and e5. 2. f4 exf4 Blacks e-pawn is now on f4, White has no f-pawn. 3. Bc4 Qh4+ Whites Bishop is on c4 attacking f7. Blacks Queen is on h4, White is in check.

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 3Qh4+ 4. Kf1 b5 The King moves to the Bishops square and can no longer castle. Black attacks the c4 Bishop with an undefended b-pawn. 5. Bxb5 Nf6 Bishop is on b5, material is level, Black now has no pawn on b7 and the d7 pawn is pinned. Blacks Knight is on f6 attacking Whites e4 pawn. 6. Nf3 Qh6 Whites Knight is on f3 attacking the Queen. The Queen retreats down the file to h6. 8

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 6Qh6 7. d3 Nh5 The d-pawn protects the e4 pawn and opens the line for the dark-squared Bishop. F4 pawn is now attacked but still defended by the Queen. Black moves the Knight to h5, the f4 pawn is defended twice and the Queen can move along rank 6. The Knight on h5 can check on g3. 8. Nh4 Qg5 White moves his Knight to the square in front of Blacks Knight. Note: if Black moves his Nh5 then his Qh6 would be attacking the Knight. Black moves his Queen to g5, it now attacks 2 undefended pieces, Whites Bb5 and the Nh4. The Black f4 pawn is pinned to the Qg5. 9. Nf5 c6 White puts his Knight on f5 where it Is protected by the e4 pawn. This blocks the Black Queen from attacking the Bb5 and attacks g7. There are now 4 pieces on the 5th rank: the Bb5, Nf5, Qg5 and Nh5. C-pawn moves 1 square, the Bb5 is under attack and the d7 pawn is no longer pinned. The Nf5 could move to d6 with check if the Bf8 moved away.

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 9c6 10. g4 Nf6 The g-pawn moves 2 squares, attacking the Nh4. It is protected by Qd1 and cannot be taken en passant as the f4 is pinned. The Bb5 is still threatened by c6. Blacks Knight is now on f6 and the g4 pawn is attacked twice, defended once. 11. Rg1 cxb5 The Rook moves 1 square to g1, protecting the g4 pawn along with the Queen. Black now has a pawn on b5, none on the c- or e-files, one on f4. White is a piece down. 12. h4 Qg6 White has pawns on e4, g4 and h4. Blacks Queen is under attack. The h4 pawn is protected by Nf5. The Queen moves to g6, the only square not under attack.

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 12Qg6 13. h5 Qg5 The h-pawn is now on h5 attacking the Queen. The h5 pawn is protected by the g-pawn. The Queen only has one square to move to. The Queen moves back to g5, it now has no safe squares. 14. Qf3 Ng8 The Queen moves to f3 and the f4 pawn is now attacked twice, defended once. Blacks Nf6 goes back to its original square. Blacks Queen can now move to f6 or d8 safely. 15. Bxf4 Qf6 White takes the f-pawn and attacks the Black Queen and the d6 square. There are no Black pieces on Whites side of the board. Blacks Queen is on f6 with the White Nf5 and Bf4 separating it from his Qf3 which is undefended. The Qf6 attacks b2. Position check: Whites Queenside 4x4 as starting position with d-pawn on d3, Bishop on f4 and Queen on f3. Whites Kingside 4x4 e1 empty, King on 10

f1, Rook on g1, h1 empty, e2-h3 empty apart from Qf3, pawns on e4 and g4, Bishop on f4. Blacks Queenside 4x4 as starting position with Queen on f6, b-pawn on b5, no c-pawn. Blacks Kingside 4x4 as starting position with no e-pawn, Queen on f6, White Knight on f5 and pawn on h5. Centre 4x4 White has pawns on d3 and e4, Qf3 Bf4 and Nf5, Black has Qf6.

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 15Qf6 16. Nc3 Bc5 The Nb1 moves to c3, obstructing b2, attacking the b5 pawn and eyeing the empty d5 square. Blacks Bf8 moves to c5 attacking the g1 Rook. G7 is defended only by the Qf6. 17. Nd5 Qxb2 White has 2 Knights in the centre 4x4 on d5 and f5, Blacks Queen is attacked, the b2 pawn is now attacked again. The Queen takes the b2 pawn, the a1 Rook is under threat of capture with check and the g1 Rook is still attacked by Bc5. The Queen still protects g7, only a1 and b2 are safe squares for the Queen to protect it from. 18. Bd6 Bxg1 The Bf4 moves to d6 where it attacks and is under attack by Blacks Bc5. It is protected by the Nf5. Blacks King now only has 1 square (d8) to move to. The Bishop takes the Rook on g1, the a1 Rook is still attacked.


Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 18Bxg1 19. e5 Qxa1+ Whites e-pawn is now on e5, protected by the Bd6. The e5 pawn blocks the long diagonal from the Black Qb2. If the Nd5 moves then Whites Qf3 would threaten the a8 Rook. Blacks Qb2 takes the a1 Rook with check. 20. Ke2 Na6 The King moves to the square in front of his starting position and cannot be checked next move. Black moves his Nb8 to a6, protecting the c7 square. 21. Nxg7+ Kd8 Whites Nf5 is on g7, Black has no g-pawn. Black has one legal move and moves Ke8 to d8. Black now has no squares for his King to move to as his Bc8 and d7 pawn block those squares, c7 and e7 are attacked by the Bd6 and Nd5 and e8 is attacked by the Ng7.

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 21Kd8


22. Qf6+ Nxf6 The Queen is on f6 giving check to d8. There are 2 legal moves. Black takes the Queen on f6 with his Ng8. 23. Be7#

Anderssen Kieseritsky, 1851 Final Position


Game 3: Mayet v Anderssen, 1859

Anderssens next victim was a barrister and judge, one of the so-called Berlin Pleiades, the seven stars of chess. He played a number of matches, losing the vast majority of them but was able to win some individual games including 6 against Anderssen in their 1855 match. The match this game is taken from saw Anderssen win 7 to his opponents 1, this being the most crushing.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Bc5 3.1a: How many pieces/pawns are there in the Centre 4x4? 3.1b: Can White legally castle on the next move? 3.1c: How many times does Black attack the d4 square?


Mayet v Anderssen, 1859, 3Bc5 3.1a: 5 3.1b: Yes 3.1c: 3 times

4.c3 Nf6 5.Bxc6 dxc6 6.O-O Bg4 3.2a: How many pieces/pawns are there in the Centre 4x4? 3.2b: Can Black legally castle on the next move? 3.2c: Which of Whites pieces is pinned?


Mayet v Anderssen, 1859, 6Bg4 7.h3 h5 8.hxg4 hxg4 9.Nxe5 g3 3.3a: How many of Whites pieces (excluding pawns) are on their original squares? 3.3b: Can White legally play fxg3 on the next move? 3.3c: What is the material balance? 3.2a: 7 3.2b: Yes 3.2c: Nf3


Mayet v Anderssen, 1859, 9g3 3.3a: 4 3.3b: No 3.3c: +3

10.d4 Nxe4 11.Qg4 Bxd4 12.Qxe4 Bxf2+ 3.4a: How many legal moves does White have? 3.4b: What is the material balance? 3.4c: Could Black legally castle Queenside on the next move?


Mayet v Anderssen, 1859, 12Bf2+

3.4a: 1 3.4b: +3 3.4c: No

13.Rxf2 Qd1+ 14.Rf1 Rh1+ 15.Kxh1 Qxf1#

Mayet v Anderssen, 1859, Final Position


This is a sample, I hope you enjoy it. The full version has 20 fantastic games to play through, visualise and absorb. These include some beautiful sacrifices, manoeuvres and combinations that will become part of your knowledge/pattern database. The difficulty progresses too, with games going from looking 3 moves to 7! You can get the full version on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions. Just follow these links: (Paperback) US: UK: (Kindle) Amazon UK: Thank you!