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Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko

December 15th, 2018 No comments

My girlfriend gets upset with me whenever I claim to be old. She does not remember the fall of the wall at all, while I remember the Iran hostage crisis. I cry about the death/retirement of Rock ‘n Roll, while she sees it as a genre of Classical music, as I see Mozart, Gershwin or Charlie Parker. 
A decade ago Yusupov told me he participated in the European Championship and played eleven GMs between 2500 and 2600 of whom he had never heard at all! This was his “I am from the past” Epiphany. 
I have lots of them these days and honestly I enjoy them. I like the way new chess publishers are trying new things. As the old fart I am, I like what we do best of course, this is why we do it this way. But I really like that things are moving forward.
Yesterday I was made aware of two videos by GM Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko, whom I honestly still thought of as 21 years old. Actually, he is 32 and has three beautiful children, as the internet informs me. But thank you for Michael to making me aware of these videos, they are very complimentary to me.
The first one deals with the method of the three questions in a tactical setting, with a position I first saw in Byron Jacob’s wonderful little book Analyse to Win, but there were a small mistake, which was the justification for me including it in Excelling at Chess Calculation, with some chat.

White to play

The second position is more positional in nature and comes from one of his own games.

White to play


This one is a bit harder and I have to confess that I got it wrong! But it is all very logical and instructive.

Overall this first visual encounter with Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko was been a total pleasure for me. Not so much because of the nice recommendation of the three questions, but more because of the clarity and high level of his explanations of the positions. If you are looking for a private trainer, I think he teaches on Chess.com, which apparently is not just about Puzzle Rush… You can find him on Facebook here.

Remembering Playing 1.e4

December 6th, 2018 13 comments

If you want to know your opening repertoire well, you need time to memorise it. Some of it will make a lot of sense and some of it will be concrete, but counter-intuitive. Sometimes a line a tempo down is no worse, for example.

I just played a blitz game where I successfully remembered all of John’s analysis on the Alekhine, but ran out of time… As online blitz games have no relevance for the real world, I am still pleased by being able to get all the way to +-. After this I missed mate in four and lost on time in a totally winning position. But who cares…

The main reason I remembered the line, was because of an attractive shot in this position (did not really happen). Often these types of anchors and little nuggets of information helps us remember what comes before.

White to play. What is the strongest continuation?

Find the game here.

The Afek Masterpiece is finally out

November 28th, 2018 24 comments

Wow, we worked a lot on this book. I spent a decade pressuring Afek to write this book. We even had a contract that he asked to get out of. But finally it is here, the book I dreamt of. This is an obvious candidate from Quality Chess for book of the year.

I know that studies is not to everyone’s taste. What I like about Afek’s creation is that they both have the beauty of studies and the game-like feel I enjoy. Actually, Afek included a study we made together, based on my analysis of a game by a young Carlsen.

If you want to test yourself, I have a small problem for you here.

White to play and win (move 3 of a study)

You can find the solution to this problem in the last example of the PDF excerpt.

Beware – Tiger!

October 23rd, 2018 24 comments

Having had fun debating the Swiss system, let’s move on to something less contentious.

What is the strongest way forward here?

White to play!

I am going through a lot of games from the Olympiad at the moment and this one really caught my eye. See how author of The Modern Tiger improved his positions here.

And yes, I am going to continue to have opinions even if people buy our books…

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If you don’t buy Sam’s book, you may suffer the consequences!

October 12th, 2018 8 comments

Blogpost by Kallia Kleisarchaki

 

During the Batumi Olympiad 2018, Sam Shankland met across the board Rauf Mamedov, Azerbaijani GM. Rauf didn’t buy Sam’s book and I know! How? Well, he did exactly the kind of mistake Sam warned about in his book, Small Steps to Giant Improvement, proving once again that every chess player, regardless titles, can make simple mistakes that cost dearly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Sam explains in page 232 of his book, “…Black has advanced a7-a5, so White will not be able to play b3-b4. As such, white is condemned to have a pair of doubled pawns where the further-advanced one cannot be protected from another pawn.”

 

What kind of simple mistakes have you made and you still remember them?

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Super-Kevin!

July 18th, 2018 No comments

I saw that the excellent gentleman and highway robber in blitz Kevin Goh said a few nice things about me after making his last GM-norm.

JT: Was there a different approach you took towards this event and the previous other GM norm attempts you made during the barren years that made your chances better (preparation, mindset, living conditions etc)? 

Read more…

Congratulations Hans Tikkanen!

July 12th, 2018 60 comments

Quality Chess would like to congratulate, GM Hans Tikkanen, co-author of the soon-to-be published The Woodpecker Method

…on becoming Swedish Champion for the fifth time. 7/9 and a 2714 performance is mighty impressive! We’d love to tell you his victory was the result of pre-tournament Woodpecker training but, as far as we know, this was not part of his preparations. Still, the process of collecting and working through more than a thousand tactical puzzles for the book was evidently not bad for his chess. Take the following example from round 5, which would have made a perfect example in the book.

Jonny Hector – Hans Tikkanen
Ronneby 2018

Black has built up a dominating position with skilful middlegame play. His advantage should be enough to win by slow means, but there is one clear way to break through.

Read more…

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A civic arrest

July 8th, 2018 14 comments

While in New Delhi for a teaching camp, I came across a well known fugitive and immediately conducted a civic arrest. Read more…

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