Improve your chess tactics! In this course, GM Ronen Har-Zvi tackles one of the most important parts of the game: Tactics. Har-Zvi approaches the topic from a beginner and intermediate player’s perspective: everyone will be able to enjoy, learn and improve watching these videos.
All of us have at least once asked ourselves the typical questions:
- What is a tactic in chess?
- Why are tactics one of the most important pieces of knowledge you need to play chess?
- How can you spot tactics in a game?
- How do you take advantage of chess tactics in your games?
Ronen is here to answer our queries, by guiding us – with many interesting examples – through the basics of chess tactics, such as double-attacks, forks, pins, and how to use material to create tactics. Next, he moves on to more complicated themes, such as intermediate moves, double threats, and more!
Ronen Har-Zvi starts by demonstrating how to take advantage of undefended pieces and the double attack – where you create two threats at the same time.
If you have loose pieces spread over the board for too many moves in a row, you’re bound to suffer from your opponent’s tactics.
In this lesson, GM Har-Zvi guides you to learn the thinking processes that lead to spot tactics on the board and take advantage of the chances offered by the position. As Ronen says: everyone blunders, even Carlsen, and a good player must be able to spot it and punish it. How? By using tactics, of course!
Ronen illustrates another basic idea in the tactics realm: the discovered attack. As he says, when there is an open file, and a piece – or the Queen – is potentially under attack, it’s like when you see a red dot hovering over your chest.
Nobody has pulled the trigger yet, but you need to pay attention! Attacking a piece by a discovered check leads to win material, and often the game. Again, it’s important to recognize the patterns which lead to these advantageous situations, and once you get familiar with the patterns, you can find ways to create positions on the boards which will help you use the tactics Ronen is teaching you in this amazing show.
Removing the Defender
One of the most important parts of tactics in chess is the removal of the defender. When we realize that there is a chance to gain material, we need to study the position carefully, and understand if there is a possibility to use tactics to remove a defender – even apparently sacking an important piece – and win a piece, or even the whole battle.
The pin is one of the most powerful weapons we can use over the board. Ronen classifies the pins into three different categories: absolute pin, relative pin and pin on a square. In this episode of his Tactics for Everyone show, Indiana-Jones shows us how to use this important resource, which can really be decisive during a game.
It’s not about BBQ, no. You’re right though: a “skewer” is a long pin of wood or metal for inserting through meat or other food to hold or bind it in cooking. But in chess it has a slightly different meaning: a skewer (or X-ray attack) is an attack upon two pieces in a line and is similar to a pin.
In fact, a skewer is sometimes described as a “reverse pin”; the difference is that in a skewer, the more valuable piece is in front of the piece of lesser or equal value, and is not able to defend it. It’s another important weapon that every chess player should master; in this episode, Ronen shows us a lot of examples, especially of rook endings, where the skewer becomes a powerful piece of winning tactics.
The Board has got 64 Squares!
You see a nice move, a move that’s very tempting. Well, you have two possibilities: 1) Play the move quickly, bang on the clock and run jumping around, like you had just scored a goal in Barcelona vs. Real Madrid; 2) THINK. Yes, think carefully about what you’re going to move, what your opponent will reply, and the consequences of your “brilliant move”.
It is a matter of changing one’s approach to the board: we often see good moves in the short-range, forgetting that the board is quite large, with 64 squares full of tricks and possibilities. As Ronen says, the great World Champion Emanuel Lasker said one of the most important – and famous – truths in chess history: when you see a good move, look for a better one!
What is your opponent threatening?
“I have only two words: Game 6!” – Ronen refers to the World Championship Match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand. In game 6, neither of the two incredibly strong opponents saw what the other was threatening over the board.
In this interesting episode of his Tactics for Everyone series, Ronen shows us how important it is to understand what your opponent threatens before you make your next move. It might sound like a very simple concept, that every chess player already knows… but it’s not exactly as you may think. Watch the video and let Ronen guide you through this important topic.
Most of us see checkmate as the “romantic” part of chess. It is the adventurous and audacious ones that are able to sacrifice pieces, even the Queen!, to checkmate the enemy King. But Ronen shows us how this is not the way to master this important part of our tactical knowledge; it’s all about patterns.
When you are able to recognize patterns, you don’t have to think about what comes next: you actually see the checkmate on the board, and just go for it. There are a limited number of patterns – if compared to the almost infinite possible positions that happen during a chess game – and this makes it possible to learn at least the most common ones. Back-rank mates, bishop mates, smothered mates, and other common patterns are the subject of this interesting and formative video.
King in the Center
The enemy’s King hasn’t castled yet. Good! Let’s keep it stuck in the center of the board, and then… attack! In this video, GM Ronen “Indiana-Jones” Har-Zvi makes us aware of the importance of castling.
When the King is stuck in center, there are tactics patterns that can lead to immediate victory or, in some cases, to an overwhelming material advantage. The key-words, in this particular case, are “open files”.
Rooks, Bishops and, of course, the Queen, work together on open files to threaten the King that cannot castle. Don’t miss this brilliant tactics lesson!
Defending with Advanced Tactics
We see tactics as a weapon to attack, win material, destroy our enemy’s formation. But what about being able to use tactics to defend? You know, when you are on the brink of defeat, your opponent has mate in one, the position looks totally lost. Well, that’s the exact moment to check for tactics!
Forcing moves, sacrifices and everything we have learned with Ronen so far can become an important resource to pull ourselves out of trouble. In this very interesting video, GM Ronen Har-Zvi uses some advanced tactics to illustrate how an apparent defeat can be overthrown by using the powerful “tricks” of tactics.
Many times we find ourselves analyzing a position on the board and thinking, it’s a draw, I can’t find anything that would give me an advantage here. Well, sometimes there is a little and “hidden” move that can turn the table.
It’s the famous intermediate move, an in-between move that can make the difference. With these two videos on this important part of tactics GM Ronen introduces us into the almost-magic world of the intermediate moves.
What’s the most beautiful, stylish and, why not, romantic way to win a chess game? Yes, you’re right: sacrificing the Queen to checkmate the enemy King! In this episode of his Tactics for Everyone show, GM Ronen Har-Zvi guides us through this amazing piece of theory in the tactics department.
As usual, it’s a matter of patterns; when we learn to recognize the patterns, everything seems to fit perfectly over the board. By showing puzzles from famous games and problems he created, Ronen teaches us how to spot the patterns and, with the supreme and elegant sacrifice, win the game.