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  • Glenn Julich


So yesterday I had my second meeting with my chess coach.  To review, a few weeks ago I started taking my chess study more seriously and I have been documenting my journey here.  As an adult in my 40s, I know this is a little more challenging than if I started this process when I was much younger.  


The concept of "adult improvement" in the chess world is well-known and a well-documented challenge.  Many chess players and scientists have written about this concept, some of which I hope to explore in this blog.


My meeting yesterday with my coach was incredibly productive.  We started diving into some checkmate patterns that I need to learn to recognize much better than I do now.  This involved doing some puzzles together that demonstrated some of the specific patterns, and we focused specifically on the back-rank checkmate.


The second half of the meeting involved reviewing a game I recently played and (happily) won.  Having someone who is a much more accomplished chess player review my game with me and analyze my moves was incredibly helpful and enjoyable.  It is truly amazing how much I sometimes miss when it is staring me in the face!  But I'm learning.


So the study plan for this coming week will be to continue to work on puzzles from range 800 to 1000 and keep a count of how many I get right as I do them.  And he asked me to aim for somewhere between 3-5 games this week as well.


Today I set up the puzzles in learning mode so I could set the level (800 to 1000) and selected "all puzzles."  I'm tracking my performance in a spreadsheet: 





So I will continue to share this type of performance evaluation periodically so we can see if I'm making any progress.  The average over 5 day section obviously is blank now since there is no date, but that should be interesting to see as time progresses.


I will keep at it and together we will all see what happens.


Cheers.

  • Glenn Julich

Updated: Oct 7



As I mentioned in one of my previous postings, I decided to make the decision to start working with a real, human chess coach.  This is a big accomplishment for me.  I've thought about doing this for years, but I always felt like I had to better than I am before I hire a coach.  Finally, I realized that chess coaches are happy to help even patzers like me develop a stronger game.


I'll say, for his privacy, I won't mention who I am working with.  But if he reads this blog, he is welcome to introduce himself in the comments if he is comfortable doing so!


Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from my first meeting with my coach.  I imagine other players who have never hired a coach are in a similar position.  So let's jump into the details.


First, we just started off getting to know each other.  We shared a little bit about what we do, on and off the chessboard.  And we talked about what my goals are.  As I've written in past postings, my goal is not to become a grandmaster.  My goal is simply self-improvement.  I just want to have a stronger appreciation for the game.  I enjoy studying games of the great masters and I want to have a greater appreciation of those games than I have now.  Also, I'd like to see my Chess.com rating increase over the next year; hopefully hitting 1200 in the next year.


He then had me do some puzzles with him to see where I am with my appreciation of the board.  This was great; it clearly demonstrated some of my struggles with chess vision.  And finally, we did a quick game.  And, as we would all expect, I lost on turn 16!  I felt like the chimp in the picture and I had a good laugh.  We then did an analysis of the game together and I must say I picked up a lot of terrific pointers, just from this analysis alone.


So in sum, my first meeting with my coach was great.  Over the next week, I am going to explore some of the defensive black openings like The Sicilian and The French openings.  I will also continue to practice daily puzzles and continue to play games.  I feel I have a better focus on studying.  And I look forward to our next meeting.


If you love the game and want to get better, just jump in: hire a coach and get to work!

See you on the board.

  • Glenn Julich

Updated: Oct 7



Ugh.  You couldn't fry liver enough to make it taste good.  I grew up in the south, but I never developed a taste for liver.  


Anyways...


One of my last blog posts focused on my reviewing the Italian Game opening and a number of the various black responses that come into play.  From further reading, the Italian Game has three primary defenses black can play.  One of those defenses, the Hungarian Defense is played to prevent the Fried Liver Attack. So the Hungarian Defense is:


1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Be7


Here it is visually:


So it got me curious to learn about the Fried Liver Attack, which I found is rather common among beginning players (i.e., patzers like me).  The goal for white, when playing the Fried Liver Attack, is to sacrifice a Knight and really throw the black pieces into utter chaos.  White accomplishes this by moving his knight to g5 and double attacks the weak f7 pawn with his knight and bishop. Here is how the successful Fried Liver Attack would start:


1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Nxf7!


Visually: 


As you can see, white forces the black King to attack his Knight and loses his ability to castle and is also thrown out of the back rank and susceptible to all sorts of attacks.  


One of the best instructional videos I've found on the Fried Liver attack is done by GM Kaidanov. He does a fantastic job of breaking this down for patzers like me.


He makes a great observation that moving the knight a second time to g5 is really considered a premature attack. It violates one of the central tenets of an opening: to mobilize your pieces.  Not moving a piece twice!


Here is the link to this fantastic video: Kaidanov's Comprehensive Repertoire: Two Knights Defense with Liver!


Enjoy! And let me how this strategy has worked for you in games in the comment section.

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