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  • Glenn Julich

Today I was in the process of trying to review some common traps for beginners so I can (1) avoid them and (2) look for opportunities to use them against opponents.  I was watching a great video by GM Varuzhan Akobian which was geared for beginners and in it, he covered two simple traps that black can fall into when playing the Queen's Gambit Accepted opening.  I wanted to share there here and document them for my future review.

First, just reviewing the Queen's Gambit Accepted.  Very simply, once you are at this position, this opening is called the Queen's Gambit Accepted:

I learned that there is a common trap here that black can fall into allowing white to win either a rook or a knight.  On turn three, white plays e3, allowing the bishop to attack black's pawn at c4.  The trap comes when black brins up pawns to support that pawn.  Here is the trap that results in a captured rook:

The second trap that can happen is if black brings a pawn up to support b5 by playing c6.  This results in white capturing a knight:

So there you have it... two very simple, very easy traps to set and watch out for.

  • Glenn Julich

In some of the chess books and videos I've enjoyed recently, I've noted a common reference to finding your individual chess hero.  From what I gathered, this would be someone whose games resonate with you and inspire your own decisions on the board.

As I am just now getting more serious with my chess study, I don't really have a chess hero at this time.  I really haven't yet studied enough games by the masters to discover someone whose tactics really speak to me.

So I wanted to create a simple and short post tonight and ask: Do you have a chess hero?  If so, who?  And why?  I'd really enjoy reading which players inspire my readers. 

(And since I don't have one... feel free to nominate one!) 

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  • Glenn Julich

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Every once in a while I come across something on the web about chess that makes me realize that the benefits of the game extend beyond our simple love of the game.

One such story that I came across was the recent blog posting by the Veterans Administration (VA) about the integration of chess into their service offerings at the Detroit VA Medical Center.

The Detroit VA started a Detroit veterans team, who call themselves the Checkmates. They meet weekly for practices and recently joined together in a tournament in Chicago.

Often, veterans are reluctant to ask for help.  The VA has been able to use the chess team to connect with veterans in a non-clinical setting and foster veteran-veteran connections as well for mutual support.   Their hope is that these connections will open the door for those who need help, but might not otherwise ask for it.

What a brilliant and heart-warming story! You can read the full story here: Click here for the full story.

What type of hidden benefits of chess have you stumbled across? If you have found one, please share it in the comments below!

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