Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Conquer Chessbase & Fritz with Free Tutorials & Resources

"The only true wealth is knowledge, and the only true expense is ignorance." - Confucius

ChessBase for Beginners
 Taming the Beast 
 Free Resources to Get You Started

Feeling intimidated by ChessBase? You're not alone!

This guide tackles the ChessBase learning curve head-on with a treasure trove of FREE resources - video tutorials, manuals, articles, and guides - all designed to get you up and running with this powerful chess software. Conquer ChessBase and take your chess game to the next level!

Chessbase Books

The ChessBase 15 manual  - 485 Page PDF   ---  Chessbase 15 Quickstart Guide - 8 Page PDF
The Chessbase 16 manual -  525 Page PDF    ---  Chessbase 16 QuickStart Guide - 20 Page PDF
The Chessbase 17 Maunal - 577 Page PDF

Fritz 19 Guide - 461 Page PDF
Fritz 18 Guide - 418 Page PDF

Chessbase Articles

Official Chessbase Site

Chessbase Magazine Lessons (With many helpful Chessbase Tips as well)
  • Studying openings with "Let's Check" and ChessBase Magazine It helps to get help when studying openings. The ChessBase "Let's Check" function offers a lot of help. It is a database with analyses made by other "Let's Check" users, often with top engines and powerful computers. "Let's Check" gives you access to these analyses and you can check, broaden, and sharpen your repertoire. Together with the ChessBase Magazine "Let's Check" is particularly powerful
  • Studying openings with the ChessBase Magazine, II: Creating a repertoire database - Shows how to create a repertoire database and how to import games from the ChessBase Magazine and other sources to your repertoire database to save a lot of time and effort.
  • Tactics training with the ChessBase Magazine -  With a regular tactics column and with interactive games with training tasks. Here's a brief guide on the tools available to help you improve your tactical acumen.
  • Strategy training with the ChessBase Magazine! - ChessBase Magazine regularly offers high-class training materials by top players and coaches — material that helps you to improve your strategic understanding. The following tutorial shows how to make the most of these training materials.

Chessbase Wiki - 36 Pages of Questions - Each Question w/ a link to a page with an answer & Diagrams .
(Lots Questions)

Chessbase Video Lessons


How to use Chessbase - GM Magesh Panchanathan - 63 Min - Pro Chess Trainingdemonstrates how to use Chessbase effectively and efficiently.

How to use chessbase - 12 Min - ChessGeek The tools shared in this video apply to chessbase 15 as well as chessbase 16.
Chessbase India
Creating a Repertoire
IM Lilit Mkrtchian (Videos made for Chessbase) Tips Fritz Chessbase Magazine How to Use Chessbase Magazine: Overview (for Beginners and Intermediates) - 21 Min I cover in this video: - How to read ChessBase magazine, digital edition. - How to look at games and analyses in Chessbase software. - Comparison of print and digital editions.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Checkmate the Algorithm: Brilliant Chess Channels Flying Under the Radar


Large wooden chess knight under glowing vintage lightbulb with YouTube play button filament, surrounded by floating binary code against a dreamy background
Much True wisdom lies not in the loudest voices,
 but in the quietest corners of the internet.

Hidden Gems
 Chess Channels You're Missing Out On

While the chess world on YouTube boasts some giants, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered. These channels offer extensive content and high-quality lessons , but their subscriber count doesn't reflect the value they provide.

Here are 10 fantastic YouTube channels led by chess masters that deserve a wider audience

1. Bad Bishop Chess Channel - FM  Aleksandar Randjelovic - : 5k Subscribers
  • English
  • 97 Videos  (Active)
  • 20+ Years as a Chess Teacher
  • Video Playlists Cover Openings, Positional Chess and Tactics 

2. Palm Beach Chess - NM Bryan Tillis: 16k Subscribers
  • English
  • 1,100 Videos (Active)
  • Instructor and Chessable Author
  • Video Playlists Covering Everything from Openings to Endgames. Lot's of Lesson's from famous Master Games. 

3. Chess Thinking! with NM Dan Heisman: 8.4K Subscribers
  • English
  • 367 Videos (Active)
  • Author of 13 Chess Books and Instructor for over 30 years
  • Lessons on all types of topics
  • Really Caters to the Beginner and Intermediate Player. But has Some advanced stuff as well.

4. U.S. Chess School]: 1.4K Subscribers
  • English
  • 237 Videos (Active)
  • Most of these Videos are 1 to 1.5 Hour long Lessons
  • Openings, Middlegame and Endgame Lessons (They cover it all)
  • These Lessons are Given by Top Chess Instructors
    GM Johan Hellston - Author of Several Top Chess Books and Chessable Courses
    GM Jesse Kraai and IM Kostva Kavutskiy - Chess Dojo Instructors and Chessable Authors
    GM Sam Shankland - Book and Chessable Author+ Many other Top IM's and GM's
  • I would say most of the stuff here falls into the Intermediate and Advanced Lessons.

5. Robert Plunkett's Chess Lab: 3.5K Subscribers
  • English
  • 382 Videos (Active)
  • NM with over 20 Years of Chess Coaching
  • Lot of Great Openings Playlists - Many Interesting easy to digest Lessons on many Chess topics

6. GM Max Illingworth: 2.6K Subscribers
  • English
  • 502 Videos (Active)
  • Mostly 10-15 Min Videos Covering a Game w/ Analysis and a Lessons Learned on a certain topic from that game.

7. Molton - GM Moulthun Ly: 14.8K Subscribers
  • English
  • 222 Videos (Not- Active)
  • 10-60 Min Videos
  • Openings Videos w/ Many Game Analysis Videos
  • From Beginner to Advanced Lessons

8. GM Irina Krush: 22.9K Subscribers
  • English
  • 49 Videos (Active)
  • Many Videos on just a certain Chess Concept w/ some games Analyzed showing that concept.

9. GM Josh Friedel: 2.86K Subscribers
  • English
  • 34 Videos (Active)
  • Chess Coach and Chessable Author
  • 30 Min Video Lessons geared to Beginner and Intermediate Players. (Really nice Lessons)
  •  "Don't let the subscriber count fool you - GM Josh Friedel's concise video lessons are pure chess gold!"

10. GM Talks - GM Sune Berg Hansen
 8k Subscribers
  • English
  • Building strong chess fundamentals, with a particular emphasis on Pawn structures like the Carlsbad and Queen's Gambit.
  • Delivered by a highly decorated chess player (7-time National Champion and Danish National Team Coach), GM Sune Berg Hansen uses his enthusiasm and clear explanations to make even complex chess concepts accessible to viewers.
  • 346 + Videos (Not much recent stuff but some amazing Lessons that are 2hr+ in length)
  • Beginner, Intermediate, w/ some really Advanced Topics and Deep-Dives here as well

The world of chess learning on YouTube is vast!

Have you stumbled upon any other hidden gem channels offering fantastic chess lessons?

Share the links in the comments below! Whether it's a brilliant opening instructor or a master of endgame tactics, let's help each other expand our chess knowledge.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Latvian Gambit: A Double-Edged Sword for Aggressive Players C40

An abstract chess-themed artwork featuring the Morning Star (Auseklis) and traditional Latvian geometric patterns. The image uses deep red and white tones inspired by the Latvian flag, creating a vibrant interplay between chess elements and Latvian motifs. This artwork accompanies a post on the Latvian Gambit.
"There are two types of sacrifices: correct ones and mine." - Mikhail Tal

Animated GIF showcasing the opening moves of the Latvian Gambit chess opening. White opens with king's pawn (e4), Black counters with king's pawn (e5). White develops the knight (Nf3), and Black sacrifices a pawn with f5.
A King's Gambit! Wait, I'm Black.

Sacrifice a pawn, Win the Game (Maybe)
 Your Guide to the Latvian Gambit

Key Ideas of the Latvian Gambit

The Latvian Gambit is a daring opening for Black, sacrificing a pawn (f5) early on to gain rapid development and control of the center. This gambit aims to create an imbalanced position where Black hopes to exploit tactical opportunities before White can fully consolidate their advantage.

However, the gambit comes with inherent risks:

  • Black Starts a Tempo Behind: Compared to White's development, Black falls behind slightly due to the pawn sacrifice. This gives White valuable time to formulate a safe response.
  • White's Potential Attack: Accepting the gambit with 3. Nxe5 exposes Black's king and opens the h-file for a potential White attack (4. Qh5+).
  • Black's Queen Development: Defending the f5-pawn often forces Black to move the queen early, hindering the development of other pieces.

White's Response: Exploiting Weaknesses

White has several ways to respond to the Latvian Gambit, all aiming to exploit the weaknesses created by f5:

  • Accepting the Sacrifice (3. Nxe5): This is considered the most challenging response for White. Here, lines like 3...Qf6 4. d4 or 3...Nc6 4. Nc3 often leave White with a comfortable advantage.
  • Refusing the Gambit (e.g., 3. Bc4): Here, White declines the pawn sacrifice and focuses on developing their pieces, aiming to maintain a positional edge.

Black's Compensation: Potential Advantages

While the gambit carries risks, Black isn't without potential advantages:

  • Rapid Development: The f5-pawn advance forces open lines, allowing Black to develop their pieces quickly and put pressure on White's center.
  • Central Control: Black aims to gain control of the central squares (d4 and e5) which can restrict White's piece mobility and create strategic pressure.
  • Tactical Opportunities: The gambit disrupts the typical opening flow and can lead to sharp, tactical positions where Black might find unexpected opportunities to attack.

Latvian Gambit Wikipedia Page
History w/ Most all of Whites Reply's

Latvian Gambit Articles

Delve into the theory, history, and key variations of the Latvian Gambit.

Latvian Gambit Opening Guide for White & Black - Chessable Guide -  This Chessable guide explores strategies and key variations for both White and Black players. (Theory & Lines)

The Latvian Gambit | Chess Openings for Tactical Players - GM Gregory Serper - Nice article where he shows a couple ways white can get an advantage and a couple of Blacks plans all from famous games being analyzed.

Latvian Gambit | The Refutation - GM Avatik Gregoriyan -  This in-depth article by GM Gregoriyan dives into refuting the Latvian Gambit, with strategy analysis and video explanations. (Refutation Strategies & Video Lesson)

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Ne5 Qf6 4.d4 d6  5.Nd3 
ChessMood Refutation Line

Latvian Gambit LiChess Studies

LiChess Studies offer interactive training grounds to solidify your grasp of the Latvian Gambit's intricacies. Here are some valuable studies to explore:

  • Latvian Gambit: Opening Theory - 40 Chapter Study -This in-depth study delves into the opening's main lines, explores various variations, and showcases A bunch of Model games from IM Miodrag Perunovic for both White and Black. (Comprehensive Theory & Variations) 

  • Latvian Gambit - 9 Chapter Study -This study provides clear explanations of different Latvian Gambit lines, highlighting several opening traps to be aware of. (Line Explanations & Trap Awareness)

  • Latvian Gambit Refuted? - 8 Chapter Study This study focuses on refuting the gambit for White players. It delves into the best lines against each of Black's potential plans.(White Refutation Strategies)

New to LiChess Studies? These interactive tools allow you to explore chess concepts and variations move-by-move. You can test your understanding, solidify your learning, and deepen your knowledge of the Latvian Gambit.

Games Databases

Take your Latvian Gambit knowledge to the next level! Explore these online databases to analyze real-life games featuring the Latvian Gambit and witness how it unfolds in practice:



Latvian Gambit Puzzles on LiChess

LiChess offers a treasure trove of puzzles specifically designed for the Latvian Gambit. Here's a breakdown of what you can find:

LiChess Opening Puzzles 

  • Latvian Gambit - 929 Puzzles  Dive into a massive pool of puzzles encompassing the entire Latvian Gambit spectrum. Test your skills against a variety of lines and sharpen your tactical vision.

Specific Variation Puzzles: For targeted practice, explore puzzles dedicated to specific Latvian Gambit variations:

Latvian gambit Video Lessons

Learn from chess masters in video tutorials that explain the Latvian Gambit's key ideas and strategies.

GM Boris Alterman Gambit Guide

IM Miodrag Perunovic (The Butcher)

Latvian Gambit | Aggressive Play in the King's Knight Opening | Gambits | IM Andrey Ostrovskiy - 15 Min - In-depth analysis and explains the gambit’s key ideas, potential pitfalls, and best responses, various lines and tactics that can arise from this opening, emphasizing the importance of piece activity and central control.

Learn the Latvian Gambit in 10 Minutes - 10 Min - ChessGeek - Learn how to respond to common defenses from your opponent, as well as how to take advantage of any weaknesses or mistakes they may make 
Chess Openings: Learn to Play the Latvian Gambit! - 8 Min - Chess Giant - I recommend this chess opening to aggressive, club level players up to an 1800 ELO.

Chess Opening For Black Against 1.e4 | Latvian Gambit | KING'S GAMBIT FOR BLACK - 18 min - Coach Kestony - The video discusses various responses from white, including Nxe5, exf5, and d3, and explores black’s potential moves in response.

White best Defense 

  • The Latvian Gambit (Never Lose to it Again!) - 16 Min - Hanging pawns - A very aggressive and unsound opening for black, with which black tries to blow white off the board in a couple of moves. I've made this video to give you everything you need to make sure that never happens!

  • Chess Openings - How to refute the Latvian Gambit - 12 min - IM Christof Sielecki -  Comprehensive guide on refuting the Latvian Gambit in chess, focusing on key moves and strategies. It emphasizes the importance of understanding one effective line against the gambit to gain an advantage.

Game Videos w/ Analysis

Finegold Once Said "Never Play F5" | Latvian Gambit | A GM Naroditsky Theory Speed Run - 50 min -  15 Min Rapid game deferred Latvian gambit, Great Lesson on how to play against the Latvian gambit.

An Amazing Latvian Gambit Game | David Moody vs Les LeRoy Smith: Michigan Open 1982 - 3 Min - Chess School

PGN Database


Latvian Gambit and
Elephant Gambit
1442 games
1.e4 e5 2.Knightf3 f5, d5

Monday, May 27, 2024

Black Lion Defense: A Surprise Weapon for Aggressive Chess Players

A regal black lion surveys its territory from atop a pedestal draped in a Union Jack flag. Chess pieces are strewn on the ground nearby.
"Our flanks are exposed, our center is wavering – in that situation stand firm!"

Unleash the Black Lion:
A Dynamic Weapon for Black in Chess

The Black Lion Defense: 

  • Variation of Philidor Defense: The Black Lion is an aggressive sub-line of the Philidor Defense employed against the common 1. e4 opening by White.

  • Dynamic and Unorthodox: This defense offers Black a chance to fight for the center and launch a kingside attack, deviating from more reserved approaches.

  • Step-by-Step Sequence: The opening sequence involves developing knights, placing the black bishop on d7, and eventually pushing pawns to e5, h6, and potentially g5 to create attacking chances.

  • Strengths:
    • Challenges White's central control.
    • Offers flexibility in strategy and tactics.
    • Provides a dynamic and surprising weapon for Black.
  • Weaknesses:
    • Requires understanding positional concepts and active analysis.
    • Less common than other openings, leading to fewer resources for study.
    • Decision-making during the middle game can be challenging for beginners.
  • Suitability:
    • A fun and exciting option for players seeking alternatives to standard defenses against 1. e4.
    • Accessible for beginners due to the clear opening sequence.
    • Effective against various White opening strategies.

      Bishop's Bounty Philidor Main Page

BOOKS & Courses (Free)

Short & Sweet: Black Lion Free Chessable Course - 24 Trainable Lines w/1 hr Video - GM Simon Williams
  • In a mere 24 variations, you can learn how to play this Line which is fierce to face and rich in tactics. The Black Lion avoids castling and aims to checkmate White on the Kingside from the get-go. You are a predator and you are on the hunt.

Black Lion Articles

LiChess Studies

  • The Black Lion - 4 Chapter Study (114 hearts) - Explore the Black Lion variation, a dynamic sub-line of the Philidor Defense, with a few model games for practical application.

New to Lichess studies? These interactive tools allow you to explore chess concepts and variations move-by-move, perfect for testing your understanding and deepening your knowledge.

Games Databases

Unleash the Black Lion by delving into real chess battles! Explore these game databases to find high-quality games featuring the Black Lion and related variations:




Sharpen your tactical skills specifically for the Black Lion Defense with these puzzle collections:

LiChess Openings Puzzles

Black Lion Video Lessons

The Lion Defense (Played Right) - 52 Min - G
M Max Illingworth - introduces the Philidor Defense as a solid response to 1.e4. He discusses the traditional move order and its drawbacks, suggesting an alternative approach to avoid common issues. The video covers the Antoshin variation, the Black Lion move order, and strategic ideas for both sides. Slingworth emphasizes the importance of move order, development, and pawn structure in the Philidor Defense, providing insights into how to play it effectively.

Hanham Variation of the Philidor Defense - 24 Min - Hanging Pawns 
- in-depth analysis of the Hanham Variation of the Philidor Defense in chess. The presenter, Stepan, discusses the key ideas behind the variation, its transpositional nature, and the main lines that can arise from it. He emphasizes the importance of understanding the lion variation, which is a common transposition, and the critical move orders that lead to it.

The most DECEIVING opening? The BLACK LION chess opening! -  7 min - ChessGeek
goes over the black lion opening, one of the most deceiving openings there are. You start in a very passive setup, but quickly and powerfully transition into a massive attack on your opponent.

Philidor LION Variation for Black | Advanced Chess Theory | Bortnyk 
- 8 Min - Delve into the key ideas and strategies behind the aggressive Philidor Lion Variation for Black. Presenter Bortnyk analyzes common lines and critical pawn structures that arise from this dynamic sub-line of the Black Lion.

How To Play The Black Lion - Quickstarter Jedi Guide - 13 Min - FM James Canty III:
A comprehensive guide explaining move order, key pawn structures (like the fianchettoed bishop and the pawn chain on d6 and e5), and strategic objectives (like castling quickly and launching a kingside attack) for beginners new to the Black Lion.

Dirty Chess Tricks 22 (Larobok Shock for Philidor/Black-Lion Defense) - 
27 Min - Chess tricks against Philidor Defence, Chess tricks against Black Lion, Dirty chess tricks to win fast, Chess tricks to win fast for white

Chess Openings : A gambit system vs Philidor defence - Lion variation  - 4 Min (Analysis of a GM game)

The Black Lion Opening's Pawn Structure and Pieces Placement Ideas -
 13 Min - main focus is on its typical pawn structure and piece placement for both sides.

Black Lion Series

 NM Sean Lei
Simon Williams - The Black Lion - An aggressive version of the Philidor Defense
 - 18 Min - GM Simon Williams

Learn the Black Lion Opening: In Five simple stages - 23 Min - GM Simon Williams -
Master the five essential elements for playing the exciting Black Lion opening in this beginner-friendly video. GM Williams breaks down concepts like developing your pieces efficiently, controlling the center squares, and preparing for a quick pawn storm on the kingside.

Chess Stream #74 Black Lion Q+A - 57 Min - GM Simon Williams - answering questions and demonstrating key ideas. The Black Lion is a response to 1.e4, aiming for an exciting, aggressive setup against the King’s Pawn opening. The host shares his journey of discovering the Black Lion and emphasizes its potential for launching a strong kingside attack.

Chess Openings: Learn to Play the Black Lion Defense! - 20 Min - Chess Giant - Learn the concepts and plans and not theory.

Chess Stream #43 Live Lesson with YayBjorn. A masterclass in the Black Lion! - 1.5hr

How to Fight Against The Black Lion!! - 21 Min - IM Perunovic -
discusses strategies to counter the Black Lion opening, a variation of the Philidor Defense, emphasizing the importance of controlling the center and light squares.

Smithy's Opening Survey #2: The Black Lion / Philidor - 
16 Min - SmityQ - A look at the basic ideas of the Black Lion set-up in the Philidor, plus some suggestions to get Black off his automatic play-without-thinking plan.

Game Videos w/ analysis


The Black Lion Defense is FUN! Subscriber Game Analysis 2x03 - 11 Min - Chess Giant 

A Brutal Tactic Against the Philidor Defense: Hanham, Lion Variation - 4 min - Jozarov's Chess Channel

Standard Chess #193: IM Bartholomew vs. vperboy (Philidor Defense) - 39 Min - 
In the Hanham Philidor (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nf6 4.Nc3 Nbd7) Black develops quietly in hopes of later counteracting White's central advantage. Here Black experiences problems after 12.Nf5 Bf8 13.Bg5, and blitzing out his moves does not help him find a viable defense!

Kingscrusher (Blitz Games)

GM Simon Williams (Black Lion Games)