Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chess Trap: The Blackburne-Shilling Gambit

One of the traps that is the most commonly seen is the Blackburne-Shilling Gambit. Legend says that the famous English master Joseph Henry Blackburne used to play it against amateurs in money games, thus the name. The main variation if the opponent falls for the trap ends up in a very nice looking smother's mate:

What makes this trap so easy to fall into is that the moves which are mistakes seem to be logical, but in fact are blunders. In most situations you would jump at the chance to take a free pawn or fork a queen or rook. When I was in second grade,  I was playing in the Washington State Elementary Chess Championships. I was undefeated going into the final round, and was facing a higher rated opponent. With the championships on the line and a trophy at stake, I did the logical ploy: play this trap.

The trap itself can be "refuted" in quite a few ways: 4. c3, 4. Nxd4, 4. 0-0...
But if you like playing tricky opening variations, or don't mind potentially playing a bit down position-wise, then you might want to try this trap against unsuspecting opponents.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book Review: Art of Attack in Chess, by Vladimir Vukovic

Although there has been many chess books that I have enjoyed, one of which that has made the biggest impression was Vladimir Vukovic's Art of Attack in Chess. Although it was first published in 1965, this book has remained a timeless classic. As signified by the title, the book is about attacking the king and attempting to checkmate it. It is divided up into 12 chapters, which each focus on different aspects or phases of the hunt. For example, chapter 7 is centered around executing the classic bishop sacrifice. The latest editions of the book are in algebraic notation, and the layout is very simple and clean. There are footnotes scattered in there, perhaps more often than I would like, that provide corrections to variations and other mistakes. The book is not written for beginners, but I would recommend it to basically everyone from class C all of the way up to expert level.
I will leave you with one of the games which he included in the opening chapter, with all annotations exactly as they are in the book. Please stay tuned for more posts like this!


Hello everybody! 
I am creating this blog to talk about one of my favorite hobbies: chess. I will be updating this often with more information, games, and much more. It is a work in progress, and I will try to keep on improving it as I go. My goal is to "experiment" with different study plans to see which ones work and which ones don't. Please subscribe for free to get updates on my path to improvement!