Chess training day – Sunday 11th September

Aberdeen Chess Training

Sunday 11th September at Woodbank House

Starts at 11 am, finishing at 5.30 pm with breaks for refreshments and lunch Get ready for the new season with a day of chess training led by local chess trainer Hamish Olson. Hamish is an accomplished player and has an extensive chess knowledge which he enjoys sharing with other aspiring players. This year he acted as coach for Scotland’s Glorney Cup team and has spent the Summer playing chess in The Czech Republic. Thus he should have plenty of recent experiences to share. This event is aimed at players of all standards who wish to improve their play. Sessions will begin with elementary themes, building up to more advanced topics e.g.:

  1. Development of Pieces
  2. Review of some classic games
  3. Strategy and plans
  4. Analysis of selected games
  5. Tactics

There is no fee for the training itself but a charge of £7, payable on arrival, will cover the cost of pre-booked tea, coffee and biscuits for the participants. Please bring your own lunch. Alternatively sandwiches, food and drinks can be purchased at Woodbank House.  The event will be limited to 25 people.  Note that Woodbank House is a private venue and participants will need to have committed to participating by Thursday 8th September so that visitor passes can be prepared for pick up on the Sunday. There is free car parking at Woodbank House.

To book a place please complete the form below

Chess Training Weekend

On the weekend of the 6th-7th February Bon Accord chess club hosted a chess training weekend given by FIDE trainer Jonathan Grant at the Castlewood lodges in Strachan. There were approximately 19 participants with ratings ranging from around 1200 – 1900. About ⅓ of the participants were juniors, and the event attracted participants from Newmachar, Stonehaven and elsewhere, even a couple from Dundee.

Jonathan used a mixture of training techniques during the weekend. Mostly he would present interesting games or fragments on a demonstration board, and stop at critical moments to ask the audience questions relevant to the current position. At other times he would give out positions to work on individually or in teams, and then discuss the results with the whole group.

Jonathan at work
Jonathan at work (photo Ross Brennan)

The main things I took away from the session were:

  • Candidate moves – there was a tendency among all of the participants not to consider enough candidate moves when analysing positions. For some positions none of the considered the correct move! For example one of the exercises we worked on individually was the following position
Black to play and win
Kamsky – Svidler World Cup 2011 – Black to play and win

Here most people in the group thought the solution was 26…Qg3, and some saw that 27.Nc6 is met by 27…Re2 but no-one then noticed that after 28.Qc3 white is at least equal. In the game Peter Svidler found the marvellous 26…Re2! which wins after 27.Qxe2 Qg3, and also after 27.Qc3 Rxf2.

  • The principle of two weaknesses – on the second day we looked at the principle of two weaknesses where a player needs to create a second weakness in his opponent’s position in order to make progress. Here is one of the examples:
Botvinnik - Zagoriansky Sverdlovsk 1943 White to play
Botvinnik – Zagoriansky Sverdlovsk 1943
White to play

In this position black has played passively and has a weakness on d5, but white now somehow needs to create a second weakness in order to make progress. There were a lot of different suggestions here 25.b4, 25.e4, 25.Bg4, 25.Kh2, 25.Kh1 before the correct solution 25.g4 seeking to create a second weakness on the king side was suggested (Jonathan also thinks 25.h4 is a good move which no-one suggested).

Special thanks to Jonathan Grant for preparing some excellent training material, and presenting it in a very interesting manner, to Richard Jennings for organising the event and to Alison Smith who very kindly donated the use of the venue free of charge.