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ccmcacollister 126 ( +1 | -1 )
Chess SECRETS ... "shhh!" Not too Loud, we don't want this spread around. Cuz Everyone Know, REAL Chess Secrets are NEVER given away for FREE. Not the really good stuff, right? Usually paid for with cold hard Coaching Cash or tears and losses to learn a new secret. (Which are never really NEW either, just new to Us at some time)
Well this is no different, because if you come here to read up on some Chess Secrets, its only right that you should then put the brain in gear, assume an attitude of sacrifice, and part with some hard earned Secret of your own, to share here with others. And everyone should know Something that is still a Secret to Someone. So give it your best shot please, to contribute even one or two after you have drank deep of the wisdom of others, in this thread ...
I will give out a few items I've picked up, after pondering it a bit more. And hope that others will contribute towards making this a really interesting thread.
And how about this as well ... Is there some bit of a secret you have sought and been denied? Then perhaps someone can give you an answer here. Might be worth a try, eh?
ccmcacollister 37 ( +1 | -1 )
A short one ... Seeming extremely longwinded tonight, the following experiment in restraint; a very short post!
1) IF you put your opponent in a position in which they are uncomfortable, whether due to feeling they do not understand it, fear it, or especially that they find it stylistically distasteful, insulting, or a particularly disgusting way to play Chess; your winning chances increase Dramatically !

ccmcacollister 133 ( +1 | -1 )
What LUCK !! 2) Why are some player so Lucky!? What causes it?
Take a young Master and call them Paul. Give them an almost Expert Class A player
in an otb tournament, that plays thru a highly tactical game and twenty more moves into an even ending; then suddenly he drops a Knight. Inexplicable from the position. Someone notes, How can Paul be so LUCKY that this has happened to him
in every one of his last three tournaments ?!
Where does such LUCK come from? In the case of the young Master, it comes from
having kept their opponent under such sustained pressure and mental stress thruout the course of the game, that finally at some point their opponent then
"cracks", is the word I use to describe it. And it happens for him much too often to be Luck.
{I think Fischer was describing a similar event when he stated that he liked to see the point where an opponents Ego cracked. I suspect that occurs just after the
blunderous type move of a pressure crack. Tho at that level it may also be where they realize that the position they thought was okay never was. !? Suppose? There in essence realizing their prior 'blunder', and perhaps even yet not knowing just where it was!? :) ...}
ccmcacollister 85 ( +1 | -1 )
How can I ever Remember this opening ? !! Now that you are a correspondence player; it is simple and requires almost no effort on your part. Only a little Work, a little bit at a time.
3) To have your game indelibly impressed upon your brain for years to come, simply
go thru the game from move 1 to the current position each time before you move in a correspondence game. You will not only remember it, but have the added benefit of knowing the position you are playing from is the Correct one if you happen to be setting up on a real board each time.
If you do not start to remember it right away by this method, go slower and recall
Why you made each move as you go thru. This should do it. And is also a good means to learn to remember any subvariations within it, that you wish to.
It is possible to learn 50 or more games at a time this way, that you are playing.
ccmcacollister 106 ( +1 | -1 )
What is Tal LOOKING AT ?! 4) Is Tal really hypnotizing his opponents as he looks in their eyes during the game?
Well I dont know about That. But something he IS doing is gaining a lot of useful information about What and Where on the board they thinking. This is especially useful during Time Pressure. Often seeing where an opponent is analysing at an otb board will tip you off to some tactic They are looking at that you might have missed. And can even tell you what they may be thinking of doing, if you have the experience to see the potentials that are there beneath their stare. The Eyes Are the windows to the soul, and a lot combinations too :)
Besides that, some opponents will even give out Poker-like "Tells" of mannerism, posture, or expression. I once asked one if he decided to trade that center pawn, at adjournment. Which made him laugh and ask How did I know ?! Simply that we played a few games before & Steve would scratch his nose before trading in the center ... Be alert, your opponent may be trying to tell you something!
ccmcacollister 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Who's next? We need some more Secrets !!!
ganstaman 50 ( +1 | -1 )
well, not really a secret anymore but related to #4, I have tried to throw my opponents off by looking at certain areas of the board. I try to misdirect their gaze away from the real action, hoping they'll miss what I saw. They just can't help but follow your stare! I don't know if it's ever actually worked (maybe they really just missed the tactic on their own), but it raises your confidence when you apparently pull off something sneaky.

And, good thread so far. Hope it stays interesting.
ganstaman 192 ( +1 | -1 )
opening practice Ok, I'll give it a shot. Should I keep up with the numbering system? If so:

5) The more you play a position from both sides of the board, the better you will get at playing it from each side of the board.

I think an example explains what that means best. I used to love facing the French Defense (1. e4 e6) as white. I thought that the space advantage and initiative on the kingisde that white got was absolutely devastating. And black's c8-bishop was trapped in and useless, it was as if he were a piece down from the start. I played over many of Nimzo's games as white vs the French and loved the way he embarrassed the player with the black pieces.

Then I noticed that Nimzo played the black side of the French quite a bit. I was shocked -- how can you play an opening that you rip apart on a regular basis? Well, I decided to gvie the French a try myself, and I'm loving it. It's much more solid than I believed, and the attacking chances the black player gets are real.

And since I've played it so much as white, I can play it better as black. I know what white is planning and where white's strengths and weaknesses are. I can defend better since I've been the attacker. Similarly, I play the white side of the French better now, too. I know a lot more about black's resources and how to get the win anyway. So playing the French from both sides of the board has greatly helped me play it from either side of the board.

If there's an opening you don't like to see and don't know how to handle, but you know it to be sound, then try it from the other color. You'll get a much better idea of what's going on. When you're forced to play one side of it, you really get an idea of what needs to be defended (what can be attacked from the other side) and how the attack can be carried out (what has to be defended from the other side). Your whole perspective changes when you change seats, and you'll be amazed at all the new stuff you've never saw before.
ccmcacollister 136 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks ganstaman! Good one, I've found the same to be very true for me too. Here is something for tournament play that yours brought to mind when you mentioned 'both sides' too.
6) For some players, when your game reaches an important point, it may avail you to take a little stroll over to 'the other side' of the board and come view it as if a spectator from your opponents view of the pieces. I find that often I will see something looking from that side of the board that I might not have considered. Usually for me it's some aggressive resource of his since I tend to see 'outgoing' moves better than 'incoming'. Another aspect that may be a factor ... it has been suggested that just Standing-Up can increase thinking speed up to 15%, possibly something to do with the old fight/flight reflexes or the elevation of metabolism. In either case, "thinking on your feet" may give an edge. (Look at those Simul Guys that are Always Winning so much !! ... }B-)
PS// It is ALSO said that the brain will operate best in a 48F environment [about 9C ], SO if one were to stroll outside to view the opponents position thru the window .... and it is also a good place to practice ones bad personal habits, plus your adrenaline level increases when you find they have locked me out ... er, YOU I mean.
wschmidt 217 ( +1 | -1 )
My own personal puzzle book 6) This is something I just started doing, but I'm excited about it so I'll share. I've been going back to my very first GK games and having Fritz analyze the games overnight at 2 minutes per move set at a .50 deviation. In other words, I get an alternative line whenever Fritz thinks I've made mistake worth half a pawn or more.

I go through the game and at each point where I've made such a mistake I copy the board diagram into a word document. Then I insert the relevant moves below the diagram* and PRESTO! I have a page of my own personal puzzle book illustrating a tactical error or a serious positional oversight. In a few cases where I simply can't figure out what Fritz is getting at I include the position anyway, figuring maybe by reviewing the position over time it will come to me.

It's incredible how much one can see in one's games by doing this, at least at my level. Even in the games I win, I often see major tactical oversights, ways I could have mated more quickly, positional nuances I missed and mistakes I made that my opponent didn't pick up on. The nice thing about the exercise is that it zeroes in on the types of mistakes that I'm making personally - for example, I may never miss a back-rank mate opportunity , but regularly have trouble with middle of the board combinations - so those will be the things that show up in the collection.

One could do a simpler version of this by just going through the analyzed Fritz games and making a list of the points where the .50 point deviations occur and revisiting them regularly. I like the idea of actually printing out the pages because then it's something I can take with my away from the computer.

* Technical note if you're thinking about trying this - The only way I've found to print out the key move and variation for this task is to copy the entire game, paste it below the diagram and then cut the excess. It's quick enough to do and I just haven't found a way to get the text of just a limited number of moves and variations into the clipboard from Fritz. If anyone knows how, I'd be pleased to learn.
mattdw 28 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt It's funny that you should mention using your own analysed games to create you own chess puzzles as I am doing exactly the same thing! I haven't got long to explain how I do it specifically (but it is almost identical!) so I will save that for this evening when I get back.
ccmcacollister 56 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt Thanks for the contribution! Another great idea.
I am wondering if the PGN-to-FEN conversion program might help you with that? As I dont know if you saw it in the forums here, in the thread of GK Forums where
the announcement was made that diagrams can now be put in forum threads, in a
hyperlink to it posted there by, um that guy from California I think, who is such a computer whiz and kinda looks like Sly Stallone?! You know who I mean, right? :)
I would have just linked it to here, but am on a different browser setup today than then and cant get to it from here .... }8-(
wschmidt 42 ( +1 | -1 )
Craig, It's not the diagram that's causing me extra steps. It's isolating nad then copying the two or three lines of moves from the Fritz pgn while I'm still in Fritz. Right now I'm copying the entire pgn from Fritz, pasting into the Word doc and then cutting most 0f the game, before and after the moves related to the diagram. It's a minor matter, but it involves a couple of steps that I'd skip if I could figure out how to do so. ws
spurtus 135 ( +1 | -1 )
Not secrets but useful things I hope...

7) Know that knights take several moves to attack the squares that are diagonally distant fromt he knight by two squares. And remember to check even if they can make this journey and what implications of this are.

And know that landing on a square on the knights first diagonal means that the knight can attack the piece next move.

And know that landing on a square adjacent but non diagonal means that the knight cannot attack it next move.

8) Improve your efficiency at the board... understand forcing play first ( threats and sacs ) ,then find best move, finally try to find better move. Repeat as required.

9) Pawns in their starting position are in their strongest formation, resist the temptation to move them when faced by a pawn charge.

10) The presense of bishops in fianchetto are sometimes overlooked, try a double fianchetto and you'll soon see somebody overlooking one of them.

11) Knights cant protect each other, and tread on each others toes.

12) Bishop moves backwards are the hardest to see sometimes.

13) When you have the foresight to see that you have lost, play a strong but complicating move now this is the best time to offer a draw... as your opponent might not be able to calculate it.
ccmcacollister 114 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Spurtus! Knights also ... 14) ...will in general find a Rook Pawn to be the hardest to stop from advancing. Remember this if you get into a knight ending because it wins a lot of games. You like to have a Rook pawn passed if you can.
Here is a game with a good player & friend at GK, that I found it almost impossible to win without utilizing that idea ...even tho I have an Extra N for one pawn! It was necessary to trade the extra knight to make a Rook pawn passer to win this. I saw no other way as of move 27 when the last Rook came off. board #1371265
NEXT: Please stop here and Try this quick & easy Exercise and you will save some games! Put the WT pieces thusly: WT= Nc1, Kh8 and the others: BL=Kc3, Pc2
Now, your task is to win for BL by promoting the pawn to a Queen without losing the pawn/Queen. With either side to move first. But if WT moves first he must make a King move to drop a tempo so it is BL to move. (To move the N first would be a blunder, not proper play. So give it a try and I'll come back to this after bit here.)
ccmcacollister 51 ( +1 | -1 )
... continued. So as you see from the last post ...
15) From the right position a Lone Knight can hold off a passed pawn AND its King, even without his own monarch nearby!
He only needs his own King to be able to drop tempos at times, and the pawn can have no future glory. EG 1.Kb2 Nd3+ 2.Kc3 Nc1 3.Kd2 Nb3+ 4.Kd3 Nc1 5.Kd2 Nb3+
6.Kd1 K-move 7.K-move Nc1 ... etc. There is no headway against proper defense. & some of the Knight moves may be replaced by K-moves if it is not attacked. It matters not. Whenever/if ever pawn to c1=Q then the faithful servant will be in position to play NxQd1 ! :)
ionadowman 134 ( +1 | -1 )
A classic technique, Craig - A motif that ought to be in anyone's repertoire. It's surprising how often the idea crops up. My very last OTB tournament game featured a knight attempting to halt a passed pawn in similar fashion, but fortunately I had a knight of my own to winkle the enemy off the queening square.
Just how resourceful a knight can be was featured in this ending, played last year on GK:
It looks all up for Black. Although he picks up the g-pawn at once, can the knight hold up White's advance long enough for the king to march to its relief?
49.c4 Kxg5 50.Kb4 Kf5 51.c5 Ke6 52.c6 Nb6 53.Kc5 Na4+ 54.Kb4 Nb6 (As you were. White's first try failed, try the other way:)
55.Kh5 Nd5!! (One suspects that the earlier attempt via c5 was made in order to suggest to Black that 55...Nc4+ was the way to go here. But it turns out that it loses in spectacular fashion: 55...Nc4+ 56.Ka6! Kd6 57.b6!! and whichever pawn Black takes, the other runs on unstoppably to queen!)
56.Ka6 Kd6 57.Kb7 (He might have tried the same recipe as before, 57.b6!? Kxc6 58.b7 Nc7+ {the saving clause: this move is not available if Black had played 55.Nc4+} 59.Ka7 Nb5+ and if 60.Kb8 then Nd6 picks up the pawn, else 60.Ka8 Nc7+ 61.Kb8 Nb5 62.Kc8 Nd6+, or 60.Ka6 Nc7+ just repeats or loses the pawn)
57...Kc5 58.Ka6 (Nothing helps. It's clear Black has saved the game)
56...Nc7+ 57.Ka5 Nxb5 Draw - White's remaining pawn is obviously a goner.
Here's my Chess secret - a very well kept one, by all accounts: There's more to endgames than meets the eye!