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The Magnus Touch: Free Endgame Lesson

Free Endgame LessonToday’s post celebrates the release of The Magnus Touch: Free Endgame Lesson.

This is a sample from a very special Chessable course and one which we are sure is going to prove extremely popular.

The full course of The Magnus Touch: The Endgame is about to be unleashed in the very near future.

From Strategy to Endgame

Think back to May, when the release of The Magnus Touch: Free Strategy Lesson prefaced the release of the full version of The Magnus Touch: Chess Strategy.

The course created quite a stir, and rightly so.

This time we are entering the domain in which Magnus Carlsen appears to have no equal. We have frequently seen the World Champion magically conjure up serious winning chances from even the most innocuous looking endgame positions.

How does he do it? It is time to find out.

Carlsen somehow found the time between all of his online tournaments to sit down with International Master John Bartholomew and reveal some secrets from the endgame department.

Pushing With a Tiny Edge

Take a look at this position, which is from game six of Carlsen’s 2013 World Chess Championship match against Anand.

Magnus Touch: Free Endgame Lesson 1

Anand – Carlsen

Black to play

First, we have to readjust our thinking to put this game into context. Carlsen was the challenger during this match, not the champion.

He won game five to take the lead in the match. Under the circumstances a draw would be a perfectly good result, especially as it is not at all clear how any serious winning chances can be generated.

Carlsen played 28 …Qb7, which is strong move. There is a veiled threat to Anand’s e4-pawn. If White were to allow 29 …exd4 then 30 …Rxe4 would swiftly follow.

Therefore Anand played 28 Rd1, which enables him to meet 29 …exd4 with 30 Rxd4, when the rook helps to defend the pawn.

I don’t want to give too many of the lesson’s instructional points away here, but it is extremely interesting to see how Carlsen manages to progress from the tiny edge he held in the first diagram to reach this winning position.

Anand has just played 67 Ra8.

Carlsen Free Lesson

Anand – Carlsen

Black to play

Even here, care is required. Carlsen now played the best move, which brought about Anand’s resignation. What is it?

There, is however, an easy way to go wrong. What happens if Black promotes the pawn immediately with 67 …f1=Q?

Free Endgame Lesson

Head for The Magnus Touch: Free Endgame Lesson to find the answers to the questions and to learn about the moves, tactics and plans that occurred between the two diagrams.

It will also whet your appetite for the excellent material still to come in the full course.

Meanwhile, catch up with Carlsen’s games in the Grand Final over at chess24. Stay tuned long enough and you are almost certainly going to see his legendary endgame skills in action.

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The Grand Final

Chess Tour Grand FinalThe Grand Final of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour starts on Sunday.

Time plays tricks in this strange world and it is hard to believe we are just about to start the fifth and final event of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour.

In fact my first post on this blog covered the Magnus Carlsen Invitational, which was the first tournament on the schedule. We only just posted about the Legends of Chess tournament earlier this week and now the Grand Final is almost here.

Four Players

There are just four players in the Grand Final, which will increase the intensity of the competition.

Magnus Carlsen is one of the four players, of course. Joining the World Champion are Ding Liren, Daniil Dubov and Hikaru Nakamura.

Here are the pairings for the semi-finals of the Grand Final.

Grand Final BracketThe semi-finals will feature a ‘best of five’ mini-match format and the final will be ‘best of seven.’

The Favourite

Carlsen is clearly the pre-tournament favourite. He is continually growing in strength and over the course of the tour has fully acclimatised himself to the very different world of online chess.

Naturally, just being the favourite is not enough to win a tournament. One has to play extremely well from the first round to the last.

Ding Liren, Daniil Dubov and Hikaru Nakamura will all be hoping to create an upset (of sorts). But do any of the trio have the tools for the job?

One things is certain. Anyone who is even slightly off form will be eaten alive in such company.

The Grand Final: Entertainment Guaranteed

We are in for some absolutely fascinating games of chess. A veritable bonanza, which will provide plenty of entertainment all the way to 20 August.

There is only one place to be for the best live coverage, complete with guest star commentators, and that is chess24.

Who will be the winner of the Grand Final?

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The ‘New Normal’ for Chess Clubs?

What will be the ‘new normal’ for chess clubs?

We are enjoying the online elite tournaments, led (in more ways than one) by the World Champion, Magnus Carlsen.
Carlsen Online ChampionIt would have been easy for Carlsen to rest on his laurels and let others put their reputations on the line (and online). He has little to prove but clearly just wants to play chess.

In fact another big event will be happening this weekend, about which more will follow in tomorrow’s post.

Chess on Hold

Given the dreadful world situation and the modern reliance on buzzwords and catch-all phrases, there is a serious concern that we are experiencing the ‘new normal.’

What will happen to over-the-board chess?

Will we ever return to the cosy world of turning up on our weekly club night to experience the full cycle of emotions, from the euphoria of victory to the despair of a defeat?

All of our local rivalries are currently on hold.

Online sites are becoming increasingly popular with club players. In former times, this was mainly for fun Blitz games, but now major events – such as the 4NCL – have moved online for the foreseeable future.

There are obvious advantages in terms of logistics. No need for hotel bills, no need for train tickets.

The Familiar Face of Cheating

There are disadvantages too, such as the lack of social contact. The scope for cheating is greatly expanding too.

People caught cheating risk incurring a ban from sites and events.

The elite tournaments we all enjoy watching don’t have the problem. The players are on camera all of the time and it would be a very sad day indeed if an elite Grandmaster of chess would ever contemplate gaining an unfair advantage by unscrupulous means.

At club level, there is much more of a temptation to stray from the correct path.

It is not at all practical for all club players to place themselves under such obvious scrutiny. Webcams for local league matches? Very unlikely.

Cheating at online chess is not even new. It is just hitting the headlines because of the increase in the number of people being victims of the cheats.

Even 20 years ago, it was generally accepted that playing anything more than a three-minute game would increase the very strong possibility of encountering a cheat. Armed with an engine, a cheat could improve their rating very quickly and ‘impress their friends.’

How to stop it? Unfortunately, you can’t.

Innovations

There are new initiatives, experimenting with various methods to resume playing with real chess pieces and boards.

The 99th Irish Chess Championship is going ahead, with masks, screens and social distancing all present and correct.

There is a significant discussion in progress on the English Chess Forum, which was started by the chess player, trainer and journalist Tim Wall. Various options are under discussion, including Hybrid Chess. This involves the use of laptops on which to play local matches, while retaining the social aspect of a normal club night.

I am sure many players will resist returning to their clubs is anything if anything out of the ordinary is required.

Others will stay away out of a fear of the situation.

What will happen next?

Will chess players be tempted back to their clubs?

Will playing online become the ‘new normal’ for chess clubs?

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Carlsen the Champion

chess24 Legends of Chess WinnerThe chess24 Legends of Chess tournament is over and Magnus Carlsen is the champion.

He defeated Ian Nepomniachtchi 2-0 in the two mini-matches of the final.

The closeness of the first leg of the final led us to suspect that we may see another fluctuating battle in the second.

Carlsen’s Early Domination

However, Carlsen was clearly in the mood to finish the match as soon as possible.

Playing the London System in the first game may not have been the most obvious signal for aggressive intentions, but nevertheless the World Champion still won in just 27 moves.

Nepomniachtchi knew he had to get back into the match as quickly as possible. He took the Sicilian Najdorf bull by the horns once more in the second game.

This was an extremely wild encounter. Carlsen showed yet again he has no interest in playing solidly as Black, despite holding a lead in the match.

Tactics dominated proceedings – some spotted, some missed – until Carlsen eventually wrapped up a very important victory.

Carlsen the Champion

Needing to somehow change the trend, Nepomniachtchi used the Modern Defence in game three but it didn’t succeed in putting Carlsen off his winning stride. The World Champion had an early edge, won a pawn and then agreed to a draw from a position of strength.

chess24 Legends of Chess Final Results

Carlsen’s domination of the these online events is remarkable. Naturally, as the world’s top player, he will always be the favourite to emerge victorious. But to win every time…? That takes some doing, and the extra expectations must bring more pressure.

Nepomniachtchi had a very good tournament too. Ultimately he could not make enough of an impression on the Carlsen brick wall.

chess24 Legends of Chess Runner-up

A Legendary Event

It has been a fascinating event, with the legends – including former World Champions Viswanathan Anand and Vladimir Kramnik – adding plenty of extra interest for chess fans around the world.

The games can be enjoyed in full over at chess24.

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Privacy Policy Update

Dear Chessable members,

We have just touched up and revised our privacy policy. It’s a tiny update, but nonetheless, you should take some time to review it.

As we grow as an organisation, we find it increasingly important to have the right infrastructure in place. Examples of some of the new tools we’re using are Sentry used for debugging, and Mixpanel used for determining things like device preference of users. 

For a full list of updates, take a look at our privacy policy here

I’d like to remind you that when writing our legals, we have always kept our users in mind at every step of the way. We followed the best practices listed at https://tosdr.org/ to make sure we were doing the best we can for you. 

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