Free Strategy Lesson from Magnus Carlsen


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A free strategy lesson from Magnus Carlsen!

Imagine sitting down next to a Grandmaster and listening to them as they explain their moves to you. Not only that, but the discussion is working both ways, with your questions being answered along the way – therefore making you feel fully involved in the lesson.

What an opportunity for learning that would be!

High Expectations

Then set your expectations even higher. What about sitting down next to the World Champion himself – and enjoying a free strategy lesson from Magnus Carlsen?

This is not merely a scenario from your finest of chess dreams; this is reality.

Our new course, The Magnus Touch – Strategy, is coming very soon.

We are confident that this will prove to be one of our most popular courses. So confident, in fact, that we are giving readers a free lesson so they can experience the quality for themselves.

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Classic Encounter

International Master John Bartholomew provides the questions for Magnus to answer as they play through his classic encounter against Li Chao.

One of the great arts of strategy is timing. When does one need to be patient and when is the right time to take action?

This sample provides some of the answers.

‘Adjusting the castle’

Carlsen spent time patiently adjusting the defensive position of his king, making the point that he has effectively changed his ‘long-castle’ into a ‘short-castle’, the logic being that his king is more secure as it has moved a shade further from the centre of the board.

How should White proceed from this position?

Magnus Carlsen Free Chess Strategy Lesson

Magnus Carlsen – Li Chao

Black has just played …Kh8. How did Magnus reply?

  1. Ka1!

Magnus:  ‘I am still waiting! At this point we’ve both made all our useful waiting moves. Black has run out of options, so he now plays …Be6. He wants to line up on the a2-g8 diagonal, but doesn’t have the time for it.’

Strategy and Tactics

The level of patience required here is very instructive. After all, we are taught early on that castling on opposite sides of the board nearly always gives rise to a race of rapid attacks – because in any race, hesitation can be fatal.

Yet strategy and tactics go hand in hand.

A couple of moves further down the line we see both sides have completed their development and are ready for the next stage of the game.

Magnus Carlsen Free Chess Strategy Lesson

Magnus Carlsen – Li Chao


Black has just aimed a third piece against the a2-pawn, so that it is now hanging. How did Magnus reply?

To the untrained eye it does indeed look like Li Chao is setting up a menacing attack on Carlsen’s king. Is it time for attack – or defence?

17.h4 !


Exploiting the situation to the maximum, attacking the black king and not caring about an unimportant pawn. Trying to keep the a-pawn by playing 17.a3 would be rather slow. White can never really take on b4 anyway, as that would open the a-file for a deadly black attack, and after17…Nc418.Bxc4 Bxc419.h4 Rhd8 Black is doing fine.

17…Bxa2 ?!

A very principled move, grabbing a pawn and ignoring the impending opening of the h-file. Both sides are playing for mate, but Black’s issue is that he has to play this move and next …Bb3 before he can force the opening of the a-file with a4-a3.

Magnus: ‘My king is still quite safe, because even if Black plays a4-a3, I can answer b2-b3 and mate is far off.’

Just knowing the correct reflex response of b2-b3 in reply to …a4-a3, therefore saving a lot of time and allowing Carlsen to push on with his own attack.


White’s attack is landing first because various preconditions are already in place.

The rest of the game is analysed in great detail in The Magnus Touch: Free Strategy Lesson.

Free Strategy Lesson from Magnus Carlsen!

Without first developing a strategic advantage then the tactics would not necessarily have been in Carlsen’s favour, because the required preconditions would not have been in place. For instance, his experience told him his own was surprisingly safe, despite appearances.

It is time to improve your own skill in this department with our free strategy lesson from Magnus Carlsen. After all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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