With his Monster Mystery Bash quickly approaching, all eyes are once again turned to the mysterious Mr. Dodgy.
But who is Mr. Dodgy, actually?
Famous (infamous?) Twitter personality. Chessable author and founder of Dodgy Enterprises. CEO of the world’s largest spaced repetition cooking course platform, Chefable.
Yes, Mr. Dodgy is a practitioner of the dark arts, ‘tis true. But hey, he uses his powers for good, so we’ll let him do his thing. After all, this Halloween he’s raising some buried Chessable courses from the earth and bringing them to life in a special promotion we’re calling Buried Gems.
Similar to our Hidden Gems promotion, we’re highlighting some of the most quality courses that got buried under the heap of new courses that came out this year – ones that deserve a little extra attention.
They’re definitely worth a look – the heart and soul that went into crafting these beauties is evident, once you scratch beneath the surface. And while there are dozens to choose from, we’ll highlight five in this post, starting with:
The Energetic 1.e4
by International Master Sebastian Mihajlov
With so many 1.e4 repertoires on Chessable these days, it’s understandable if you haven’t found this buried gem. But it could easily be one to seriously up your opening play by shocking your opponents with some of the most aggressive and formidable lines out there.
This repertoire certainly pulls no punches. But when the author is a renowned blitz aficionado, it makes sense!
If there are two moves of equal strength in a position, IM Mihajlov goes for the sharp, aggressive one over the quieter one every time – i.e. ones that will pose tough challenges for your opponent to solve over the board, while you have them down comfortably.
Take his lines against the French Defense for example. No quiet Exchange French here – you’re going for 3. Nc3 where, if possible, you’ll shoot your wing pawns up the board any chance you get for a full-on mating attack.
Check out The Energetic 1.e4 here.
Micro-Plans: Mastering Weak Pawns
by Grandmaster Swapnil Dhopade
This course is a masterpiece in middlegame strategy.
For many players, tactics are not the problem. But to create those situations where your tactical skills can shine is the problem.
Micro-Plans shows you how to do that by starting small. GM Swapnil Dhopade, one of India’s top chess trainers, shows you how to find or create a pawn weakness, then coordinate your pieces to exert maximum pressure on it.
With all the pressure on it, the pawn will either fall, or other tactical possibilities will arise when your opponent trips up over the defense.
Take this position for example. It’s clear that Black’s backward c6 pawn is a weakness, but how to exploit it before they trade it off with a …c5 break?
b4! Freezing c6 pawn in place. But now, how will White coordinate their pieces to actually bring the pawn down? Learn how with Micro-Plans: Mastering Weak Pawns.
Also be sure to check out GM Swapnil Dhopade’s second course in the series, Micro-Plans II: Mastering Piece Productivity.
by International Master David Vigorito
Grandmaster Roman Dzindzichashvili is a consummate legend in the chess community. As one of the top blitz specialists and park hustlers of his time, he became something of a mad scientist when it came to developing his opening repertoire. After all, he had to keep surprising his opponents out of sheer necessity.
One of his monsters (and we mean that as a compliment!) was the so-called Dzindzi-Indian Defense in response to 1.d4. Also known as the Sniper or the Pterodactyl Defense, the Dzindzi-Indian looks to create an imbalanced, wild game right from the start by shattering White’s queenside pawn structure with your dark square bishop.
The resulting positions are rich, exotic, and full of attacking potential. Here is the starting position after 1.d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 f5
The idea is not only to put pressure on the weak c3 pawn, but also that White’s king will not have a safe place to go. If they castle kingside, you’ll launch your h-, g-, and – f pawns up the board, with your rook, knight, and queen behind them for a full-on assault. Meanwhile, you’ll tuck your king in the safest part of the board – the center (created by the strong pawn shield on e7-d6-c5)!
All this may sound crazy, but it works. In fact, the author, a hardened warrior on the American chess circuit, has employed the opening with success in tournament games for years – as have the likes of big-name pros like Bent Larsen!
Check out The Dzindzi-Indian here.
The Maximized Von Hennig-Schara Gambit
by Grandmaster Max Warmerdam
If you like gambits, the sad truth is that there are not many good ones against 1.d4. You’ve probably come to realize that the Englund Gambit (1…e5) is pretty dubious, to put it mildly. But there’s another opening – a true buried gem – that warrants another look: The Von Hennig-Schara Gambit.
Also once thought to be slightly suspect (but certainly less so than the Englund Gambit!), rising Dutch star Max Warmerdam has revitalized the opening with cutting-edge lines in his course The Maximized Von Hennig-Schara Gambit, making it a strong choice against 1.d4 once again.
After 1.d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4, you’ll start lightning fast development. Take White’s absolute best line, 5.Qa4+, for example. Even with best play from White, Black’s lead in development will be massive, as shown in this line:
1.d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxd4 exd5 7. Qxd5 Nf6 8. Qd1 Bc5 9. Nf3 O-O 10. e3 Qe7
Compare this to the usual 1.d4 closed game. In contrast, Black’s bishops rule the board freely, while White’s dark square bishop will have trouble developing to somewhere meaningful and where it won’t be attacked. It’s like turning a 1.d4 opening into a 1.e4 opening!
Check out The Maximized Von Hennig-Schara Gambit here.
The Smyslov Ruy Lopez 3…g6
by International Master Irina Bulmaga
Speaking of 1.e4 openings, here’s a defense to break down one of the strongest 1.e4 openings of them all: the Ruy Lopez.
Instead of the usual 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bb5 a6 – which White is surely prepared for – or the drawish Berlin Defense (3..Nf6) , there is a much more dynamic surprise weapon available: the Smyslov Variation with 3…g6.
International Master Irina Bulmaga teaches you this interesting and highly successful variation in her course The Smyslov Ruy Lopez 3…g6. IM Bulmaga has been an unstoppable force in women’s chess lately, most notably with an impressive 7.5 / 9.0 performance in the Capablanca Memorial earlier this year.
The Smyslov variation in her course scores remarkably well, too – better than both the 3…a6 variation and Berlin Defense, in fact!
But perhaps the real beauty in this opening lies in the dynamic, exciting possibilities it offers in stark contrast to the Berlin Defense, for example. Here’s a sample position resulting from the main line:
1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. c3 a6 5. Ba4 Bg7 6. d4 exd4 7. cxd4 b5 8. Bb3 Nge7 9. O-O O-O 10. Nc3 Na5 11. Bc2 d6 12. h3 c5
It offers much of the counterattacking fun of the 3…a6 line without the passive bishop on e7. Rather, the dark square bishop is the star of the show by lording over the center and adding extra oomph to Black’s pawn breaks.
Check out The Smyslov Ruy Lopez 3…g6 here.
Lots More Buried Gems
These buried gems are just the tip of the iceberg though. With new courses coming out every week at Chessable, so many quality courses just don’t get the full extent of the spotlight they deserve. Make sure they do by checking our Buried Gems Sale, live from October 25 through Halloween!