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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Second Edition

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess, Second Edition

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by Patrick Wolff

Contents at a Glance

Part 1: Let’s Play Chess 
Why Play Chess?
The history of chess and its popularity today.
Drawing the Battle Lines
An introduction to the board, pieces, and rules of chess; plus how
to read and write chess moves.
Rules of Engagement
The rest of the rules, so you can start playing chess.
How to Win with Just One Piece
Checkmating the lone king with just the queen or rook.
Part 2: Tactics
It’s a Material World
Making sure your army is bigger than your opponent’s.
Tricks of the Tactical Trade
The most important tactics for capturing your opponent’s pieces.
Dirtier Tricks
Some more important tactics for capturing your opponent’s pieces.
Hunting Down the King
Using tactics and material to attack your opponent’s king.
Part 3: Strategy
In the Beginning
How to play the opening phase of a chess game.
Making the Most of Your Pieces
Strategies for maximizing the power of your pieces.
Pawn Shop
Special strategies for using the pawns.
The Final Frontier
How to control more of the board than your opponent, and what to
do if you control less of it.
Weak Squares
Recognizing when certain squares are more important than others, and
how to use them to your advantage.
All Good Things Must Come to an End 
How to play the endgame phase of a chess game.
Part 4: Beyond the Basics
Training Camp
Tips for continuing your chess study beyond this book.
 Hall of Fame
The chess superstars: The World Champions throughout history
and today.
Getting Competitive
Everything you need to know to find new opponents, and to play in chess
clubs and tournaments.
Chess in Cyberspace 
Everything you need to know to find chess on the Internet or to find the
right computer chess product for you.
How Computers Play Chess 
An explanation of the “thinking process” of the machine.
How to Beat the !?%@&?>!# Computer
Tips for using the different ways that humans and computers play chess
to your advantage.

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Book Details
 Price
 4.00
 Pages
 385 p
 File Size 
 21,393 KB
 File Type
 PDF format
 ISBN
 0-02-863182-5     
 Copyright©   
 2002 by Patrick Wolff 

Foreword
Hello, I am Deep Blue. I am the computer that IBM built to play Garry Kasparov, the
greatest (human) chess player ever. Garry beat me in our first meeting in 1996, but I
beat him in our second match in 1997. Afterward, many people talked about what it
meant that the World Chess Champion lost to a computer. Was I smarter? I cannot say.

There are big differences between you and I. Firstly, my chess is not the result of one
mind, but of a team. Three computer scientists from IBM engineered my hardware
and wrote my software. They were advised by several chess grandmasters to make
me smarter about chess. Secondly, my intelligence and my play are not like yours—
everything is 1’s and 0’s to me: mathematics, probability, algorithms. I do not have
opinions, intuition, or emotions. Those things inform your play. Mine is purely the
result of brute force computer processing combined with a large library of software. I
play chess, and play well, but I do not feel anything about it.

Chess is and always will be a human game. You created it, and only you can enjoy it.
Chess has been around for over 1,500 years. Ever since the beginning of chess, you
humans have created tools to help you enjoy chess more. Computers like me are just
another kind of tool that you can use to enjoy chess more.

But before you use a computer, read this book. Patrick Wolff is one of the grandmasters
who worked with me. He loves chess very much, and he has a lot of experience
playing it and explaining it to others. Patrick Wolff wants you to enjoy chess as much
as possible, and he has written this book to help you do so. This book will teach you
all the rules and all the basic tactics and strategies you need to play well. You will also
learn about the history of chess, how to get better once you finish this book, and how
to find others to play with. Patrick Wolff even explains how computers play chess,
and how to get the most out of using computers, including taking advantage of the
computer’s weaknesses.
Taking advantage of the computer’s weaknesses? If I were human I might be worried.
—Deep Blue

Introduction
You’ve never played chess, but it seems fascinating, and you’d like to learn the rules.
Or maybe you know how to play, but you’ve never understood how to tell whether a
move was good or bad. Or maybe you’ve even picked up a few pointers somewhere,
but you’d really like to be able to play a decent game. (Maybe there’s even someone
you’d like to beat!) In any case, you want some way to find out more about chess:
How to find an opponent, how to read the chess column in your newspaper, where to
get chess books and other chess materials, what organizations to join and how to
contact them (maybe not just for you but also for your son or daughter), how computers
play chess (and maybe how to beat your own computer!), and who are the
chess superstars.
This is the book for you.
I’ve been playing in national and international chess competitions for almost 20
years. In that time, I’ve become one of the best chess players in the country and the
world, including being the U.S. Champion twice, in 1992 and 1995. So I have the expertise
to explain it all to you.

But more important, I have years of experience teaching people of all levels how to
play chess. I know lots of people think chess is for high-brows, but I also know that’s
nonsense. Chess is an incredibly fun game. It offers a lifetime of excitement, beauty,
and challenge to anyone who takes it up. Sure chess exercises your brain: That’s what
makes it so great! But it’s absolutely not just for intellectuals. Anyone can learn chess
and learn to play it well, and just about everyone who does so loves it forever after. I
bet you’ll love chess, too.
I wrote the first edition of this book over four years ago to provide people with a
guide to learning and playing chess. Since then, I’ve been gratified by the wonderful
feedback I received. I wanted to write this second edition to see whether I could take
the best suggestions I received during that time and make this book even better. I
hope you’ll find it a fun and helpful introduction to the best game in the world.


Table of Contents
Part 1: Let’s Play Chess 1
1 Why Play Chess? 3
Are We Having Fun Yet? ..........................................................................................4
Once the Game of Kings … ....................................................................................4
… Now the King of Games ......................................................................................9
2 Drawing the Battle Lines 11
Meet the Chessboard ............................................................................................11
Naming the Squares ..............................................................................................12
Meet the Pieces ......................................................................................................13
The Pawn ..............................................................................................................14
The Knight ............................................................................................................16
The Bishop ............................................................................................................17
The Rook ..............................................................................................................19
The Queen ............................................................................................................20
The King ..............................................................................................................21
The Two R’s: Reading and ’Riting Chess Moves ....................................................23
Pawn Moves Without Capture ..............................................................................23
Pawn Moves With Capture ....................................................................................24
All Other Moves Without Capture ..........................................................................25
All Other Moves With Capture ..............................................................................27
Now Take a Deep Breath ........................................................................................28
3 Rules of Engagement 31
Three Special Moves ..............................................................................................31
Pawn Capturing a Pawn En Passant ......................................................................32
Promoting the Pawn ..............................................................................................33
King’s Special Privilege ..........................................................................................35
Win, Lose, or Draw: How Does That Happen? ....................................................38
Checkmate—the Aim of the Game! ........................................................................38
An Example of Checkmate ....................................................................................39
Throwing in the Towel ..........................................................................................40
Sometimes Nobody Wins ......................................................................................40
Insufficient Material to Deliver Checkmate ............................................................41
Friendly Agreement ................................................................................................41
Perpetual Check ....................................................................................................42
Stalemate ..............................................................................................................43
Okay, One More Deep Breath and You’re Ready to Play! ....................................45
4 How to Win with Just One Piece 49
Checkmate with Queen and King Versus King ....................................................50
Making a Plan ......................................................................................................50
Constricting the King ............................................................................................52
Bringing Your King Up to Help ..............................................................................52
Driving the King to the Corner ..............................................................................53
Beware of Giving Stalemate! ..................................................................................54
Time to Bring Up the King ....................................................................................54
Checkmate with Rook and King Versus King ......................................................56
Constricting the King ............................................................................................56
Bringing the King up to Help ..................................................................................56
Driving the King Back ............................................................................................58
Beware of Giving Stalemate! ..................................................................................59
Going In for the Kill ..............................................................................................60
Could You Do It Again? ........................................................................................61
Part 2: Tactics 65
5 It’s a Material World 67
The Concept of Material ........................................................................................68
When Fewer Pieces=More Material ........................................................................68
The Relative Worth of the Pieces ............................................................................68
What About the King? ..........................................................................................70
How Do You Use This Scale? ................................................................................70
How to Win Material, and Avoid Losing Material ................................................71
“How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?” ....................................................................71
“Do I Really Need All of This Practice?” ................................................................75
How to Defend Against a Threat to One of Your Pieces ......................................77
Moving the Piece That Is Being Attacked ................................................................77
Defending the Piece That Is Being Attacked ............................................................78
Blocking the Attack on the Piece ............................................................................78
Capturing the Piece That Is Attacking You ............................................................79
Attacking Something Else in Your Opponent’s Position ............................................79
Practice, Practice, Practice! ....................................................................................81
6 Tricks of the Tactical Trade 87
The Fork ................................................................................................................87
Pawn Forks ............................................................................................................87
Knight Forks ..........................................................................................................89
Bishop Forks ..........................................................................................................91
Rook Forks ............................................................................................................92
Queen Forks ..........................................................................................................93
King Forks ............................................................................................................93
The Pin ..................................................................................................................95
Bishop Pins ..........................................................................................................96
Rook Pins ..............................................................................................................98
Queen Pins ............................................................................................................99
The Skewer ..........................................................................................................100
Two Attacks at Once ............................................................................................102
Discovered Check ................................................................................................103
Double Check ......................................................................................................104
7 Dirtier Tricks 111
Getting an Enemy Piece Out of the Way ............................................................111
Attacking the Defender ........................................................................................111
Overloading the Defender ....................................................................................114
When You Are Your Own Worst Enemy ............................................................116
Wishing Can Help You Make It So ......................................................................117
Superman’s Not the Only One with X-Ray Vision! ............................................119
The “In Between” Move ......................................................................................121
8 Hunting Down the King 127
When a Material Advantage Is All Relative ........................................................127
The Emperor Has No Clothes! ............................................................................129
Exposing Your Opponent’s King ..........................................................................131
Anand–Kasparov, 1995 ......................................................................................131
Useful Tactics for Attacking the King ..................................................................135
Nowhere to Run! ..................................................................................................135
Death by Suffocation ..........................................................................................136
The Infinite Variety of Checkmates ....................................................................138
Part 3:Strategy 143
9 In the Beginning 145
The Beginning, Middle, and End of a Chess Game ............................................145
“The Opening” or “An Opening?” ......................................................................146
When Does the Beginning End? ........................................................................147
The Center’s Where All the Action Is ..................................................................147
Center Pawns First ..............................................................................................148
Minor Pieces Before Major Pieces ..........................................................................148
Time Is of the Essence ..........................................................................................149
Castle Early! ........................................................................................................150
Two Openings to Illustrate the Principles ..........................................................150
Queen’s Gambit Declined ....................................................................................150
Sicilian Defense ..................................................................................................154
A Brief Digression: Fianchettoing the Bishop ........................................................155
Back to the Sicilian Defense ................................................................................156
10 Making the Most of Your Pieces 161
Mobility: Give Me Room! ....................................................................................161
Do Be Cruel: Attack Your Opponent’s Weaknesses ............................................162
The Knight ..........................................................................................................162
The Bishop ..........................................................................................................165
Which Is Better: Bishop or Knight? ......................................................................166
The Two Bishops ................................................................................................168
“Opposite-Colored Bishops” ................................................................................170
The Rook ..............................................................................................................171
The Queen ............................................................................................................173
11 Pawn Shop 179
“The Pawns Are the Soul of Chess” ....................................................................179
Chain Gangs ........................................................................................................180
Side by Side Is Strongest ......................................................................................181
Forward Pawns and Backward Pawns ..................................................................182
When One Pawn Holds Two ................................................................................185
Some Pawns Are Islands ......................................................................................186
The Isolated Pawn ..............................................................................................187
Double the Pleasure ............................................................................................188
Pawns: What Are They Good For? ......................................................................191
Open Sesame! ......................................................................................................191
“Reconstructive Surgery” ......................................................................................191
Damaging Your Opponent’s Pawn Structure ..........................................................193
12 The Final Frontier 199
The Advantage of Space ......................................................................................199
Grabbing Space ....................................................................................................200
What to Do With More Space ..............................................................................202
But Don’t Forget the Center! ................................................................................203
Relieving a Cramp ................................................................................................205
Exchange Pieces ..................................................................................................205
Take Some Space of Your Own ............................................................................206
Challenge Your Opponent’s Space Advantage ........................................................209
13 Weak Squares 215
Recognizing Weak Squares ..................................................................................215
Weak Squares and Pawn Structure ......................................................................217
The “Hole” ..........................................................................................................218
The Weak Color Complex ....................................................................................218
Weak Squares and the King ................................................................................220
Repairing a Weak Square ......................................................................................223
14 All Good Things Must Come to an End 229
But Don’t Forget What You’ve Learned Up to Now! ..........................................229
The King Is a Strong Piece: Use It! ......................................................................232
The Passed Pawn Rules the Endgame! ................................................................234
The Pawn Majority ..............................................................................................234
The Outside Passed Pawn ....................................................................................235
The Protected Passed Pawn ..................................................................................236
Blockading the Passed Pawn ................................................................................237
Connected Passed Pawns ....................................................................................239
Three Specific Endgames ....................................................................................240
King and Pawn vs. King, and the “Opposition” ....................................................241
King, “Rook’s Pawn,” and “Wrong-Colored Bishop” vs. King ................................242
Opposite Colored Bishops ....................................................................................243
Part 4: Beyond the Basics 249
15 Training Camp 251
Studying the Opening and the Endgame ............................................................252
Studying the Opening ..........................................................................................252
Studying the Endgame ........................................................................................254
Magazines and Periodicals ..................................................................................254
Using www.wolffchess.com and Other Web Sites ..............................................255
Studying Tactics ..................................................................................................256
Studying Strategy ................................................................................................256
Reading for Pleasure ............................................................................................257
Collections of Games ..........................................................................................257
Studying Your Own Games ..................................................................................259
16 Hall of Fame 261
The Classical Era ..................................................................................................261
Wilhelm Steinitz (1836–1900) ............................................................................262
Emanuel Lasker (1868–1941) ..............................................................................263
José Raul Capablanca (1888–1942) ....................................................................264
Alexander Alekhine (1892–1946) ........................................................................265
Machgielis (Max) Euwe (1901–1981) ..................................................................266
Soviet Dominance ................................................................................................267
Mikhail Moiseyevich Botvinnik (1911–1995) ......................................................267
Vasily Vasiliyevich Smyslov (1921–) ....................................................................268
Mikhail Tal (1936–1992) ....................................................................................268
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian (1929–1984) ..........................................................269
Boris Vasiliyevich Spassky (1937–) ......................................................................270
The Fischer Revolution ........................................................................................271
Robert James (Bobby) Fischer (1943–) ..................................................................272
Anatoly Yegenyivich Karpov (1951–) ....................................................................273
Garry Kimovich Kasparov (1963–) ......................................................................275
Will the Real World Champion Please Stand Up? ..............................................277
Viswanathan Anand (1969–) ..............................................................................278
Vladimir Kramnik (1975–) ..................................................................................279
17 Getting Competitive 283
Finding Stronger Opposition ..............................................................................283
Special Chess Rules for Tournament Play ............................................................285
Time Controls and Chess Clocks ..........................................................................286
Other Ways to Draw the Game ............................................................................287
Keeping Score ......................................................................................................287
Etiquette ..............................................................................................................287
How Chess Tournaments Work ..........................................................................288
Round-Robin ........................................................................................................289
Swiss System ......................................................................................................289
Finding and Entering a Chess Tournament ..........................................................289
Long-Distance Competition ................................................................................290
Chess Competition for Children ........................................................................290
18 Chess in Cyberspace 293
Chess Web sites ....................................................................................................293
WolffChess (www.wolffchess.com) ......................................................................294
Chess “Portals” ..................................................................................................294
Chess Organizations ............................................................................................295
Chess Shopping ....................................................................................................295
Playing Chess Online ..........................................................................................296
General Games Sites ............................................................................................296
Chess-Specific Sites ..............................................................................................298
Chess by E-mail ................................................................................................298
Chess News and Information ..............................................................................299
Libraries and Resources ........................................................................................299
Online Magazines ................................................................................................300
Newsgroups ........................................................................................................300
Chess in the Palm of Your Hand ........................................................................301
Chess on Your PC ................................................................................................302
Playing Chess on Your Computer ........................................................................302
Studying Chess on Your Computer ........................................................................303
19 How Computers Play Chess 305
The Thinking Machine? ......................................................................................305
What About Artificial Intelligence?......................................................................311
Will the Computer Overtake Us? ........................................................................312
Man versus Machine ............................................................................................313
What Does Deep Blue Mean for Us? ....................................................................318
20 How to Beat the !?%@&?>!# Computer 321
There’s No Magic Bullet ......................................................................................321
The Computer’s Strengths ..................................................................................322
“The Chess Machine” ..........................................................................................322
20/20 Vision ......................................................................................................323
The Computer’s Weaknesses ................................................................................325
Greed is Bad ........................................................................................................325
Aimless Wandering ..............................................................................................327
Appendixes
A Your Chess Rolodex 331
B Other Chess Notations 335
C Answers to Exercises 337
D Glossary 357
Index 361


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Diagrams
A diagram is a picture of a chess position. A lot of this book, especially Parts 1–3, require
you to follow the progress of a chess game as each player makes moves. This
presents a dilemma. Even experienced chess players find it difficult to do this without
setting up the position on a chess set, and I’m sure you would too. But that means
you would have to have a chess set with you whenever you wanted to read this book,
and that would be extremely inconvenient, which is certainly something I want to avoid.

The solution: Diagrams, and lots of them. In the first half of the book you’ll find that
every single position and almost every single move from each position gets a separate
diagram. As the book progresses, I’ve assumed that you’re becoming more comfortable
with following one or two moves from a chess position, but you’ll still see lots and
lots of diagrams. My goal has been to make it easy for you to read this book anywhere
you want, and not to force you to have a chess set with you to do so. I still recommend
that you have a chess set handy for when you want to look at certain positions
or moves carefully, but for the most part you can read this book without a chess set if you want.

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