Friday, October 24, 2014

International Grandmaster Alex Colovic Speaks of his Origins in Chess and Advice to Aspiring Players

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of speaking with Macedonian International Chess Grandmaster Alex Colovic. He achieved his GM norm in 2013, and has competed in over 200 international chess tournaments, winning dozens. Alex is a member of the Macedonian Chess Team and is fluent in seven languages: English, Spanish, Serbian, Macedonian, Russian, Italian, and Bulgarian.

During the interview Alex describes his early roots in chess and how he has achieved such great success. Mr. Colovic also offers advice on how to strengthen your chess game and become a more dominant player. He contains a vast wealth of knowledge and experience on the field of chess, so please listen and enjoy! 

Alex also has a chess site, so make sure to check this out as well!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chess Basics - What You Need to Know

Welcome to my chess blog! In this post I will be discussing some introductory basics to chess. This includes the movements of pieces, and how to utilize these moves efficiently. Please understand there is a lot behind chess, from the opening move to checkmate. To emphasize this, entire books have been written on only one or two openings! My blog is not this in depth, but I do hope to provide you with a strong understanding of the basics, and of how you can compete in a successful chess game.

First, we will begin by showing the moves each chess piece is capable of. I have demonstrated a series of moves on this GIF which shows you the function of each piece.

I begin with 1. e4 advancing the white pawn two spaces. This is legal for a pawn to do on its very first move, after that, it can only advance one space at a time. 1...e5 is black's response to e4. 2. Nf3 Nc6 shows the function of a knight, able to move in an L formation. 3. Bc4 Bc5 shows the ability of a bishop to move on its respective diagonal. 5. 0-0 is what is known as a castle, in which the king and rook change positions. The purpose of this is to tuck the king away into a secure position. The queen, which is not moved in this demonstration, has the combined abilities of both the rook and bishop, able to move laterally, vertically, and diagonally.

Next, I am going to illustrate how each piece can capture another. Pawns can only capture diagonally, except in a rare exception known as the "en passant" (French for 'in passing'). This is demonstrated in the diagram below. If a pawn advances two moves on its first move, and its opponent's pawn (black pawn on b4) is directly horizontal to the first pawn (white pawn on a4), the black pawn can capture the white pawn by advancing diagonally to the square before the initial pawn (a3). Again, the en passant is a rare occurrence, so don't worry about it too much.

Now, having explained the concept behind en passant, I will illustrate how pawns, and most other pieces can capture. The GIF begins with pawn e4 capturing d5. This demonstrates how pawns capture diagonally, advancing to an upward diagonal square. Next, the black bishop on g4 captures the white knigh on f3. In essence, to capture a piece, the piece capturing takes the place of the captured piece, thereby removing it from the board. 

We have been over a lot today, from how pieces move to how they capture. This is just the beginning of chess, but an understanding of the basics is essential to developing a strong chess game. My next post will explain how to checkmate your opponent, utilizing either a few pieces or your entire arsenal.

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