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danheisman's Blog


    • Chess Skills are not Have and Have Not

      A student often says to me something like "Kasparov and Fischer have it - I don't" - referring to chess talent. It's as if they perceive that chess talent is a single thing and it's measured in 1 or 0. But that's not the way it works. Chess talen... | Read More

    • Improving Requires Extensive Practice Looking for Better Moves

      One of my favorite articles is The Fun of Pros and Cons (http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman94.pdf), where I begin with a set of key observations: "●     If you want to be a better player, you have to make better moves. ● If you want to ... | Read More

    • What's a Good Opening?

      Sometimes I get asked, out of context, "What's a good opening you recommend?", "What's a good opening for White?", or "What a good opening against 1.e4?". The problem is with the word "good". If by "good" you mean, the more winning chances, the b... | Read More

    • Improvement Books vs Thought Process Books

      On my Chess.com TV show "Q&A with Coach Heisman" this week one question briefly sparked a discussion of the controversial new book "Move First, Think Later" by Willy Hendriks, while another question involved thought process. Despite it's titl... | Read More

    • Joe Casey, Chess Player

      This past Thursday my friend and long-time student, Joe Casey of Delaware, passed away. He had been ill for a long time, but his passing was still a shock. Like my college coach, IM Donald Byrne, Joe only lived into his 40's, but will be long reme... | Read More

    • Missing Zugzwang as an Endgame Weapon

      One of my students' problems I often encounter in lessons is that inexperienced players, and even intermediates, sometimes underestimate how common and powerful zugzwang is as an endgame weapon. I think everyone recognizes the following:   ... | Read More

    • What's Worse? Missed Mate or Missed Trade?

      At our club tonight the following position occurred:             Black, an inexperienced player, did not wish to trade queens, and so played 1...Qa6?? allowing 2.Qg7# We know the tactical consequences of allowing 2.Qg7# are far wor... | Read More

    • Missed Chance at Copycat Immortality

      Just for fun, I decided before the following game to play it in the style of Capablanca: straightforward, simple. This is almost the opposite of my normal style, more Kasparov-like, of taking the fight to the opponent, setting him problems, and se... | Read More

    • Quick Guide to Chess Improvement Column

      Chess.com has brought me a new readership - that's very exciting and I thank both chess.com and you, the readers! I have written 11 chess books and several chess.com blogs & articles such as this one (with more to come!) but, so far, all the ... | Read More

    • A Very Clever Problem

      One of my all-time favorite books is Chess Curiosities by Tim Krabbe, now outdone by his website http://timkr.home.xs4all.nl//chess/chess.html. Chess Curiosities' first chapter is on castling. In the problem world the convention is: if you see a... | Read More