Middlegame Pattern – Octopus Knight

What are the Middlegame patterns? How can we get better at implementing them? Where can we get material for the same? So I am starting a series of Middlegame patterns where I share you a few topics with examples. To know them lets start with Octopus Knight first!

Octopus Knight

Have you ever came across a position where a piece disturbs whole co-ordination of opponents pieces? Octopus knight is one such strategic manoeuvre which leads to the total disruption of co-ordination in the opponent’s territory. This concept is quite old but occurs frequently in games.

Today we see a game from 1985 World Chess Championship where Anatoly Karpov playing with white pieces was on the receiving end of this theme played by Garry Kasparov. This historic game has entered a lot of chess books. Let’s see the game first.


So why is this even so famous theme? Let us look at the position

Here the black Knight on d3 dominates each and every piece. It creates a lot of threats and also cuts the board into two halves.  e-file is under control, f2 is under pressure and suddenly black gets sufficient initiative for a pawn.

For a detailed explanation of this game check the video by GM Daniel King-

White to play, In the above position try to achieve an octopus knight.


In the position, white went Bg5! – Be7 Nd6! and thus the Octopus landed on d6. This is one of the middlegame patterns one must get used and practice implementing in their games. If you want to learn more such patterns you should check out the links at the end of the article.

Octopus Knight is worth a Rook is what Former World champion Garry Kasparov once said, I hope you all can get a chance to apply similar ideas in your game!



Tagged :

Book Review : Chess Brilliancy

Author of the Book – Iakov Dawsky

Publishing Year – 2002

Published By – Everyman Chess

What to Expect?

Chess Brilliancy is a very interesting book. This book presents you with 250 classic brilliancies which were rewarded for their elements. One can expect a lot of power-packed games with huge creativity. A small introduction about the games or the tournament and games with fewer variations and few insights from players. Some of the games are positional while some are attacking some show deep calculations while some blow up our imagination.

What is a Unique thing in this Book?

This book throws light on the era where several tournaments used to award prizes for best games for the round and for the event. I have to appreciate the author for his efforts on compiling these 250 games, maintaining standings of prizes.


For whom will this book suit the best?

This book is a Gem. Anyone who has studied chess for over 6 months or knows basics and some normal tactics can enjoy this book. According to me, this book can be studied repetitively to enjoy the beauty of chess.


What did I like?

I enjoyed each and every game. I have studied some games 4-5 times! As they are so interesting and have also made a deep impression on me.  I appreciate every game in this book but to give a glimpse of this book, Below I share with you 3 games I liked the most.

White to Play
Black to Play
White to Play. Nowadays this move is a theory!

Check the games below to see if you got the moves right!



From where can you buy this Book?

Chess Brilliancy book is available on Amazon.in at Rs 300/- Here is the link of the same.

About the Book Author-

Iakov Damsky, a Russian sports journalist, is also an experienced chess writer and he has written books viz Attack with Mikhail Tal (with Mikhail Tal) The Art of Defence in Chess (with Lev Polugayevsky) and The Heavy Pieces in Action.

The Publisher

Everyman Chess, formerly known as Cadogan Chess, is a major publisher of books and CDs about chess. “Everyman” is a registered trademark of Random House and the company headquarters is in London. Former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov is their chief advisor and John Emms is the general editor, assisted by Richard Palliser. The company is now known as “Gloucester Publishers”.

Tagged : / /

Viktor Korchnoi the Great!!


As a rule, the more mistakes there are in a game, the more memorable it remains because you have suffered and worried over each mistake at the board. –Viktor Korchnoi

How to spell “Political asylum”? Questioned Korchnoi to Antony Miles. Both the players were joint winners of Amsterdam tournament, the first tournament of Viktor Korchnoi [Outside USSR] after 1974 candidates finale with Anatoly Karpov. Korchnoi was not allowed to participate in any event since then by the Soviet Union. Viktor got asylum in Netherland in 1976 then he shifted to Switzerland in 1978. Why was KGB behind Korchnoi? why did Korchnoi hate other players? Reason of why did a genius like Korchnoi not become a world champion? Let’s look into the journey of “Viktor the Terrible”

Initial years in chess

Viktor Korchnoi was born on 23rd September 1931. He was born in Leningrad, Soviet Union. Viktor had a steady journey in his early stages of life in context to chess, winning age category tournaments and getting master titles with the same flow. He became a GrandMaster in 1956. Viktor was considered to be of aggressive nature, both on the board as well as off the board. With steady progress, Viktor made his major breakthrough when he qualified for the candidates in 1962. It was the last round-robin candidates until 1985. He scored 13.5/27 and was placed 5th. Petrosian won the event.

Korchnoi worked hard to qualify for the world championships without any success. But Korchnoi kept on trying. Boris Spassky beat Korchnoi in 1968 candidates. He then played a few secret training matches, one with Bronstein and the other with his close friend back then and the future World Champion Anatoly Karpov.

There was a match of USSR v/s Rest of the World in 1970. Korchnoi played on Board 3 for the USSR to score 1.5/4. Later in 1984 Korchnoi represented the Rest of the world as he was a citizen of Switzerland. Then came the years where things started to get bitter between Korchnoi and the Russian Federation.

Candidates match with Karpov

Korchnoi qualified for the Candidates final with the routine qualification method to face Anatoly Karpov. The match in 1974 would decide who will face Robert James Fischer for the world championship in 1975. Bronstein was Korchnoi’s second for the match. In the 24 games match, Korchnoi was down 3 games when the 18th game ended. He then bounced back to win the 19th and the 21st game thus taking the match to an exciting finale. But Karpov managed to hold his nerve and won the candidates with 12.5-11.5. As Fischer refused to defend his World Championship Title Karpov became the eventual World Champion. Korchnoi claimed that he had received constant life threats during the candidate’s match.


The rivalry between Korchnoi and Karpov stayed for a long duration with 2 world championship matches contested between them. This proved to be a great content of chess for the whole world. Korchnoi was not allowed to play outside USSR until 1976. He got to play the Amsterdam tournament where he stood joint 1st with Antony Miles.

Soon claimed the first opportunity he got, Korchnoi decided to defect from USSR and thus the incident of asking for political asylum occurred. He was the first Soviet GrandMaster to defect from USSR. His wife and son were left behind as he got shelter in the Netherlands. Later in 1978 Korchnoi got the citizenship of Switzerland and shifted there for his own safety.

The 1978 World Championship, Baguio, Philippines.

Korchnoi swept Petrosian in the Quarter-Finals, Polugavesky in the Semis and Spassky in the Finals to qualify to the World Championship against Karpov. The rules of the world championship were that whosoever scores 6 wins first will be declared as the world champion. Karpov was in a good form and took a 4-1 lead. This was a huge advantage as he just needed 2 more wins. But this is the time when champions rise to the occasion. Korchnoi won a game to make it 4-2. Things were looking a bit shiny for Korchnoi until he lost the 27th game. 5-2 for Karpov ! 1 win away from retaining the world title. Here something unusual started to happen. Karpov seemed to have got nervous or Korchnoi must have felt like nothing to lose and went all out. Korchnoi won the game no. 28, 29 and 31. Now the score was back to 5-5. When it seemed that Korchnoi was the one who will win the world championship, it was Karpov who had the last laugh! Thus Karpov retained the title.

The 1981 World Championship, Merano, Italy.

History repeated. Korchnoi defeated Petrosian and Polugevsky in quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively and in the finals of candidates, he overcame Hort. Thus setting up a rematch with Karpov for the world title. But this time Korchnoi was not in his elements and went down 6-2 wins with 10 draws. During this match, Korchnoi’s son was kept in a labour camp for two and a half years by the USSR.

Some facts about Korchnoi –

  1. Korchnoi owns the record of beating 9 world champions in his lifetime besides Believsky and Keres.
  2. Viktor Korchnoi is the only non-world champion to be covered in Kasparov’s “my great predecessors” series. [volume 5].
  3. He became the oldest player to win a national championship. He won the national title again a few months after his 80th birthday in July 2011 after a playoff game with Joseph Gallagher.
  4. On the January 2007 FIDErating list Korchnoi was ranked number 85 in the world at age 75, the oldest player ever to be ranked in the FIDE top 100
  5. As of 2011, Korchnoi was still active in the chess world with a notable win (in Gibraltar) with black against the 18-year-old Fabiano Caruana, who was rated above 2700 and 61 years Korchnoi’s junior
  6. However, in 2014, he returned to the board to play a two-game match against GM Wolfgang Uhlmann(b.1935), winning both games; the combined age of the two players was 162 years, which is almost certainly a record for a standard play match between Grandmasters.
  7. Korchnoi was famously known as the Kings Indian slayer as he employed a lot of systems against the Kings Indian and had a crushing score.
  8. He had a dominating score against the Eighth World Champion Mikhail Tal. 11-1 with 17 draws. Later they exchanged a few blows but still, Korchnoi was ahead 14-5[excluding draws]
  9. Everyone who wants to learn French must follow the games of Viktor Korchnoi.
  10. Korchnoi is the only player to play in both teams in the match between USSR and Rest of the World. For USSR in 1970 and ROW in 1984.

Korchnoi the author –

Korchnoi did contribute to the chess literature so here are a few of his books

  1. My Best Games with White
  2. My Best Games with Black
  3. Practical Rook Endings
  4. The KGB plays chess.
  5. Chess is my life 3 volumes.

These are a few of his noteworthy books.

Masterpieces by Korchnoi –


It was 6th June 2016. Korchnoi suffered the second stroke of his life and was no more with us. It was truly a sad day for the chess world as we lost a gem, a fighter who was strong, aggressive and competitive. With this, we end the series of “Legends who were near World Champions” by covering Paul Morphy, Paul Keres, David Bronstein and Viktor Korchnoi . I hope you enjoyed the series and got to learn a lot from them.

Tagged : / / / / /

David Bronstein – The tricky David !

Happy International Chess Day to all of you !

‘Was David Bronstein an outstanding player? He was a genius, what a genius! A genius is somebody ahead of his time, and Bronstein was far ahead of his time.’–Victor Korchnoi

This is the third article on the series of “Legends who were near world champions!”

Initial years of Bronstein

David Bronstein was born on 19 February 1924 in Bila Tserkva, Ukraine. He was born in a poor family and had to face a lot of hardship in his initial years. Bronstein learned chess from his grandfather. He achieved success in his age group events. He completed his high school and decided to study mathematics at university of Kiev. Like Paul Keres, even Bronstein’s academic as well as chess career was interrupted by World War 2.


The impact of World War 2.

As the World war 2 was going on chess as well as academics was at a halt. Furthermore, David’s father was imprisoned for giving controversial statements. David had a defect of eyesight so he was declared unfit for military. Thus during the world war, he had to do part-time jobs to get a living. He did work hard and kept pace with chess.

Opportunities do come when you are working hard on things you wish to pursue. Same was the case with Bronstein. \In his first-ever mega event, Bronstein beat the eventual champion Botvinnik in their direct encounter. Thus he kept his efforts at peak got his deserved place in the Soviet team.

Proving his strength at the top level

Bronstein made the best use of the opportunities he got and kept on producing strong performances. In 1950 candidates, he shared first place with his training partner Isaak Boleslavsky. He best Boleslavsky in tie breaks to qualify for the match with Mikhail Botvinnik. This was his biggest achievement till then.

World Championship match with Botvinnik

The rules of world championship back then were, 24 games to be played. The current world champion was given the liberty to claim the title at 12-12 which meant that if the challenger (Bronstein) had to win he had to score 12.5. Thus began their match. The first 4 games were drawn. Then Bronstein broke the deadlock in the 5th game but conceded a point in the 6th. Thus the seesaw battle started.

Both players exchanged blows at regular intervals and when it seemed Botvinnik had taken a solid one-point lead, Bronstein came back strongly to win the 21st and 22nd game. This gave him a full point lead over Botvinnik. Thus everyone expected Bronstein to win the match by drawing the last two games. But it was Botvinnik who had the last laugh as he won the 23rd game and drew the final game. Thus Botvinnik retained his title and Bronstein had to content with the Runner-Up position.

1953 Zurich Candidates

The next opportunity where Bronstein could qualify for the world championship was 1953 candidates. Although he did not win it he was a strong contender. This candidates match was so interesting that later he wrote a book on this tournament which is till date one of the topmost recommended books.  Later in his book Sorcerer’s Apprentice, he mentioned the pressure put on him and Keres not to win the championship. He further mentioned that Keres and him being non-Russians was the main reason why they both didn’t become world champions which can be considered as a hint of external pressure on them during tournaments. The book Zurich International Chess Tournament 1953 can be bought from here.

 Success apart form World Championship

Bronstein made a huge contribution to the soviet team which won Gold in chess Olympiad 1952,1954,1956,1958. He was the best player on Board 4 in 1952 and 1956 and Best on board 3 in 1958. Further major tournament victories were achieved at Hastings 1953–54, Belgrade 1954, Gotha 1957, Moscow 1959, Szombathely 1966, East Berlin 1968, Dnepropetrovsk 1970, Sarajevo 1971, Sandomierz 1976, Iwonicz Zdrój 1976, Budapest 1977, and Jūrmala 1978.

David Bronstein as a writer

David Bronstein contributed a lot to chess literature. His famous book 1953 Zurich International Candidates Championship, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, 200 open games, The modern chess self-tutor and much more. He also brought evolution to the Kings Indian Defense with the help of his country mates Efim Geller and Isaak Boleslavsky.

Top qualities of David Bronstein

Bronstein was a strong tactician, he had a great combinative vision. He was good at playing complicated positions to produce insane tactics. Bronstein was a creative thinker. Even before Fischer recommended increment and chess960, it was Bronstein who had this idea in mind to introduce new variants in chess. This is the reason Victor the Great has said “Was Bronstein an outstanding player? He was a genius, what a genius! A genius is somebody ahead of his time, and Bronstein was far ahead of his time.

After knowing about David Bronstein lets have a look at some of his brilliant games –


Here are some of his masterpieces –





Previous articles on this series –

  1. Paul Morphy – “The First Unofficial World Champion” – https://chessarticle.com/paul-morphy/
  2. Paul Keres “The Eternal Second” – https://chessarticle.com/paul-keres/


Tagged : / / / /

Paul Keres “The Eternal Second”

Continuing the series of Legends who were near world champions! Today we cover Paul Keres, The Crown Prince from Estonia.

Beginning of Chess

Paul Keres, born on 7 January 1916 in Narva, Estonia. His father and brother taught him the basics of chess. As he lived in a small town, chess literature was scarce. He had to make a lot of effort to gain knowledge about the game. Keres started solving puzzles daily from the newspaper. After the initial education, Keres studied Mathematics from 1937-1941 at the University of Tartu. He was a strong Grandmaster + a good chess writer! Paul had two nicknames given by the chess fraternity – Crown Prince of Chess and Paul The Eternal Second. The reason behind this is assumed to be his luck factor where he couldn’t win world championship qualification match i.e the candidates at 5 intervals which made him end up as a runner-up. Paul is one of the few players who have beaten 9 or more world champions.  He was in his peak form from the 1930s till the 1960s.

Making a mark at the top level

Keres slowly but steadily improved his play and used to win significantly at school level tournaments followed by other events. His major breakthrough came when he won his first Estonian National Championship in 1935. This was followed by a lot of good performances. Then he played on Board 1 at Olympiad which was held at Warsaw in the same year. With a lot of good performances following up Keres was making a mark on the map of the chess world. In 1936, Munich Unofficial Olympiad Keres won a Gold medal on Board 1. He made a strong contribution to the team when Estonia won Bronze in 1939, Buenos Aries.

Keres and World War 2

With Keres in peak form and proper age to fight for a world title, things started to get complicated. World War 2 happened. Keres was playing frequently but the problem was that his country was initially conquered by Soviets then by Germans and finally again by Soviets. It is a mystery that immediately after world war ended, Keres was rarely winning events. He started to have surprising results. In one of the candidates, Keres lost 4 games to Mikhail Botvinnik. It is suspected that Keres was being forced to throw points to the ones who were eventual winners of the tournaments. These events started to happen at recurring intervals. Keres used to get setbacks and rarely win tournaments. The string of constantly being either the runner-up or the joint runner-up got him the nickname “Paul the Eternal Second” by chess players and followers.

Improving results with the change in federation

Once Estonia became a part of the Soviet Union, Keres won Soviet championships thrice. Keres represented the Soviet Union in 7 consecutive Chess Olympiads after this merger. The success was mind-blowing. The Soviet Union won all the titles and Keres won 6 individual Gold Medals and 1 Bronze medal. Since 1955 his charm was back. He was winning tournaments regularly and it can convince us that the threats he must be received at that time must have taken a halt. Then there was no looking back. Keres won a lot of elite-level tournaments, the list is unending. Although he never won the world title he did beat 9 world champions. So he was no way inferior to them.

Post Peak Period

Since 1973 Keres started to have health issues due to which he did not play any major events in 1974. In 1975 he won a major tournament in Tallinn. Within a few months at the age of 59 Chess lost a legend. While returning to Estonia Keres suffered a heart attack and lived his last breath there. There is another theory that he died on the same day in Vancouver [Canada].

Paul Keres the Writer

Paul Keres used his knowledge and understanding to write some very nice literature in chess. Following are his books –

  1. Practical Chess Endgames
  2. The Road to the Top
  3. Power Chess: Great Grandmaster Battles from Russia
  4. The quest of perfection
  5. The Art of Middlegame: Paul Keres and Alexander Kotov
  6. The Early Games of Paul Keres
  7. The Middle Years of Paul Keres
  8. The later years of Paul Keres


Keres was a living example of the statement “With being a good sportsman you should also be a good human being”.  When Keres tragically died in 1975 due to heart attack. There were more than 100000 people who attended the funeral ceremony. The government issued a postal stamp as well as a currency note dedicating it to him. To add to it a bronze statue was made on his 100th birthday on 7th Jan 2016. This just shows us Paul Keres must be a gentleman!

The Postal stamp with Keres on it



5 Estonian Krooni Banknote with Keres on it.


A statue of Paul Keres.


Paul Keres tomb in Estonia







Another achievement is one of the variations in Sicilian is named after Keres which goes- e4 c5 Nf3 d6 d4 cxd4 Nxd4 Nf6 Nc3 e6 g4.

After knowing so much about the person let us look at a few of his masterpieces –


To conclude we can say that Paul Keres was a deserving Candidate in the World Champion’s List. Also huge respect to the Estonian public who have embraced their Gem and have given tribute to him.


Tagged : / / / / /