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Old 02-20-2015, 08:43 AM   #26
NL Loki
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 19/2/2015

Day 6

It's Chinese New Year. Gong Hey Fat Choy! Took abit of a break to refresh.
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Old 02-20-2015, 08:49 AM   #27
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 20/2/2015

Day 7

Thanks for the constructive criticism guys. It was motivating and It's helping me pick up the pace. I believe I can be full steam ahead soon enough.

Managed spend a few hours doing positional puzzles and exercises. Also studying a few "techniques" and positional maneuvers from Techniques of Positional Play by Bronznik and Terekhin. I'll share a few of these with you guys in the coming posts.

I do think I can allocate few hours a day to study chess. Time commitment is not a big issue if I can use my time efficiently. It's all about keeping the motivations. I manage to do this last year with mixed success and still had a tremendous amount of improvement rating and skill wise.

All I need is you guys to keep me in check and make sure I stay consistent with my effort.
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Old 02-21-2015, 10:10 AM   #28
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 21/2/2015

Day 8

Looked at some themes today. A few classical games where the bishop on d7 retreats to e8 looking to reroute to f7 with ideas of e6-e5. Useful in alot of lines in french and slav since theres the d5-e6-f7 pawn chain. Although it'll be less useful to me due to my opening repetiorre, it's still good to know (might even pick up Slav).

Also preparing to look at the "pendulum manoeuvre", very important idea where you use an intermediate move, often put a piece on a provision square to induce a concession from opponent, then move the piece to actual location. This is prevalent in opening theory.

Although some people say openings are overrated, I do thing openings are VERY important to be competitive, and in fact strength correlates with how deep you know your opening and how you can push the game into the lines and positions you understand.

Of course, we shouldn't forget calculation, tactics, positional play and endgames too :P

Mt study in the future should be more opening orientated.
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:17 PM   #29
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by NL Loki View Post
Looked at some themes today. A few classical games where the bishop on d7 retreats to e8 looking to reroute to f7 with ideas of e6-e5.
I guess you also want to look into the Snake Benoni
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Old 02-21-2015, 08:23 PM   #30
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Don't forget that actually playing games and learning from your losses is the best way to improve.
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:24 AM   #31
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Yea of course. I play alot online and also trying to play more OTB games in the future.

But mainly I play against computer engines that are designed for training purposes. Chess System Tal, W Chess and Phalanx are all good engines to play against as a sparring partney. They are programmed to play more like human compared to the unbeatable engines like fritz and stockfish. Which is why they are good to train against (e.g. Chess System Tal has a style that plays very aggressive and tactical, thriving for complications, even sometimes making unsound sacrifice, so good to test out defensive techniques. Phalanx is more positional and you can gain alot of insight from playing it).
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:32 AM   #32
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 22/2/2015 - 25/2/2015

Day 9 - 12

Sorry I didn't update on my progress

Was on a Person of Interest marathon, got through almost 70 episodes (around 3 seasons worth).
I did manage to get some chess done, did some positional techniques study and puzzles.
Still struggling to get back into the intensive training that I managed to achieve a few months last year. Some motivation would help guys

Had an enlightening discussion with my chess coach over skype, and we came to some interesting theory:

It is more practical to focus on tactics and calculation. Because at most level Chess is mostly tactics. This is true even up to 2400-2500. Openings and endgames help alot, but the bulk of focus should be on tactics.

Knowing the little details in positions may only be more important at the elite levels (2600-2700+), when everyone calculate deeply. To practically improve, you should still put alot of emphasis on raw calculations and tactical vision. This seems to be most relevant for my goal level (2200-2300).

Also this theory is abit shaky, it might be a useful insight to being realistic and practical in what areas I should focus on.
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Old 02-27-2015, 08:55 AM   #33
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 26/2/2015 - 27/2/2015

Day 13 -14

Day 13 I was busy doing something

Day 14, I finally managed to got some serious work done.
I woke up at 3pm and began studying some strategy.
Mainly prophylactic techniques on bishops.
Then I continued doing some positional exercises on positional consequences on move.

Hopefully, I'll get some tactics done before I sleep

I made a decision that I will keep grinding this at least until mid year (day 140) before evaluating whether I should be continuing this. I have financial obligations and alot of other priorities in this stage of my life, so maybe it's in my best interest to re-evaluate at that point in time.

I haven't had a great start, but I think I'm finally on track (took 2 weeks lol), lets keep up the effort.
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Old 02-28-2015, 09:06 AM   #34
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 28/2/2015

Day 15

Was mostly out today, got some time to study some tactical theory. I should be doing tactics again soon enough.

Decided to copy my coach's opening repetiorre. He's been very successful with the English. I'm mainly doing this to avoid book-bashing too many deep lines. Also, I'm choosing 1.c4 instead of 1.Nf3 as my starting move, as the latter require more finese and knowledge of specific move orders in the English. Aiming to have a pretty narrow repetiorre where I can execute the themes well.

Mainly I'll be researching/studying these responses to 1.c4
1. ...e5
1. ...c5
dutch setups
kings indian setups
transpositions into slav
transpositions into queens gambit

These seems to be most of black's options.
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Old 03-02-2015, 08:27 AM   #35
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Quote:
Originally Posted by NL Loki View Post
A few classical games where the bishop on d7 retreats to e8 looking to reroute to f7 with ideas of e6-e5. Useful in alot of lines in french and slav since theres the d5-e6-f7 pawn chain. Although it'll be less useful to me due to my opening repetiorre, it's still good to know (might even pick up Slav).
Is this a joke? That is a really obscure theme that is super pointless to know at the 1800 level.

Your study should be:

50% tactics
50% endgames

Adjust when you pass 2200.

I have to say (as others have said) that a study plan that involves this many "did nothing today" days as yours *in the first two weeks* is really not indicative that you're going to come close. In fact, I might be willing to bet that you won't cross 2000 in your suggested 6 month time frame.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:04 AM   #36
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Is this a joke? That is a really obscure theme that is super pointless to know at the 1800 level.

Your study should be:

50% tactics
50% endgames

Adjust when you pass 2200.

I have to say (as others have said) that a study plan that involves this many "did nothing today" days as yours *in the first two weeks* is really not indicative that you're going to come close. In fact, I might be willing to bet that you won't cross 2000 in your suggested 6 month time frame.

1. Nope, not a joke. You obviously just read my first week, and haven't looked at my current progress, I'm consistently putting work in day 10 ish onwards. And the "did nothing" was because I was sick for the first week and had to go to hospital. I remember writing this earlier. Maybe I'll reach my goal, maybe I won't, but at least, I'm putting consistent effort right now.

2. I'm following a training schedule set by my coach, and the International Chess School (run by Grandmasters)

3. I do tactics daily

4. You underestimate the importance of openings and understanding the themes that associate with the openings you play. Most people can't pass 2000 because they lack the understanding of planning after the opening and positional theme

5. Endgames have to be studied in relation with the openings you plan

6. Positional technique are no means useless at any level. They are essentially how you win game, along with tactics

7. "The very initial stage we call conditionally our 'base line'. The aim at this stage is to acquire a playing skill of approximately 2200 ELO. At this stage a chess player must have a successfully tested opening repertoire which includes 2 openings as White and 2 openings with the black pieces. The chess player must master tactics (60-70 per cent of a success rate solving problems of an intermediate difficulty), acquire a firm knowledge of the basics of chess strategy, ie. How a position's evaluation is developed and what are its components, familiarize with about 15-25 common plans from the chess classic examples, know typical chess endings: evaluation, plan of play and standard tactical methods for approximately 250 endgame positions. It is necessary to acquire the skills of working with a computer and with chess software." You should look at this: http://www.convekta.com/softscho/l1/lesson_3.html

8. Of course, you seem very confident in your opinion, can you please tell me your experience with chess and training (e.g. rating, past training history). I'll gladly take in your opinion, but you have to give me something more specific than 50% tactics and 50% Endgame (that's very very generalised)

Last edited by NL Loki; 03-02-2015 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 03-02-2015, 10:08 AM   #37
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 1/2/2015 - 2/2/2015

Day 16 -17

Studied some game analysis.

Began working on my english repetiorre. Started analysing reverse sicilian lines in the English (1. c4 e5). Coach gave me this one to work with first:

1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 (4... d5 5. cxd5 Nxd5 6. Bg2 Nb6) 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4 7. Ng5 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Re8 9. f3 e3 10. d3 d5 11. Qb3 Na5 12. Qa3 c6 13. cxd5 cxd5 *

This leads to quite interesting ideas with the e3 pawn. Plans involve either trying to gain this pawn by force, and opening up the c file and a1-h8 diagonal with things like c4. Began testing against an Engine for ideas.
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Old 03-02-2015, 11:51 AM   #38
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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1. Nope, not a joke. You obviously just read my first week, and haven't looked at my current progress
Day 9-12: watched 70 episodes of a TV show. Day 13, doing "something else". Yeah, I read it all.

Quote:
4. You underestimate the importance of openings and understanding the themes that associate with the openings you play. Most people can't pass 2000 because they lack the understanding of planning after the opening and positional theme
I don't disagree with you here, but you should be studying much more common themes than Bd7-e8-f7. The f6 break alone is a theme unto itself in the french that should be studied, not this obscure rarely used supporting maneuver.

Quote:
5. Endgames have to be studied in relation with the openings you plan
Perhaps long term, but I would say most 1800s are a long way from having the fundamental understanding of, say, rook endings necessary to study in the manner you're suggesting.

Quote:
6. Positional technique are no means useless at any level. They are essentially how you win game, along with tactics
I don't disagree, but again, I think you're much better off studying relevant positional themes than ones like the one you mentioned.

Quote:
8. Of course, you seem very confident in your opinion, can you please tell me your experience with chess and training (e.g. rating, past training history). I'll gladly take in your opinion, but you have to give me something more specific than 50% tactics and 50% Endgame (that's very very generalised)
Current FIDE 2136, NM title in Canada. Boring long list of international players faced and tournaments played.

To be more specific:

Tactics:
There are lots of books about "tactics in the x opening" that are very valuable; you are playing the English so it's critical to understand the light squared themes, how to defend against a space advantage, the various pawn levers involved in breaking a central advantage, how to attack the queenside, etc.

Endgames:
I firmly believe most players at your level (and mine) would do much better to simply study pawn endings and rook endings to get a firm base; the benefits of this are multi: 1) the direct value of knowing these endings, 2) the general understanding of time and square control, 3) developing calculating muscles.

re: positional understanding - simply put, at the level you're at (and a fair bit above it), tactics will decide the games. Grandiose positional schemes are nice, but IMO can be absorbed by osmosis through study of standard tactical themes that run through relevant positions to your openings in that you'll start to see where your pieces need to be to generate tactical opportunities.
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Old 03-03-2015, 03:13 AM   #39
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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I don't disagree with you here, but you should be studying much more common themes than Bd7-e8-f7. The f6 break alone is a theme unto itself in the french that should be studied, not this obscure rarely used supporting maneuver.



Perhaps long term, but I would say most 1800s are a long way from having the fundamental understanding of, say, rook endings necessary to study in the manner you're suggesting.



I don't disagree, but again, I think you're much better off studying relevant positional themes than ones like the one you mentioned.



Current FIDE 2136, NM title in Canada. Boring long list of international players faced and tournaments played.

To be more specific:

Tactics:
There are lots of books about "tactics in the x opening" that are very valuable; you are playing the English so it's critical to understand the light squared themes, how to defend against a space advantage, the various pawn levers involved in breaking a central advantage, how to attack the queenside, etc.

Endgames:
I firmly believe most players at your level (and mine) would do much better to simply study pawn endings and rook endings to get a firm base; the benefits of this are multi: 1) the direct value of knowing these endings, 2) the general understanding of time and square control, 3) developing calculating muscles.

re: positional understanding - simply put, at the level you're at (and a fair bit above it), tactics will decide the games. Grandiose positional schemes are nice, but IMO can be absorbed by osmosis through study of standard tactical themes that run through relevant positions to your openings in that you'll start to see where your pieces need to be to generate tactical opportunities.
I think I might know you, is your name Matthew? Or maybe you know Matthew.

I do tactics with programs like CT Art, and Also use chess tempo.

I do think the f6 break is useful tho, for my opening. Theres a few lines in white where English tranposes to queen gambit, and maybe a slav line where I think It's useful.

It's true tactics determine alot of games (so I obviously am working on it). But if I choose a positional repetiorre that involved alot of manoeuvring like the English, learning these "grandiose" looking theme would be important, since I'm playing alot of close systems.

I know pawn and rook endgames are important (good book is Dvoretsky's Endgame books and Nunn's) but what practical endgames do you usually arrive at. I see alot of minor piece endgames in the lines I play. What opening did you play to get to the endgames you usually have to face. Wouldn't it be more practical to study the likely endgames that usually arrives from your lines than a generic one (especially on a uni student's schedule)??
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Old 03-03-2015, 08:48 AM   #40
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 3/3/2015

Day 18

Almost finished with Month 1 of the International Chess School Core Course. It's quite a workload, It's been a few weeks now!

Did the end of month test which was supposed to measured your skill level up to 2300. The test includes positions played by a 2250 in consecutive tournaments, and I have to analyse and decide the right plans and give concrete variations. I'm half done and doing quite well.

Interestingly, my coach share the same opinion with @Punker, that tactics is SUPER IMPORTANT and decide most games <2300 ish. Taking this into mind, I would make sure tactical training is my first priority in the coming days onwards.

I would at least require myself to study tacticals daily as an essential baseline, then focusing on my opening repetiorre. Middlegame and Endgame strategy will have to take 3rd and 4th priority respectively.

I'm sleeping early today course my uni course lecture starts 9am tommorow. It's a course on religion :P which has no use for my degree since I do a Law/Science (Advanced) double degree. But at this point, I really don't give a fk anymore, just gonna play chess and run up a few million in poker.
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Old 03-04-2015, 02:17 PM   #41
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Has your chess coach given you a advice on a specific routine to follow and how your time should be optimally invested? I'd assume most coaches have something handy like that which should give their students something consistent to follow and also helpful when following up. I.e. He has something to point to in order to make sure a student isn't going off in weird directions (e.g. spending 2 hours of tactical study on bullet games instead).

Quote:
Originally Posted by NL Loki View Post
7. "The very initial stage we call conditionally our 'base line'. The aim at this stage is to acquire a playing skill of approximately 2200 ELO. At this stage a chess player must have a successfully tested opening repertoire which includes 2 openings as White and 2 openings with the black pieces. The chess player must master tactics (60-70 per cent of a success rate solving problems of an intermediate difficulty), acquire a firm knowledge of the basics of chess strategy, ie. How a position's evaluation is developed and what are its components, familiarize with about 15-25 common plans from the chess classic examples, know typical chess endings: evaluation, plan of play and standard tactical methods for approximately 250 endgame positions. It is necessary to acquire the skills of working with a computer and with chess software." You should look at this: http://www.convekta.com/softscho/l1/lesson_3.html
Is this the school your coach has you following? Or is it something you just randomly found to try and figure out how someone might very generally summarize what 2200 ELO is in terms of study metrics?
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Old 03-05-2015, 12:34 AM   #42
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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Has your chess coach given you a advice on a specific routine to follow and how your time should be optimally invested? I'd assume most coaches have something handy like that which should give their students something consistent to follow and also helpful when following up. I.e. He has something to point to in order to make sure a student isn't going off in weird directions (e.g. spending 2 hours of tactical study on bullet games instead).



Is this the school your coach has you following? Or is it something you just randomly found to try and figure out how someone might very generally summarize what 2200 ELO is in terms of study metrics?
My coach has his own system which is mostly about doing tactics and studying games (he does forbid me to play bullet).

The Quote you referenced is not from International Chess School (which was recommended by my 2100+ friends). The quote is about Convetka, the company that made the hugely acclaimed CT Art Tactics, by a Russian (obviously) trainer that worked with his students. http://chessok.com/?p=21207
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Old 03-05-2015, 01:54 PM   #43
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Ahh, ok, I see.
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:53 AM   #44
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 4/3/2015 - 6/3/2015

Day 19 - 21

I should probably show you guys some pics, of what kind of things I study to get a good idea.

Finished the 2300 rating positional test (I'll try to upload some of the position on here), and scored quite well. Found the right moves and plans for almost every single position (and had an idea in the ones I got wrong).



Still waiting for my book on the English Opening to arrive... It'll help me with the process of building an opening tree (heres a pic)



I'm posting right now as of the middle of day 21, goona do alot of tactics now!
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:11 AM   #45
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

UPDATE: 7/3/2015 - 9/3/2015

Day 22 - 24

Been going through tactics and past tactic puzzle i did in 2014, alot of them are endgame studies and super tough (2200+elo level).... Alot of the study ones are stalemating tricks and fortresses which are interesting, but may not be too useful for me

Here's a super tough puzzle
HINT: calculate ahead to see potential defense resources for the opponent and ELIMINATE THEM
White to move and win (do it without an engine please!)




I'll upload a few more later...
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:03 AM   #46
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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Old 03-10-2015, 06:29 PM   #47
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:11 PM   #48
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Old 03-12-2015, 01:17 AM   #49
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

Re3 has to be crushing.
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Old 03-12-2015, 05:06 AM   #50
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Re: Road to FIDE master title (FM): Improvement and Motivational Log

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Spoiler:
King just goes Ka7, not queen with check...



Anywayz, here is the solution, and it's explanation (which is pretty complex), you can improve your tactical skill by understanding some important aspects of tactical theory: hidden resources and geometric details


1. b6+ Ka8 2. Re1!! Nxe1 3. g7 h1=Q 4. g8=Q+ Bb8 5. a7 Nc6+! 6. dxc6 Qxh5+ 7. Qg5!! Qxg5+ 8. Ka6 Bxa7 9. c7


The thing we should know here is that, white has idea of just b6+ followed by promoting Q=g8 with check then a7 leading to mate, or even king coming in to a6 and mate the king with pawns

But black has alot of defensive ideas/resources, like perpetual checks and harass from the g1 Queen (after black promotes)

The move Re1 is to close off the first rank and essentially removing the defensive resource for black to check (would take another tempo)

However Black has the hidden resource Nc6+! which would change the kings position and allow a check from the queen and the variations could get messy. So after dxc6, Qh5+ looks like peppy saves the day

However, the stunning Qg5! sacrificing the queen and allowing the king to tuck into a6 and hide from check for one more move means everything, as white can mate black straight away

This puzzle demonstrate how tempo and urgency is key in precise calculations as one move can save everything just in time. So think outside the book and look for ideas you instantly dismiss in your head and logically ask yourself how you can counter your opponent resources.

Is there anything I can do to take this idea away from him
What are some possible resources I have? Look for forcing moves





Anywayz, I'll keep you guys updated on my progress...
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