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Tac-Tac Train - All Aboard!
Compiled by fredthebear

Use these games to test your OTB thought process. A variety of different openings and variations are included; many are less common to help alleviate the "surprise" factor. Games with different themes have been selected. They tend to be slightly unusual and/or contain a sequence of tactical threats. Not all draws are created equal. This would make a great "brush up" review the week of a tournament, and/or perhaps the week after a tournament depending upon your persuasion.

This opens w/double king pawn games to get the juices flowing. Common attack and checkmate patterns are included.

A few interesting closed-type positions (less tactical for the first 20 moves) are included toward the bottom, as they can be quite frustrating for some players to tackle. The key is to gain space and increase mobility by understanding where to break through, bringing forces to bare on a weak point (perhaps tie up defenders tripping over one another and then attack elsewhere faster than they are able to respond; the concept of inflicting two weaknesses). Be prepared to sacrifice in order to break through IF your forces will be the first to utilize the newly opened line; otherwise keep it closed since you can't get there first.

About 20% of all moves in a game of chess are captures. Always calculate the consequences of a capture, re-capture (or zwischenzug check) and what occurs next, even if the initial capture seems unlikely. Check for a sting in the tail of a combination; always give your opponent the last move when analyzing any line. (If his last move contains a threat, then you're not done calculating... look a few moves deeper until he doesn't have a threat available, or you have a greater threat in response.)

IMHO, the second biggest mistake you can make the day before a tournament is to review your opening plans, your repertoire of openings. Do not bother w/opening studies just prior to a tournament. That work should be harped on weeks away. (Going in, I have never felt fully prepared for all the possible opening lines and variations that my opponent could play. Chess is just too vast for that w/ECO codes A-E, 1-99; it's delightfully immense! There is always a bit of opening preparation doubt, depending upon how deep the opening variation lasts. However, I do know what my first few moves are in advance and whether I will accept or decline various pawn offers.) Just relax and go with what you know. Let's recall Cecil Purdy's advice: "Simple plans are best. Tactics will prevail." A chess tournament is a marathon of good moves, one after the other, so don't obsess over the opening phase... just keep on developing your pieces to bare on the center A.S.A.P.

It is O.K. to review your Black defense to 1.e4 the week of a tournament. This situation is likely to occur, and rather theoretical. However, you MUST NOT burn the midnight oil. It is better to write a dozen main lines down on a notecard and review the card during breaks at school/work. Of course, a person could be doing this year-round, not just tournament week.

Perhaps the most enlightening time to study an opening is between games (if enough time exists) and immediately after a tournament. What opening line was played? When did we leave the book? Was there a trap available? What did we chose not to play? Memorize that book line out a few moves farther, not the wrong move. "That's the move I should have played" will stick with you if you do this consistently after each tournament.

Some daily physical exercise is always to be recommended. The most important preparation is to drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep two or three nights prior to a tournament. Staying up late to put in extra work on your chess game is a HUGE mistake. Often, I get excited w/anticipation the night before a tournament and have difficulty sleeping that eve. (Looking at a few minor piece endgame positions usually helps curb my chess craving and let's me relax enough to fall asleep w/a positive outlook.) The extra sleep I took two or three days out sustains me. If I don't bank the extra sleep, I'll be less patient and start dragging in the later rounds. Don't be that guy that taps out because s/he stayed up late and ran outta gas in the third round! That's just plain irresponsible to one's self.

I also prefer to eat chili or bean burritos three days out to flush out my bowl system and then carbohydrate load (breads & pastas) the day before w/pizza or spaghetti so that I don't get hungry during a tournament. It's not wise to eat during a tournament as digestion diverts some oxygen from the brain and can make one sluggish. How many times have you ate a meal and then started to nod off 30 minutes later? To my knowledge, I have never lost a tournament match to an opponent who was eating a sandwich at the board, or just finished eating a meal (rating strength is always relevant, of course) tipped off by their large fast-food refill cup. I suppose a quick snack of some raisins, celery or an energy bar wouldn't hurt during a match but leave the peanuts alone out of respect for those who might be allergic to nuts. If I need something, I just suck on a piece of soothing peppermint and sip water.

Whatever you eat or don't eat is secondary to drinking plenty of water/tea days in advance to be well-hydrated and well-rested. All the billions of tiny cells in your body need water to function properly. It goes without saying that if you're on some sort of medication, be sure to take it!

What about sex the night before a tournament? Absolutely! You'll sleep like a baby afterward. What about sex the morning of the tournament? Sure! You're a winner either way! Sex during a tournament?? Never tried it. If you're thinking about sex during a tournament, you're screwed. Your performance will suffer if your mind is in two different places. Focus on the 64 squares in front of you.

For a young student, just do the normal school prep routine and s/he's probably good to go. Don't eat/drink sugar or greasy foods on game day (NO FAST FOOD burger, fries or soda). Leave those silly hand-held electronic games at home to focus on chess.

Finally, do remember this... ANYTHING can happen, and sooner or later it does. You will have good tournaments and bad ones, and plenty of so-so results too. There will always be a move that you find later in hindsight that you'd wish you'd played differently; that's just how it is in chess. Don't beat yourself up over it. {Win, lose or draw, remain calm and quiet. Our character-conduct in the process start to finish is far more important than the actual results.} Be honorable, a champion of good manners, integrity and self-control regardless of the results. Be a nice fellow, friendly to all; forget the past, hold no grudges, and be a good sport!! Please, no outbursts, no arrogance, no bragging!! Nobody likes a braggart. Never show up your opponent. Never poke fun, celebrate yourself, or rub it in even if s/he did something questionable or cheesy. Others should look up to you as a gracious, dignified and admirable person worthy of emulation, not as a successful competitor.

Ratings matter not; they will change like the weather. Ratings are an indicator of past performance, not of future success or failure. Ratings guarantee nothing. You as a person (a humble gentleman and a scholar), a person of faith should be so much, much more than your chess rating! Your character image should be steady as a rock, reliable and true to doing the right thing at all times and welcoming to others. People should like you for being you -- the way you act; not because you won a chess match, not because you're cute w/words.

I am reminded of George Koltanowski, Larry Christensen and Ken as I write this. On the flip side of the coin, a few other stinkers also come to mind that totally miss the point that chess is a great past time for our enjoyment that should be SHARED with others who are like-minded; winning does not make them a great person. A great person sets a good example and serves others, and does not self-promote. Chess will not make us a great person, but chess does provide a platform, an opportunity to interact positively. To feel a need to be adored because you conquered someone at chess is not healthy at all. Do your best, treat others well, enjoy the activity, renew old acquaintances, and at the very least you retain your self-respect even if other competitors garner more of the spotlight. Win, lose, or draw, be a champion of good character! Sore losers and self-promoting big mouths are chUmps.

Sicilian Paulsen (B47) 0-1 Baiting the line of check w/a piece
E Moskalyuk vs M Brodsky, 1998 
(B47) Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation, 9 moves, 0-1

Sicilian Nezhmetdinov-Rossolimo Attk (B30) 1-0 Overworked Pawn
Rozentalis vs B Barth Sahl, 1988 
(B30) Sicilian, 22 moves, 1-0

This version is not as easy to attack as the original version.
J Westman vs E Havansi, 1964 
(C20) King's Pawn Game, 16 moves, 1-0

Keep going! Why is s/he letting have this?! Keep going!
Schlezer vs Chigorin, 1878 
(C60) Ruy Lopez, 12 moves, 0-1

Vienna Game: Stanley Var. Reversed Spanish (C26) 1-0Kick it in!
H Hallmann vs W Schneider, 1931 
(C26) Vienna, 13 moves, 1-0

"Old Kentucky" ~ The opponent doesn't have to make a book move.
NN vs Blackburne, 1884  
(C51) Evans Gambit, 14 moves, 0-1

First cut the king off -- no escape -- then deliver checkmate!
L Larsson vs C Erlandsson, 1966 
(C57) Two Knights, 16 moves, 0-1

Create Open Lines
Blackburne vs NN, 1875 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 19 moves, 1-0

Who's turn to take out the garbage?
Dzindzichashvili vs Kalandazichvili, 1967 
(C45) Scotch Game, 18 moves, 1-0

An old weapon still can kill.
Astapovich vs Golosov, 1967 
(C45) Scotch Game, 11 moves, 1-0

Two Common Attacking Schemes, One Defense
Charousek vs J Wollner, 1893 
(C21) Center Game, 19 moves, 1-0

Don't dig yourself into a hole (in front of the backward pawn).
Wall vs Kubasek, 1974 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 12 moves, 1-0

If you put the question to the knight, you might not like the a
Faruq vs Navab, 1959 
(A53) Old Indian, 10 moves, 1-0

From Fred Reinfeld's "Great Short Games of the Chess Masters"
Kiss vs G Barcza, 1934 
(B00) Uncommon King's Pawn Opening, 14 moves, 0-1

If the King is not available, then ask the Queen.
T Purser vs Euwe, 1978 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 15 moves, 1/2-1/2

Checks, Captures, Pawn Promotions are key. Then Forks & Pins.
Ghitescu vs Fischer, 1960 
(E46) Nimzo-Indian, 14 moves, 0-1

Your opponent is not as dumb as s/he looks.
Reshevsky vs R Margolit, 1968 
(E42) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 c5, 5.Ne2 (Rubinstein), 9 moves, 0-1

Undermine: Do not rely upon a defender that can be removed.
F Visier Segovia vs Tal, 1966 
(A53) Old Indian, 15 moves, 0-1

Go West Young Man (It's not for everybody though.)
Kasparov vs G West, 1977 
(B40) Sicilian, 12 moves, 1-0

The computer has it's own approach.
Bronstein vs M20, 1963 
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 23 moves, 1-0

If possible, unpin immediately because it will only get worse.
D Genz vs D Boehmer, 1985 
(D06) Queen's Gambit Declined, 11 moves, 1-0

Two deep thinkers do battle.
Kotov vs Petrosian, 1949 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 13 moves, 1-0

There's more than one way to protect a pawn.
A Dunkelblum vs Keres, 1937 
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 22 moves, 0-1

Even World Champions make mistakes.
L Christiansen vs Karpov, 1993 
(E12) Queen's Indian, 12 moves, 1-0

In the shooting gallery again...
Bathelt vs Leutz, 1957 
(D52) Queen's Gambit Declined, 10 moves, 0-1

Sicilian Alapin (B22) 0-1Safety determines which way to capture
Alekhine vs E Cima, 1943 
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 25 moves, 0-1

Game 25: Bobby Fischer Rediscovered (Andy Soltis)
Fischer vs F Olafsson, 1961 
(B27) Sicilian, 38 moves, 1-0

On his way to Paris...
V Borsony vs A Laustsen, 1956 
(B70) Sicilian, Dragon Variation, 7 moves, 1-0

Sicilian Dragon Levenfish (B71)Open d-file zap QxQd8 after Ne6+
J L Alvarez del Monte vs C Hounie Fleurquin, 1961 
(B71) Sicilian, Dragon, Levenfish Variation, 9 moves, 1-0

A race for W to crack open the h-file & Black crack open c-file
Fischer vs S Purevzhav, 1962 
(B77) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 22 moves, 1-0

"Slaying the Dragon" - Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack (B77)
Fischer vs Larsen, 1958 
(B77) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 31 moves, 1-0

Sic Dragon. Yugoslav Attack Panov (B76) 0-1 Outrageous swindle
Efimenko vs R Forster, 2011 
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 43 moves, 0-1

Sic Dragon. Yugoslav Attack Sosonko Var (B77) 1-0 Q sac, P&N #
Tal vs R Forbis, 1988 
(B77) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 30 moves, 1-0

Sicilian Dragon Yugoslav Attk Modern Line(B76) 0-1Exchange Sac
Psakhis vs Yurtaev, 1980 
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 42 moves, 0-1

Morphy-like K hunt... There was another way in.
Blackburne vs Thomson, 1885  
(C11) French, 31 moves, 1-0

Efficient, Beautiful Attack
Tartakower vs Lasker, 1924 
(C13) French, 31 moves, 1-0

Lasker and Teichmann were born on the same day, 12/24/1868
Lasker vs Teichmann, 1909  
(C86) Ruy Lopez, Worrall Attack, 27 moves, 1-0

Near 3-fold Repetition... Gets MUCH Bolder!
Reti vs Alekhine, 1925 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 40 moves, 0-1

Pin the tail on the rat -- if you can catch it!
Paulsen vs Blackburne, 1861  
(C00) French Defense, 33 moves, 1-0

Don't Over-React.
Soltis vs Browne, 1970 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 15 moves, 1-0

Some passed pawns are harmless.
Larsen vs Spassky, 1970 
(A01) Nimzovich-Larsen Attack, 17 moves, 0-1

Aim your pieces at royalty across the way, then chip away.
Plachetka vs L Zinn, 1974 
(A04) Reti Opening, 13 moves, 1-0

A bit too aggressive is another way to lose.
Euwe vs Tartakower, 1936  
(D06) Queen's Gambit Declined, 40 moves, 1-0

Flankers can angle around the center.
Timman vs Polugaevsky, 1973 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 15 moves, 1-0

Cecil John Seddon Purdy (1906-1979)
F L Vaughan vs Purdy, 1945 
(D82) Grunfeld, 4.Bf4, 13 moves, 1/2-1/2

That's good to know.
R Bass vs R Armstrong, 1952 
(C23) Bishop's Opening, 10 moves, 1-0

Italian Game: Giuoco Pianissimo. Normal (C50) 1-0 Tremendous!
de Riviere vs Morphy, 1863 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 55 moves, 1-0

Pressure and Defend Carefully
Duras vs H Wolf, 1907 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 39 moves, 1-0

Nuts in a Knot Survival at it's BEST!
Fischer vs Benko, 1962 
(C11) French, 31 moves, 1-0

Check for a good reason, w/a forceful follow up or gain of time
B Wall vs W Wall, 1969 
(C10) French, 12 moves, 1-0

Fischerandom, how unique! (This game is rather sterile though.)
Leko vs Adams, 2001 
(000) Chess variants, 32 moves, 1/2-1/2

Was she worth it? Sometimes your heart overrules your head.
Kasparov vs Fritz, 1992 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 54 moves, 1-0

Opening experts don't play this stuff.
Venert vs V Mechkarov, 1970 
(A50) Queen's Pawn Game, 6 moves, 0-1

Marshall liked to mix it up.
S Steller vs Reig, 1982 
(D06) Queen's Gambit Declined, 7 moves, 1-0

Latvian Gambit (C40) 1-0 Smothered Mate Mini
Kranzle vs Krause, 1939 
(C40) King's Knight Opening, 10 moves, 1-0

Your opponent might not play the main line. So now what?
K Richter vs Vladimir Petrov, 1936
(C40) King's Knight Opening, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Torre Attack: Classical Def (A46) 0-1Pile on pin & fork
P Sangla vs Karpov, 1968 
(A46) Queen's Pawn Game, 11 moves, 0-1

Not as easy as it looked. Make a good move that suggests anothr
Fischer vs Petrosian, 1970 
(B13) Caro-Kann, Exchange, 39 moves, 1-0

Give every piece a job to do (pieces don't like to guard pawns)
Fischer vs E German, 1962 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 30 moves, 1-0

Sorry, friend but I'm stuck here.
Vasiukov vs S Giterman, 1960 
(C64) Ruy Lopez, Classical, 8 moves, 1-0

Mikhail Tal (1936-1992)
Tal vs Jack Miller, 1988 
(C55) Two Knights Defense, 33 moves, 1-0

I got this covered. I got that covered. Everything's covered.
Alekhine vs R Bruce, 1938 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 12 moves, 1-0

The loss of a pawn can yield freedom or expose the position.
Ding Liren vs Ni Hua, 2009 
(D85) Grunfeld, 35 moves, 1-0

Take the Hippo seriously. It dominates it's own domain.
Petrosian vs Spassky, 1966 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 39 moves, 1/2-1/2

Apply pressure where s/he cannot add defenders.
Petrosian vs Vasiukov, 1956 
(A05) Reti Opening, 37 moves, 0-1

English Opening: Anglo-Dutch Defense (A10) 1-0 Cross pin
Robatsch vs Jansa, 1974 
(A10) English, 14 moves, 1-0

Will the Q blockade hold up? She'd rather go shopping.
Petrosian vs Mecking, 1969 
(B06) Robatsch, 41 moves, 1-0

Battle for d-file Supremacy. If you know his plan, stop it.
Molinari vs Bordais, 1979 
(B20) Sicilian, 5 moves, 0-1

Excelling at Technical Chess by Jacob Aagaard, p. 108
Beliavsky vs L Christiansen, 1987 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 38 moves, 1/2-1/2

A Knight and a Bishop like to aim at the same square.
Kaprinay vs H Hubner, 1926 
(A25) English, 8 moves, 1-0

Certain pawn(s) get targeted.
D Cairns vs K Mackley, 1977 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 9 moves, 0-1

Queenless MG ~ What does it look like? Same principles apply.
Karpov vs Salov, 1993
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 57 moves, 1-0

Strike while the iron is hot!
Ziganovic vs Laketic, 1980 
(B13) Caro-Kann, Exchange, 7 moves, 1-0

Heavy Pieces Hammer Away
L Christiansen vs R Henley, 1978 
(A54) Old Indian, Ukrainian Variation, 4.Nf3, 50 moves, 1/2-1/2

Pin it to win it FAILED!
L Spassov vs Adorjan, 1977 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 11 moves, 0-1

What else is in this recipe?
Kieninger vs Mross, 1941 
(B91) Sicilian, Najdorf, Zagreb (Fianchetto) Variation, 14 moves, 1-0

Semi-Slav, Botvinnik System (D44) 1-0 Q sac and more
Kamsky vs Kramnik, 1994 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 41 moves, 1-0

Interesting Wikipedia article on him, with a short rhyme
Jowett vs McDonald, 1885 
(C48) Four Knights, 9 moves, 1-0

Schooled; read the blogger notes. It happens.
Korchnoi vs Carlsen, 2004 
(D34) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 40 moves, 1-0

K's Indian Def Six Pawns Attack (E77) 1-0 Heavies on the 6th
Yermolinsky vs P Hummel, 1999 
(E77) King's Indian, 37 moves, 1-0

The rule of thumb is "Knights Before Bishops"...
J McGrouther vs Robert McCann, 1893 
(B32) Sicilian, 6 moves, 1-0

A bit of Fried Liver w/your Spanish Rice?
Judit Polgar vs Mamedyarov, 2002 
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 23 moves, 1-0

"the kind (of move) you find once in a century"
Kasparov vs Shirov, 2001 
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 38 moves, 1-0

Sicilian Fischer-Sozin Attack. ML (B89) 0-1 BF loses w/White
Fischer vs Geller, 1967 
(B89) Sicilian, 23 moves, 0-1

Slav Defense: Soultanbeieff Var (D16) 1/2-1/2 Lively
Anand vs Karjakin, 2012 
(D16) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 45 moves, 1/2-1/2

Gelfand vs Anand, 1993 
(D20) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 40 moves, 0-1

Dutch Staunton G. (A83) 1-0 Simple yet effective, intermezzo+
A Stefanova vs R Tozer, 1997 
(A83) Dutch, Staunton Gambit, 17 moves, 1-0

Semi-Slav, Meran (D47) 0-1Crossfire, rob the pin, interference
Aronian vs Anand, 2013 
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 23 moves, 0-1

Sicilian Defense: Najdorf (B90) 1-0 Bishop Highway Crossfire
F Visier Segovia vs J Betancort Curbelo, 1968 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 31 moves, 1-0

QGD Exchange (D35) 0-1 Tactics whip Qside minority attack
Karpov vs Beliavsky, 1986 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 36 moves, 0-1

Featured in Seirawan's book Winning Chess Tactics
Gurgenidze vs Tal, 1957 
(A78) Benoni, Classical with ...Re8 and ...Na6, 27 moves, 0-1

Benoni-Indian Def (A43) 1-0 Almost every key tactical device
Karpov vs Topalov, 1994 
(A43) Old Benoni, 36 moves, 1-0

WOW!!! Sacrifice after Sacrifice and mate with three minors!!!
V Malinin vs A Andreev, 1989 
(A58) Benko Gambit, 32 moves, 1-0

Sicilian Najdorf Poisoned P Accepted (B97) 1-0 Ns hammer 6th
Radjabov vs Anand, 2006 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 16 moves, 1-0

A -TREMENDOUS- example of tactical play by Kramnik.
Kramnik vs Aronian, 2007 
(C89) Ruy Lopez, Marshall, 45 moves, 1-0

Sicilian Dragon. Yugoslav Attack Main Line (B77) 1-0 Great game
Motylev vs B Savchenko, 2007 
(B77) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 39 moves, 1-0

96 games

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