• “Piece value” - perform a task with the piece of least value. E.g. when guarding a piece, and all other things are equal, choose the guard of least value1.
  • When two queens are hanging, look for the move that allows your queen to move to safety and check the opponent2.

Pawn Cube

The pawn cube is particularly strong because it allows pushing of the front pawns while leaving defense (back pawns) behind3.



  1. c4

Queen’s Gambit

  • Albin gambit is a tricky response: 1. e4 e5 2. c4 d5 3. exd5 e6
    • a3 as a response is solid and can be met with f6


Tartakower variation

  • White knight takes e4, attack with Nf6, white takes, e pawn takes

  • Develop DSB, castle, rotate the knight (d7xf8xg6)3
  • Assuming white plays h3, Can stack LSB on e6, Queen on d7, Sac bishop to blown open king side



  • Strength of the London hinges on the strength of the d5 pawn. There is the idea of preventing reinforcement via c3, by forcing Kc3 with Qa5 when White’s LSB is on b51.

Smith Morra

  • D4 is a critical weakness Black wants to put a knight there, look to defend with DSB
  • The open C file is a strength for white with the accessibility of the rook
  • When in doubt hunt the black queen

Methods of improving

Marcus Buffet wrote a nice overview of ways to improve your skill between 1200-18004. He suggests getting an opening repo repertoire, then doing puzzle storm and streak. After that mix in blunder preventer exercises. He also outlines other things he tried:

  • Tactical puzzles
    • Some argue that puzzles are counter productive because people do not need calculation practice, but instead pattern recognition4
  • Speed puzzles (puzzle rush / puzzle storm)
    • May make you quicker at assessing a position and spotting what’s happening (e.g. hanging piece)4
  • Woodpecker Method
  • Guess the Move - Try to guess the next move in a grand master game
  • Annotated games - Review annotated games with explanations
  • Memorizing master games - Memorize a master game by understanding it rather than the move order by rote
  • Visualization practice on Chessable. Alternatively there is Blind Tactic On listudy. Goal here is tactic puzzle, but you have to go from a given position to a the new tactical position via notation and then solve the puzzle
  • Coaching
  • YouTube
    • e.g. Gotham Chess
  • Openings
  • End Games
  • Blunder prevention, on AimChess, this is a lesson for finding the move that isn’t a blunder.


Naroditsky, D. 1780 | Speed Run | Learn The London. at (2021).
Daniel Naroditsky. Danya Plays the BONGCLOUD! at (2022).
Naroditsky, D. 1650 | Speed Run | Caro-Kann, Tartakower. at (2021).
Buffett, M. Thoughts on chess improvement, after gaining 600 points in 6 months (1200-1800). at (2021).

San Diego Chess

San Diego Chess Club offers tournaments on Wednesday nights and Saturday.

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