12 Interesting Chess Questions

12 Interesting Chess Questions

I have been asked many chess questions lately via my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Here is a list of selected questions with answers which maybe interesting for the general chess audience. If you have your own questions to ask you can send it on my email, Facebook or Twitter.

I have also received questions on languages other than English; I wasn’t able to reply, so please use English when sending me questions.

You will ask me why did I post 12 Q&A as a separate topic and not in FAQ? Because this are mostly practical chess related questions, where one wants to improve. You may have the same question as other chess players, so read on…

Question 1:


Hi, I have a question, should I read to become stronger at chess, or playing is enough?


You should study chess. You cannot just play games and watch your rating growing. You need to read books, study master’s games, do some opening and endgame preparation, work on tactics to see the improvement.

Question 2:


What openings do you play? I used to play the Ruy Lopez but everyone knows it pretty deep so I play Italian Game now. I play Sicilian and Gruenfeld or Kings Indian defenses.


I’m mainly a d4 player, so as White I play deviations of 1.d4 including QGA, QGD, Slav/Semi Slav, Nimzo, Kings Indian, Grunfeild, and Staunton Gambit. I’m trying to stay away of sharp variations of the Counter Gambit, sharp Meran lines and Trampowsky. As white (after 1…e4) I usually play the Sicilian (Dragon) or something quieter starting with c4. I’m looking to extend my opening repertoire for Black and studying Caro-Kann. Against d4 I play variations of Semi – Slav and systems with a6.

Question 3:


I play Scotch or Closed Sicilian (or 2. c3) as white and Scandinavian as black. Against d4 I sigh. Still struggling to find a proper way to play the closed positional games. Any suggestions?


I’m a d4 player myself, the game tend to be positional and often closed. You cannot learn to play positional games by studying theory, well let me clarify, the opening books. The way to go about positional games is to analyze high level games and look for themes and ideas to apply in particular openings you play.

Say you want to learn Slav/Semi-Slav, of course you need an opening book to know the exact lines, but select grandmasters/masters who play these openings and analyze the game, try to find some sort of annotation.

Question 4:


I would like to know whom or which websites can play online!


There are many website that offer online playing. I personally play on freechess.org when have time spend 🙂

Question 5:


Hi Yury,
I have to say your chess world web site is very cool. I am looking at buying Batsford’s Modern Chess Openings do you feel this is a good book or is there anything you feel is better?


I’m not very familiar with that book, but I assume it is an opening encyclopedia which covers 100s of openings in one book, not in great detail. I feel like it is a lot better to buy a book(s) on specific opening(s) you want to study. This way you would really learn the ideas of the opening. But if you need a quick reference guide that book might work, but there are a lot of computer programs (ChessMaster, Fritz) and online sources that can give you the opening lines as well. Good luck!

Question 6:


I need an advice about this situation: 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 d6 4.0–0 Nf6 5.d3 Bg4 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 g6 8.Be3 Bg7 9.Nd2 0–0


Hi, the position is pretty balanced. It is a typical Closed Sicilian position. Black would try to exchange the white’s dark squared bishop by playing Nd4 at some point. It is also possible to push queen side pawns for Black by playing a6 and then b5 hitting the light bishop. Black would try to open the c file and to occupy it with one of its rooks and pressure the c-pawn.
On the other hand, white would try to work on the king side, by moving the queen from f3 (say to e2 and playing quick f4 and f5).

The f file will get open eventually and white would try to do a king side attack. Once again, Black should work on the queen’s side and the center.

Question 7:


What are your favorite openings with white/black? Which openings you don’t like?
With black I like Russian opening, when not accepted the four knight’s game.
I hate the Orangutan with b4, had once a counter on that but I forgot it. Can you send me right moves to handle with that?


Hello, Paxmain. I’m pretty much a “1.d4” player, so my opening repertoire as White starts with 1.d4, 1.Nf3 or 1.c4. As a d4 player I usually face the following openings: Slav/Semi-Slav, Nimzo/Bogo Indian, King’s Indian, Queen’s Indian (which transposes to Nimzo often), Modern Bennoni (not very often), Queen’s Gambit Declined and almost never Accepted.

From this list of openings I enjoy the most games with Queen’s Gambit Declined, Semi/Slav and I like to challenge Nimzo also (I play Nf3 Kasparov’s variation). What I don’t like?

Hm, there is not really an opening which I don’t like. My openings I set the way that I avoid the lines I don’t like playing. For example by starting with 1.Nf3 I avoid some lines including Center Counter gambit, etc.

As Black against “1. d4” I usually play Slav/Semi-Slav formations. I tend to open up the position quickly, since I like open positions better than locked up. But, sometimes, closed positions are also fun to play, especially if you have good, well coordinated pieces. Agaist 1.e4 I play the Sicilian, from sharpest Dragon variation to slow Closed and O’Kelley Variation. I’m not very familiar with 1.b4, since it’s rarely played and isn’t very sound. The main idea here for Black is to occupy the center and take an advantage of the weak pawn b4 pawn, by playing h5 at some moment.

Question 8:


Are you a chess pro?


No, chess is my hobby, so is running a chess website.

Question 9:


Can you teach me how to make good openings??


I can’t teach you to play an opening. You need to work on it yourself. Pick an opening that you want to learn (positional/sharp, open/closed, etc.) and follow the guidelines I provided to get better at it.

Question 10:


Wich exactly way do you use fritz to help on improving your game?


It is a very good question. I was thinking about writing an article on this topic. But for now I can tell that chess program is a very good tool if used right. What can you use it for? Number 1 idea is to analyze tournament games you just played and then compare your own analysis with Fritz.

You can see exactly when you went wrong, what tactics you missed. It also has an opening database build in that can be used to improve openings/build opening repertoire. You can of course play against Fritz; it is possible to adjust strength to better match your needs. Another idea is to train endgames with a program: just setup theoretical endgame which should be won for you and try to bit Fritz in it.

Question 11:


I find it hard to play real game, because I used to play online, and acclimatization to 2d view.
Can you advise me what can I do ?


Hey Amr,

to tell you the truth I had exactly the same problem when I just started playing chess, I played a lot of chess on the computer, but almost never played over the board. When I came to the chess tournament I had to play on the chess board, but I felt uncomfortable playing there, since it was 3d.

The best way to learn to play on real chess board is actually to play on a real board. Even when playing online, set a longer time control and move pieces on the real chess board at the same time as you’re playing online. This will definitely help. Also to get used to the chess board you can study chess games from the books by setting them up on the real board instead of computer screen. You can do the same when analyzing on the computer, use a real chess board to duplicate moves.

You may want to try the blindfold chess to be independent of a chess board as well.

Question 12:


Hi, Yury. Can I play with you a game of chess?


Hey, I don’t play many games online at this point. You can find me at FICS; my handle is “kasparovda”.

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Updated 02.06.2024


I would say its about the same. If we look point-wise: 10 vs. 11 or 5 vs. 6 :-)
Hi - is Rook+Rook v Rook+knight+bishop stronger than Rook v knight+bishop
Hello Peter, "The Castle" is called the Rook. Yes, it is definitely possible to checkmate alone King with a Rook and a King.
Peter dyck:
can you mate with only a king and a castle ?s
Yes, I think current opening theory (I'm not a tremendous opening expert) believes that d4 lines are more flexible and less committing especially starting with moves like 1.Nf3. For example games with 1.Nf3 can transpose to many different lines including e4 ones such as Sicilian Defence. King's Pawn openings however are more committing and very drawish on highest level. Remember, Kramnik's play as Black after 1.e4 e5 Petroff's draw :) PS I will write something longer on this theme sometime in future.
rushang trivedi:
[b]I like the way u give answer of this question .[/b] :lol:
Andy Trimino:
Thanks, friend. Good answers! After so many years of leaving chess to tend to my profession, it is good to get back into it.On occasion, I have peeked into what is happening and have noticed new trends in chess. It seems like venerable opening and defenses of old times are giving way to new ones. In particular, it seems that Queen Pawn Openings are now much more used,including several variations, for instance. Am I in the truth of things in this observation? Can yhou give us more insights into it? Thanks in advance.PS - Yes, you may publish my remarks, if you wish.-- Thanks.===
Hi Andy,World Chess Championship is going to be played from 10 April 2012 to 31 May 2012. The venue is yet to be decided. The current world champion Viswanathan Anand (India) going to play against the candidates tournament winner Boris Gelfand (Israel).I'm not sure about the date of computer's chess championship. They definitely not going to play against humans, but only against each other.
Hi. When is the World Chess Championship? Who and who play? From where are they? Is there a championship against the computer as well? When? Thanks.
Hello Shali, I think you misunderstood or your friend did not explain it correctly. What you are referring is called "en passant". It doesn't work the way you explained but:[i]A pawn attacking a square crossed by an opponent's pawn which has advanced two squares in one move from its original square may capture this opponent's pawn as though it had been moved only one square. This capture is only legal on the move following this advance and is called an `en passant` capture. [/i]See [url]http://www.thechessworld.com/learn/basic-chess-rules[/url] for the diagram, look in [b]Pawn [/b]category.
Hi everyone, My friend said that pawn after cross 4th row may take a piece thats in front of it and move to next column ie if a white pawn is in A5 position and a black pawn is in A6 then white may capture black and may move to B6....is it true
Well, I wish you to deal with your health problems as soon as possible and start competing, since this is the only way to find out your strength. You was talking about fast improvements, may I ask you what exactly did you do in order to improve your chess (I bet other people would love to know that too)?Actually there are many professional chess players who struggle from health problems which prevent them from playing 100%. Vladimir Kramnik is one of them. Good luck!
Yes it is possible to checkmate with King and two knights but only in some special positions. [b]But (important!) it is not possible to force a checkmate with two Knights and a King against alone King.[/b]
im about 22 my biggest problem rigth now is that i have strong headaches very often due some theet problems wich i will have to fix as soon i got the money to so sometimes i loose to weaker players due to that ,so i cannot really tell myself how strong i am, but i hope to be able to participate in tournaments as soon im healthy enough,, i actually had to quit my sports career due an injury , and it was there i disocovered the greatness of the game of chess! so my love for the game will always remain cause it helped me true a very difficult period of my life, wich migth explain the fast improvments, i mean when theres a lot you do not want to think about you can put all your focus to the combinations and consequenses . wich migth be a benefit both to you and to the game=)
I cannot tell you how much better you will become in 5 or 10 years. But being a master strength player after only 2 years of playing is an accomplishment. Play in real over the board tournaments and see how you do. How old are you, my friend?
hi ive been playing chess about 2 years. And at my best i can beat ,draw or loose sligthly ag (2200-2400online rat players) a chess coach(himself off 2300fide ) hwo wiewed som of my games stated that have natural talent for the game. (myself i dont think all of this is very remarkable) then again i tend to bee quite severe whit myself. I havent studied the game almost at all i win either on the endgame true a serie of accumulated small advantages, or whit an attack that combines at least a sacrifase(when it works) my weakness is that i tend to attack to much sometimes. Any idea where i could get say in 5-10 years. Studing the game, playin tournaments ecc, .. I mean could it be worth it or should i satisfy whit a 2200-300online rat whitout aiming for much more??
Can king and two knights check and mate?