John Herron

John Herron is a retired computer programmer & analyst who now works part-time teaching chess to children.

John has taught thousands of children to play chess with his 1-2-3 approach.

He finished tied for first place in the 1992 U.S. Open Chess Tournament, Class C. He also coached a two-time Scripps National Spelling Bee finalist. His interests include artificial intelligence, backgammon, chess, go, poker, scrabble, bicycling, sailing, tennis, table tennis, volleyball, and wallyball.

John is also the author of numerous chess books including Total Chess and Totally Puzzled.

Chess Articles by John Herron

Total Chess: Delay Tactics

delay tacticsDelay tactics do not occur immediately, but happen some time after the initial move. They all come from the German word ‘zug’ (pronounced ‘tsook’) meaning to pull or to tug. See the rest reading the article:

Total Chess: Defensive Tactics

tacticsDefensive tactics occur when you try to escape from the opponent’s tactics. Instead of losing material, you try to get away without losing anything. It is making the best of a bad situation.

Total Chess: Deflection Tactics

deflectionDeflection tactics occur when you try to get a piece off of a square. Once the piece leaves, then you can use another tactic.

Total Chess: Decoy Tactics

trapsDecoy tactics occur when you try to get a piece onto a square. Once the piece is there, then you can use another tactic.

Total Chess: What is Double Tactics?

tacticsDouble tactics occur when two things happen at the same time. While it may be fairly easy to defend against one thing, it may be impossible to defend against two things at the same time.

Total Chess: Going to the Endgame

endgameWhen should you trade pieces and go to the endgame? There is a good, general rule. When ahead, trade pieces; when behind trade pawns. When you are ahead, trade pieces to increase your material advantage.

Total Chess: Rooks & Open Files

rook openAn open file is a file that has no pawns on it. Either player can place a rook on an open file to control all of the squares on that file. A half-open file is a file that has pawns of only one color on it. A player can place a rook on a half-open […]

Total Chess: Discovered Tactics

discovery at chessIt is very important to understand different types of tactics in order to fully realize your chess potential. Previously we published articles on this topic, feel free to review Direct Tactics and Dynamic Tactics ideas before you jump into discovered tactics section. Discovered tactics occur when you move a piece out of the way to […]

Total Chess: Knights & Outpost Squares

chess knight outpostAn outpost square is a square that cannot be attacked by the opponent’s pawns. If you occupy an outpost square with one of your pieces, it is difficult for the opponent to force your piece off that square. Since he cannot use a pawn to eject your piece, he must use another piece. Sometimes, there […]

Total Chess: Bishops & Weak Squares

bishopWeak squares are squares that are not attacked or defended by pawns. While pieces are busy doing other things, pawns are left to control the squares around them. Since pawns attack and defend diagonally, they control squares that are the same color as their own square. If most of your pawns are on dark squares, […]
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