Sports & Gaming

Garry's Chess Fundamentals

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 18:08 min

Learn how a World Chess Champion thinks as Garry shares the tenets of his chess philosophy.

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Topics include: Strategies versus Tactics • Your Personal Playing Style • Pattern Recognition • Even in Chess, Timing Is Everything • Sensing the Important Moments • A Game with Two Players • Make Your Opponent Squirm • Solve Using a Board


I like an old chess saying that goes, tactics is knowing what to do when there is something to do, while strategy is knowing what to do when there's nothing to do. Of course, it's a bit of an exaggeration. Because there's always something to do. But while we are looking at the tactical solutions, it's something immediate, something almost instantaneous. We assume it's sharp. When I say sharp, it maybe involves sacrifices, something that disturbs the balance of the position. And you could see an immediate outcome, it goes one way or another. Strategy, of course is more long term. So strategy is actually seeing the outcome of slow maneuvers, and also anticipating what you can do to disturb opponent's plans. There were some great positional players from the past that you may even call inaction heroes. Because they knew exactly how to paralyze the opponent's activities and, by doing so, of course, building up, step by step, slowly their own advantages. So that's why, when you look at the position, you have to identify, first of all, whether this position requires tactical solutions. Or you have to forget about the tactics for a while, not to push too hard, not to rush, and to start playing, positionally building it up, and, of course, watching for some opportunities, if your opponent gives you such a chance. There is no general strategy for the game of chess. Because it depends very much on who you are and who your opponent is. We're all different. We could be more comfortable making aggressive decisions, playing with the big picture, with dynamic style-- that's more like myself. We could be more cautious, very vigilant, playing a slower game, gaining small advantages, and waiting for opponent's mistakes, more like Karpov's chess. There's nothing wrong with either approach. It's very important to realize that, no matter what you do, it should fit your personality. Don't try to play the game that goes against your natural instincts. That's the most important lesson from the game of chess. Remember that at the end of the day, game of chess is about making decisions, as anything in life. Trying to force yourself to play the game that doesn't fit your natural instincts, your personality, it's counterproductive, I would say, in many cases, suicidal. And decision making, when you play chess, is as unique as your fingerprints or DNA. And unless you know who you are, it's very difficult to identify what is the best strategy for you, whether it be chessboard or elsewhere. And of course, when you know who you are, when you understand what kind of game you want to play, you should also look at the opponent. Because your opponent, that's more difficult to actually understand. Because you have to look at the games your opponent played, certain decisions he or she made before. But if you can get the best of this knowledge, recognizing the strengths a...

About the Instructor

At age 22, Garry Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion. After beating Bobby Fischer’s peak rating, he outranked his fiercest competitors for over twenty years. Now, Garry is ready to share the chess strategy that made him a six-time world champion. Through detailed lessons, including his favorite openings and advanced tactics, you will develop the instincts and philosophy to become a stronger player.

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