The Steps Method

The steps method is a great way to teach chess and the books are available below or shredder has the first three steps as software.

The method quite rightly points out that tactics and strategy are more important to teach before positional play at an early age and the steps method is a great way to do that.


Magnus Carlsen launches Play Magnus

A few days ago (25th February 2014 to be precise) Magnus Carlsen launched his new chess app called Play Magnus with a corresponding website at This goes along with his new YouTube channel at where his first free training video has just been released.

The app is pretty clever and allows you to play against a Magnus computer with different age ratings. The whole idea is that you register, play and potentially win a chess to play against Magnus in a secret location next year. There are some free videos but you have to upgrade in the app to be allowed to enter the competition and you have to purchase some videos. Shame you have to upgrade to no ads to enter the competition but apart from that it’s very well done.

So what do you think and what age can you beat Magnus at?

The Greco Attack

We left off in the last move with exd4 followed by cxd4 leaving the bishop in an attacked position.

You can see the almost exclusively here the black bishop moves to b4 to check the white king and white has a decision to make.

Bd2 seems to be the most popular move and gives white a small advantage in the engines. I think because the black bishop now has nowhere to go so has to exchange bishops and white can then develop the b1 knight.

But Nc3 is known as the Greco attack and has a great trap which is well worth looking at so we will. What do you play in this position?

If you moved the b knight to d2 then d5 would be coming and black looks better.


Of course in this position black is going to take the e4 pawn with the knight for free so it’s pretty much the only move for black.


To unpin the white king white is going to castle. Now black has two attackers on the c3 knight so the main line is Bxc3 which leads us to the end of the main line for the Greco attack.


From here the most popular move is d5 which takes us into the Moeller attack so that’s for another post! Bxc3 from white invites black to take back with the knight by Nxc3 but that would be a mistake. As you can see in the checkmate post white would move the queen to b3 attacking the knight and once the knight moves the bishop is set loose with Bxf7+!

At this point the black king has to move to f8 and has lost the chance to castle and is about to lose their queen so white is clearly winning which is why black should have played d5 earlier to block the bishop when it wasn’t defended by the queen. Even after taking the c3 pawn white should still play d5 as if the white bishop takes the d5 pawn the c3 black knight can take back.

Giuoco Piano – part 3


In the last post we looked at white’s move to d4 attacking the pawn and bishop and how black should respond.

Black could defend his e5 pawn with d6 but where would the fun be in that? Instead black is most likely to take with the e5 pawn in the good old fashioned fight for the centre.

This present white with two options. He can either take back with cxd4 or push the e4 pawn to e5 attacking the f6 knight. Shredder has cxd4 as the most popular move by three to one so let’s go with that for now and we’ll see in the next post how the black bishop responds. What would you do in this position?


Giuoco Piano – part 2


We left off in the last post with white to move and considering whether to defend the e4 pawn with d3 or to play a more aggressive move such as d4 or b4.

There is an opening called the Giuoco Pianissimo which we referred to and means the very quiet game. It should be avoided mainly because it’s boring! But let’s look at anyway so you can see why.

We can get there through transposition if white plays d3 to defend the e4 pawn. This starts to lock the board down and the most popular response from black is d6 as there’s not much else he can do! Moves beyond that take us out of the Giuoco Pianissimo so we won’t look at them here but as we’ve said before you’re going to find it hard to beat someone quickly from this sort of position so you should avoid it!

So one of the best options for white here is to ignore the threat to e4 and play d4 forking the pawn and the bishop. This is still the Giuoco Piano and in the next post we’ll look at the response from black to this move.

There’s an interesting video on this below which suggests d4 as the way to go which leads to some interesting variations. Check it out at;