Grivas: Chess Expertise Step by Step

by ChessBase
11/5/2011 – Greek grandmaster Efstratios Grivas is a highly experienced chess trainer and chess author. He has participated in the ChessBase sponsored program of training sessions for talented young players. In addition he has recorded a number of training DVDs, the latest of which deals with rook handling in the endgame, with four hours of personal video instructions. Do not miss this one.

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Efstratios Grivas: Chess Expertise Step by Step

Vol. 3: Rook Handling

Rook handling and endings in general constitute one of the most fascinating elements in chess. Rich in both tactical and strategic possibilities, they offer us the opportunity to marvel at its endless creative potential and unique ideas.

Of all chess endings (pawn, queen, rook, bishop and knight), rook endings are the ones encountered most frequently. Like all aspects of chess technique, rook endings (and in general the correct handling of rooks) encompass a significant amount of theoretical and repeated motifs, which we have to be aware of – just like our openings. In this way we will be able to make correct decisions at important junctures of the game, decisions that will either promise us victory or allow us to secure the draw.

This DVD, called 'Rook Handling', tries to cover important parts of this field and help you to assimilate knowledge and to understand in depth the proper handling of rooks in certain cases. We shall examine how to keep our rook active, how to trap a rook, how not to lose a drawn rook ending, how to handle technical rook endings, how to successfully transfer our rook, how to enhance cooperation between rook and knight and finally how to defend against a knight and three pawns.

To be honest, this is just a small amount of the huge quantity of material that one has to learn about rooks, but in any case it is a good start! Video running time: four hours.

Video sampler from Efstratios Grivas: Chess Expertise Step by Step, Vol. 3: Rook Handling

Training by GM & FST Efstratios Grivas

Earlier this year GM Grivas held a series of lectures for young German talents, in the offices of ChessBase in Hamburg. The aim of this series of lectures is to enable participants to teach young and gifted players in schools and chess clubs, and to educate trainers and chess teachers not only in their own countries but also on an international basis.

Successful chess trainer GM Efstratios Grivas

The material started to develop in early 2004 and was used Grivas' personal training sessions, where he developed a system based on serious sport (chess is treated like a sport) and chess material (focusing on middlegame and endgame). In 2005 this material was first printed in Greek, in a series of training books called ‘Skakistiki Proponisi’ (six volumes, 680 pages). It then appeared in an improved version in an English series ‘Chess College’ (Gambit 2006, three volumes, translator Sotiris Logothetis) and ‘Practical Endgame Play’ (Everyman 2008). It was also translated (in another improved version) into Turkish in 2009. Finally a further improved version appeared in the latest FIDE book for training the trainers called ‘Syllabus’ (FIDE 2010, proofer Andrew Martin).

"I use this material to make my students understand that health and other sport assets are valuable for a chess player's improvement, and not just never-end analysis in openings," says Stratos (as his friends call him). "For example in Turkey, where I am working on my program, all my trainees exercise some physical activity in accordance with their chess education." Since middle of 2006, when he started training youthful Turkish talents, three players have made their grandmaster norms and two more are close to this goal. And a number of IMs have also arisen in the process.

In the meantime Grivas, Adrian Mikhalchishin, Alexander Beliavsky and Georg Mohr are cooperating to produce a total training system, which will appear in 30 books (around 3,000 pages) based on the idea of full training in the middle and endgame. The work is being edited by the Turkish Chess Federation (which has the rights) and for the moment it is printed only in the Turkish language. The project started in early 2010 and it will be completed in 2012.

Trainers (and players) all over the world can use the series presented on the ChessBase news page freely. Any question can be addressed directly to the author: GrivasEfs (at)

Lecture plan

1 Physical and Psychological Factors
2 Getting to know Ourselves
3 Building a Repertoire
4 Chess Literature
5 Activity of Bishops and Knights
6 The Backward Pawn
7 The Art of Exchanges
8 The Golden Rules of the Endgame
9 How to Think in Endgames

Grivas in a lecture session for young German talents, for example...

WIM Melanie Ohme, 20, has been the poster girl for German chess since her pre-teen days. IM and WGM Elisabeth Pähtz, 26, is the highest ranked female player in Germany. "Elli" is the daughter of GM Thomas Pähtz and at nine won her won her first German championship in the under-11 age group. In 2005 she won the World Junior Chess Championship for girls.

FM Hagen Poetsch, 19, is rated 2408. Jonas Lampert is 13 and rated 2127

4. Chess Literature

The question concerning every young and ambitious chess player, apart from the selection of the proper trainer, revolves around the selection of the proper literature, through which he will be taught the secrets of chess.

The number of books available is truly immense and it is often hard to determine which ones are most worthy of study. I am convinced that every good chess player can suggest certain books, but opinions often differ, thus making the process of selection more difficult.

The FIDE Trainers' Commission (TRG) provides a ‘subjective opinion’, based on works we have found most useful, can be found in its website and it is in accordance with the 80th FIDE Congress (Halkidiki 2009) decisions and with the official endorsement by FIDE.

The lists were created in four languages (English, German, Russian and Spanish) by respected and well-known trainers: Jeroen Bosch, Uwe Boensch, Anatoly Bykhovsky and Miguel Illescas, respectively. The lists are offered in forms of zip, pdf, xls and doc.

Just like an athlete collects his gear, a chess-player must collect those books that will help him train better, more efficiently and productively. In cooperation with his trainer he will be able to comprehend and absorb the knowledge enclosed in them. And then he is 'doomed' to improve!

Further lectures to follow...

Efstratios Grivas

Efstratios Grivas is a grandmaster and highly experienced chess trainer and chess author.

He lives in Athens, and he is also a FIDE Senior Trainer (Secretary of the FIDE Trainers' Commission), an International FIDE Chess Arbiter and an International FIDE Chess Organizer. He has represented his country on a great many occasions, winning the fourth position in the World Junior Championship 1985, an individual gold medal at the 1989 European Team Championship and an individual silver medal at the 1998 Olympiad.

In 2010 he was awarded the worldwide highly important FIDE TRG Awards – the Boleslavsky Medal (best author) for 2009.

Previous lectures

Grivas Training: Building a Repertoire
18.04.2011 – "In contrast to the middlegame and the endgame, where theory is objective and accepted by everyone, in the opening each chess player makes his choices in accordance with his emotions and his personal experience. No opening loses, no opening wins." World renown chess trainer GM Efstratios Grivas explains how you should build your repertoire in Part 3 of his lecture series.
Grivas Training: Getting to Know Ourselves
13.02.2011 – Young chess players need to be able to identify the assets and weaknesses of their chess personalities. Many trainers and trainees have wondered how this can be done properly. The basic resource are one's recent games, which are used to produce an "X-ray image" of one's chess-self. GM Efstratios Grivas, a world-class trainer, tells us how to go about it, in Part 2 of his lecture series.
ChessBase Training with GM Efstratios Grivas (Part 1)
28.01.2011 – How do you help talented young chess players to realize their potential? Working with a world-class trainer is a good way to start. ChessBase has started a program to sponsor a series of training sessions, which started, logically, in our offices in Hamburg. Five young talents got a full-day session with an internationally known chess coach, who has graciously placed his entire lecture at our disposal.

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