Understanding before Moving 128: Chess history in a nutshell (10)

by ChessBase
6/4/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 128th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and talks about tactics and the attacking and defending skills of Wilhelm Steinitz, the first official World Champion. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Wilhelm Steinitz (2)

In the previous episode of this series we discussed how the first official World Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, had more or less put an end to the so-called "Romantic period" with his scientific approach to the game. He became a kind of "super-defender" of difficult positions, capturing material and staying on his feet through all sorts of complications. He often managed to fend off an attack and then turn his material plus into a win.

Incidentally, it is not always true - as some people think - that strategically minded chess players lack tactical skills. Indeed, it has sometimes been said of Tigran Petrosian, World Champion from 1963 to 1969, that he lacked tactical skills, but the opposite is true. A player who has to defend against a dangerous opponent has to be tactically excellent in order not to get lost in a morass of variants.

The two fragments I have selected for you in this video show that Steinitz was not only concerned with defence. The first official world champion shows that he could also be a dangerous attacking player. In his game against Mongredien, which Kasparov considers to be a highlight, he goes on the attack.

We have learnt from Steinitz how to fend off a deadly-looking attack. You can test this skill for yourself in the diagram position. Black played the seemingly strong 19...Bf3. White failed to defend the attack and lost. Can you do better?

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, and how to keep your opponent permanently under pressure.

This week’s show (for Premium Members only)


Reports about chess: tournaments, championships, portraits, interviews, World Championships, product launches and more.