Wednesday night training on Playchess

by ChessBase
12/2/2009 – Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924), nicknamed “the Black Death”, learned the game late, at the age of 19, but just two years later defeated Wilhelm Steinitz in a tournament game! In this week's Playchess lecture by FM Dennis Monokroussos looks at a classical win against Emanuel Lasker. Before that IM Merijn van Delft discusses current games. Be there and watch.

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Playchess training with FM Dennis Monokroussos

Joseph Henry Blackburne (scan by Chess Notes)

London 1899 was a great triumph for then world champion Emanuel Lasker. He won the 27-round double round-robin (Teichmann dropped out after the first cycle) by 4½ points over a strong field that included Maroczy, Pillsbury, Schlechter and Chigorin. He only lost one game, to a player whose name, but little else, is known to contemporary chess fans.

That player was Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924), nicknamed “the Black Death”. He learned the game late, at the age of 19, but just two years later defeated Wilhelm Steinitz in a tournament game! It took him another decade or so until he was a top contender, and while he was outclassed by the very best players (clearly demonstrated by the 7-0 thrashing he received in an 1876 match with Steinitz) he remained one of the world’s best until his early 60s. (In 1914, several months before his 73rd birthday, he drew a game with Alekhine.)

But back to Lasker-Blackburne. Lasker was in fine form in London, but in this game he was no match for Blackburne. At times in the opening and early middlegame, you can clearly see that this is an old-time game, but at a certain point the light turns on and Blackburne’s play is forceful and beautifully logical. From move 18 on, it’s a game that could have been played by one of today’s elite GMs, and in the end even the great and resourceful Lasker cracks under the pressure.

It’s an entertaining game, but is it instructive? The answer is yes: Blackburne’s attacking buildup was very logical, and the very flawed opening is helpful to us as well. By putting some positional errors on clear display, we’re able to gain a better understanding of how that opening line is supposed to work, and that’s going to be useful to someone on either side of the board. You will definitely enjoy the game, so I hope you’ll join me tonight – Wednesday night – at 9 p.m. ET (that’s Thursday morning at 3 a.m. CET) in the Broadcast room. Look for Lasker-Blackburne in the games window, select it, and you’re ready to go: it’s free for Premium members.

See you then!

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date, with exact times for most larger cities here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures.

Monokroussos in Mexico: World Championship 2007

Dennis Monokroussos is 43, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and has worked as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

Playchess Training with IM Merijn van Delft

Everyone is invited to join this weekly training hour on Wednesday evening. Together we will have a look at the most recent grandmaster games. Recurring themes during our analyses and discussions are the latest opening developments and how to work on your own chess.

A word about myself: I was born (March 13, 1979) and raised in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. In 1995 I won the Dutch U16 Championship and played the European Championship in Poland and the World Championship in Brasil. In 1998 I moved to Amsterdam to study psychology and had a great time there. In 2003 I met my wife Evi Zickelbein and ever since we've been living together in Hamburg, Germany. In 2004 I made both master titles: one at the university and one in chess. Since 2005 I've been working fulltime in the chess world: training, coaching, writing, organizing and still actively playing myself. By now I have about fifteen years of experience as a chess trainer. Together with my dad I wrote a book about chess training (Schaaktalent Ontwikkelen), of which the Dutch version is already available and the English version will follow April 2010.

IM Merijn van Delft's lecture starts at 20:00h Central European Time (Berlin, Paris, Rome), which translates to 19:00h London. You can find the times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. The lecture is in the "Broadcast" room of Playchess. It is free for Premium Playchess members (50 Ducats for others).


The lectures are broadcast live on the chess server If you are not a member you can download the free PGN reader ChessBase Light, which gives you immediate access. You can also use the program to read, replay and analyse PGN games. New and enhanced: CB Light 2009!

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