21 November 2019

Video completed - Pro Analysis With Alexandra & Danya: Time In The Opening

I recently completed the first in a new video series on Chess.com from WFM Alexandra Botez and GM Daniel Naroditsky, "Pro Analysis With Alexandra & Danya: Time In The Opening". Like other ones that are good for finishing in one sitting, it is around 15 minutes in length and focuses on a main theme, with a few key game examples.

In this video, there are three different late opening / early middlegame positions looked at from the White perspective - one each from 1.e4, 1.d4 and Reti openings. Botez in each case starts with a summary of what she sees in the position at the Expert level, including positional characteristics and some specific plausible candidate moves. Naroditsky then validates the positional elements and goes deeper into the keys to the position, in terms of both general considerations and specific tactics.

This type of live thinking process discussion, which looks at general principles, positional characteristics and tactical possibilities, I find particularly instructive. It illustrates how one needs to think beyond surface-level possibilities to really find the positional and tactical keys to a position and develop a suitable plan. The first example, taken from a Smyslov game, was particularly illustrative of this process. He (as White) enjoyed a lead in development and his opponent's king was in the center, which brings up the general principle of doing whatever is possible to take advantage of that before the king can castle. The actual breakthrough, however, only came by identifying a non-obvious weakness on the queenside and exploiting it using what appears to be a quiet queen move, which sets up some sacrificial tactics.

Botez and Naroditsky have good pace and clarity in their discussion, which makes it easy to follow and absorb, and the technical quality is high. I look forward to additional videos as they come out in the series. 

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