lundi 5 novembre 2012

Private Chess Lessons

I've thought about it for some time and decided to start giving private chess lessons. Before going more into details, I want to introduce myself. It's always good to know who's gonna be teaching you.

My name's Michaël Fournier, I'm a 25 year-old chess player living in Quebec, Canada. I Iearned how to move the pieces when I was 4. However, I started being more serious about chess at the age of 11. My parents bought me a book for beginners. I read it over and over again. I was really enjoying it. At 13, I played in my first tournament. I  played people from 13 to17 years old. I unexpectedly won the gold medal, with a score of 4/5 even if I was the youngest player in my age group. In the 7 years following that tournament, I qualified for and played in the provincial tournament 5 times, ranking in the top ten 3 times. In 2006, I ranked first at the provincial tournament. However, I lost the tie-breaking blitz game which resulted in my opponent making it to the nationals.

As an adult, I've played in many tournaments, my favorite one being the COM. (Championnat ouvert de la Mauricie)

In 2008, I won the 1600-1800 section. Two years later, in the 1800-2000 section, I came in second along with another player but ended up ranking third because he had outperformed me during that tournament. I now play in the open section with experts, IMs and GMs.

I don't have any FIDE rating, as tournaments are not FIDE-rated where I live. Local tournaments will be FIDE-rated as of 2013.

My local rating (FQE) is 1984. Having played with FMs and IMs on the Internet, I'd say my FIDE rating would be around 2150. You are probably thinking " Why is that so?" Our ratings are lower than they should be because we lack players here in Quebec. We're literally stealing rating points from one another. You probably don't believe me and I can't blame you. Therefore, let's take a look at my online ratings.

I'm basically playing on 2 websites: and ICC

Username: Hetfield1987
Rating: 2519 in 5 minute games. I sometimes play 3 minute games but only when I can't find anyone willing to play a 5 minute game. Over the last 8 months, my average rating has been quite stable at around 2370. Some masters have a rating similar to mine.

Username: Hetfield1987
Rating: 2115 in 5 minute auto-pairing blitz games with a peak at 2125. This is the best website to play on, with the best opponents. If you've watched some of Kingscrusher's games, you know there are pretty strong opponents there.
There are a lot of FMs and IMs on this website. Their ratings range from 1850 to 2400 in 5 minute auto-pairing blitz games. Normally, when I play an IM, his rating is anywhere from 2150 to 2200.
Besides, I've beaten IMs and FMs, and even 1 or 2 GMs.

About the Private Lessons.

I will give you private lessons, focusing on what it is exaclty that you want to learn or need to improve.
I can teach you a tremendous number of openings, explaining ideas behind moves so you understand what you play. Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of opening lines to come up with the ones that suit me best.
My way of teaching is very simple but effective. I can teach lower-rated players more basic stuff too. Moreover, I will give you exercises based upon your needs and level. All you need to do is to follow my advice seriously. I have a flexible schedule, so don’t worry about GMT. By the way, I live in a city which is in GMT -5.
I will also provide you with exercises to do between lessons and analyze some of your games. I’m teaching via FICS or I also make tutorial videos so you can learn some aspects of the game more easily.

I can teach in English and French. ( French is actually my mother tongue)

Fee: I did a little research on ICC and the vast majority of IMs charge around 40$ an hour. 50$ an hour is frequent too.
I charge 15$/hour. (USD)
If you’re interested, I assume you have a few questions. Feel free to ask me about anything.
Use the following e-mail:

Type up “chess lessons” in the object of the message please.

mardi 30 octobre 2012

Tactical puzzle #5

The answer to the last puzzle was: 1. Bxg6+! Kxg6 2. Qa6+ Kh7 3. Qd3+ winning the hanging rook on b1

Puzzle #5 is quite nice. I've found it on Igor Smirnov's blog, in one of his free lessons. I couldn't resist the temptation to put it here too.

It is white's move. Try to calculate every variation to the end.

P.S. Here's the link to Smirnov's blog:

samedi 20 octobre 2012

Kingscrusher's Blitz #1765 vs never-wins (2244) - French

A really nice attacking game played by white. A good example of the old saying "maintain the tension". Black releases the tension and white gets the initiative immediately. The moves are then natural...and deadly!

samedi 13 octobre 2012

Kingscrusher's Blitz #1759 against FM Platyborg

A nice game from Kingscrusher against an FM. Nice attack in the end. Nice defence and attack with his queen.

mardi 9 octobre 2012

Pawn Sacrifice!

I would like to make my second book review on an interesting book, written by a not so famous chess player: Timothy Taylor. The author is not as well-known as Vladimir Kramnik or Garry Kasparov, but the book he wrote is worth looking at. He shows "real" pawn sacrifices and explains how to come up with one in our games. By "real" sacrifices, he refers to Rudolf Spielmann's book: The Art of Sacrifice in Chess, in which Spielmann defined 2 categories of sacrifices. The real ones are those that can't be calculated to the very end.

“What interests me,” as Taylor wrote, “are the courageous, imaginative sacrifices that involve risk and have no clear result. This, to me, is really
playing chess!” He provides sixty-seven complete
games with an interesting method of analysis to help chess players understand under which circumstances sacrifices can be successfully achieved. In fact, Taylor examines them from three different perspectives:
    “Favourable Omens” – the factors that suggest a possible pawn
    “Mr. Fritz” – whether computer analysis agrees with the sacrifice.
     “Author” – whether Taylor agrees with the sacrifice. (Perhaps
surprisingly, he does not always agree that the sacrifices he
presents were the proper course of action.)

Those real sacrifices are one of the rare things computers can't fully understand. With this in mind, a player can crush well-prepared opponents using one of those. In my opinion, chess softwares have been killing chess or tearing  it's soul apart, making 99% of chessplayers consider using their silicone friend rather than their brain! This book helps leading a player's mind into an unfamiliar territory: taking risks. I truly believe that taking risks is one of the best ways to enjoy the game and win beautiful games, so I definitely recommand this book to anyone who wishes to enjoy the game even more!