April 18, 2024

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Good Moves Recipe – Review

Good Moves Recipe – Review

The recipe for good moves

“Sometimes chess is very complex, sometimes simple.

In chess, it's like mobile phones: we only use 1% of the odds!

But we can learn how to master more – I teach the basics!

Ramachandran Ramesh

Do you immediately choose the first dish that catches your eye as delicious in a restaurant? Probably not! You are also probably one of those guests who search for several good options, then shortlist a few of them and finally decide what you like the most that day.

What does the new course “Improve Your Chops – The Winning System You Need to Know” have to do with eating out? Well, in one of his many examples from everyday life, Indian star coach RB Ramesh compares choosing a meal in a restaurant to choosing a move in a game of chess: In chess, several alternatives must always be examined and the advantages of other variables must also be included in the analysis.

Pep Guardiola in chess

Chessbase employee Arne Kahler put the Indian master on par with Pep Guardiola in an interview (https://de.chessbase.com/post/indiens-spitzentrainer-ein-interview-mit-rb-ramesh). This elicited a friendly, humble smile from Ramachandran Ramesh, the name given to the chess coach who was born in the Indian chess city of Chennai in 1976. But what may seem like an exaggeration to some at first can be proven: Ramesh has supported many top Indian players in his coaching work and provided… A decisive contribution in making India one of the leading countries in chess. Viswanathan Anand's days at the top were over, and there was a huge gap between the next best players. Ramesh trains hundreds of chess students around the world (https://de.chessbase.com/post/der-successful-trainer-der-welt-rb-ramesh-i), as Thorsten Cmiel reported in 2019. The list of titles of his pupils at the World (youth) and Asian championships would go beyond the scope of this article. RB Ramesh is currently, among other things, the position of head coach in Norway in order to make chess there wider and better and systematically supports 15 Romanian children in training camp every two months.

A successful training method for chess base users

If you now say: “What do I care – I will probably never be able to enjoy Ramesh’s training” – far from it! Through Improving Your Pieces, Ramesh provides deep insights into his methodology. Ramesh has compiled useful examples from players from different generations and sums up the motivations of the masters: “All players want to get the right pieces and mix different concepts to do that.”

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Ramesh takes you on a journey into the player's concepts and explains them based on his successful style. This depends on identifying good, i.e. active, and bad, i.e. passive, personalities. In the introduction, Ramesh explains why he considers this the main challenge to improving the game. Provides 14 detailed lessons, each examining an example game in detail and detailing the strengths and opportunities for improving pieces, taking into account the current pawn structure.

Pawns restrict pieces

In the first example, Ramesh explains his thinking: The pawn has just moved from d7 to d6 and made the active white pieces more passive, because it now covers its colleague from d6, who was previously only protected by pieces, on e5. White must now recognize his negative pieces and attempt to activate them, i.e. move them to better squares. To do this, it is important to evaluate whether there is enough time for a longer maneuver or whether the opponent can open the position in the meantime for a counter play before I can improve my form.

“Let me try to confuse you!”

With a wink, Ramesh asks if he can confuse us. Well, what choice does the viewer have when the coach asks, in what order should the numbers be improved? It depends on the strength of character and the degree of negativity. You can see how he rates in his typical games:

1. Example of Rene Gossupov

Position after 24.Tad1

The Indian Guru approaches all situations as follows: “Before we look for movement, we must understand the situation and judge: Who is better? This is why we need an evaluation process. This leads to learning about what the position requires.

Ramesh returns to the restaurant kitchen: “Everything possible is on the menu, and the chef has to make sure that the ingredients fit together. So learn how to handle the situation properly.”

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The spectator learns to look at the pieces one by one and realizes—and it is somewhat brief here—that Gosupov concluded that Black should remedy his negativity by improving the knight. This is followed by the logical, if not particularly striking, move, 24…Nh8. The knight wants to oust the powerful rook on d6 from f7.

Ramesh shows how Yusupov prepares the right moment to penetrate his pawn with 14 (!!) consecutive piece moves. In this example, he helpfully introduces the pair of terms “dynamic–static,” which, along with activity and passivity, plays an essential role in the following analyses.

More examples

Naturally, solutions to other game situations should not be revealed here. Because Ramesh never tires of emphasizing how important independent thinking is in the learning process and thus increasing your playing power. In his opinion, the basic condition for the learning process is enthusiasm. Because without this enthusiasm for learning, the learner makes things unnecessarily difficult for himself.

An overview of the parts of the game that follow the course should be given at this stage:

When it comes to optimal preparation and precise maneuvering, the Karpov name cannot be missed. Anyone who was surprised by Gusupov's move may have been puzzled by Karpov's move in the match against Shwiker. But Ramesh calmly and methodically explains how even an amateur can come up with a solution through the right thought process and reassures: “Even experienced players develop numbers, but they don't know where to go or what to do.”

“We need criteria, especially when we don't have a lot of experience,” says Ramesh, and uses the example of Kasparov's impressively quick win over Hübner to introduce his multi-stage process for assessing the situation:

1. King's Safety (excluding most endgames)

2. Compare the character's activity

3. Material: the same

4. Other positional characteristics such as pawn structure, good bishops/bad bishops, space advantage, weak squares, etc.

The head coach goes through this process in the following example “Improving Good Looking Pieces: Example 4 – Klimov vs. Fominje” and further delves into the winning matches of Mitton and Kinderman that follow his principles. The latter also introduces the principle of “multiple ideas” at once. After that, you should always achieve multiple goals with your movements in order to make things as difficult as possible for your opponent.

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In Game 7 between Short and Vaganian, Ramesh also points out that you shouldn't have too many pieces fighting for space if it's not necessary. He points out an important fact: “Most long plans only happen in your head, not on the board.” This means: Focus on the basics of the situation. According to the author, you can only know this if you look at the maneuvers of the big players and try to understand the logic.

Adams then cleverly exploits Bakrut's passivity, showing Caruana a precise combination of bishop and pawn moves and stunning Karpov in his 1974 match against Spassky with a whole series of silent magic moves. In the end you will probably listen to Ramesh's explanations in amazement. You will understand a lot.

Where do you put the white knight? Karpov knows it!

The art of focusing on our pieces…

… That's the name of the last class, and if the course isn't called Improving Your Pieces, it might as well be called that. Because Ramesh shows how ingeniously, with some of the right thinking techniques, seemingly innocuous situations can be won—sometimes surprisingly quickly.

“I learned a lot from my students, like how to learn to be better,” Ramesh said in the above interview. He applies this knowledge overwhelmingly in this course. In addition to his chess examples, his analogies to “real” life are impressive. This should not be expected here. But if you approach learning chess with enthusiasm, as the author repeatedly asks, you will grow with the tasks and become better and better. Starting out (in a new way) while focusing on the right mindset is certainly a compelling recipe – for staying in the restaurant chef's shoes – and Ramesh offers great, proven materials for this.