Conclusion of Chess Instruction for Intermediate Players (Fall 2017)


Starting on September 22nd and going until December 8th, Hart House Chess Club ran a 12-session workshop for intermediate skill-level players who wanted to step up their game! The lessons were taught by our Varsity player Panayoti Tsialas and attracted a big number of dedicated students!

Below are the themes examined in class:

I. Tactics:
  • Knight Forks
  • Double Attacks
  • Deflection/Decoy
  • Promoting the advanced passer (as a tactical element)
  • Spotting stalemate as a defensive resource
  • Unnecessary resignations where a defense was still available
  • Cacvalry Charge: Mating with two Knights
II. Opening Theory
  • Basic Opening Principles: a) Centralize, b) Develop, c) Castle
  • Moving the same piece twice and trading our developed pieces for undeveloped ones
  • Morphy’s genius and the importance of rapid piece development in the opening
III. Middlegame Strategy
  • Wilhelm Steinitz and the Scientific Method in Chess: Material, Time, Space and the Theory of Balance
  • Wilhelm Steinitz and the Principle of Attack – The evaluation of the present position determines what the right plan is: a) Slight Advantage: Accumulate more Small Advantages, b) Large Advantage: Accumulate more small advantages and prepare an attack, c) Winning Advantage: Launch an attack and attack the points where the opponent’s chain is weakest. The grievous consequences of violating this principle (e.g. attacking in an equal position)
  • The nature of the advantage (e.g. slight, large or decisive / temporary or permanent) and how to exploit it
  • The strategic importance of the open -h- file when attacking the enemy king and how to open it
  • Material asymmetries: A queen versus three minor pieces. Who wins?
  • Siegbert Tarrasch’s steps against the hanging pawns: stop, block, terminate.
  • The classical isolated d4 pawn: standard plans when you play with or against it (e.g. trade/not trade etc)
IV. Endgame Theory:
  • Converting an extra pawn in the endgame
V. Other Topics:
  • Chess Analysis – A Simulation Exercise: Avoiding mistakes by re-constructing a player’s decision-making process in real-tournament circumstances (analyzing games and positions from the Pan-Am Qualifier)
  • The elements of a proper tournament schedule and how to build it (showing games from tournaments where a stronger player keeps playing weaker opponents or a weaker player keeps facing stronger opponents)
  • The art of calculating long, forced lines and how to master it

At the end of this long course, in lieu of a goodbye gift, Panayoti invited all his students to a simultaneous chess exhibition, in which they got to challenge him on the board, demonstrating their newly acquired knowledge! Attendees did not miss the chance to taste Panayoti’s homemade Greek-salad with plenty of feta and delicious Kalamata olives from his hometown!

At the end of the 4-hour long simultaneous exhibition, Panayoti and his students analyzed each of the games for an additional, super-filling 5-hour post-mortem at the Reading Room!

Panayoti would like to personally thank his students: Vignesh Kumar, Beatrice Ballarin, Adam Kasztenny, Morgan Wolfe, Amar Singh, Raeid Saqur, Kevin Chen, Sahan Karunaratne, Nikolaos Mitrousis, Jose Acosta, Vivian Li, Chrysafis Tsoukalas, Seiji Nakagawa and Bilal Sandeela for their active participation in his Intermediate Chess Class!