Novice Nook Column (2001-2015) 

and Chess Cafe articles by NM Dan Heisman (email)

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2005, 2010 & 2012 CJA/Cramer Winner: "Best Column, Any Media" winner, multiple "best instruction" & "best analysis" awards from the Chess Journalists of America (CJA)

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Current Novice Nook (html): Personalized Study Book

 The new monthly Novice Nook is available near midnight, the Tuesday before the 3rd Wednesday of each month (next NN May 2014; no NN for Feb-Apr)
 All archives are in pdf unless otherwise noted. Get free Adobe Acrobat Reader to read archived .pdf format columns.

 The old Archive. The new (2014) archive is at this link.

Alphabetical Order (*Have a similar video on the ICC - sometimes video is a better media ):

A Bain Rating Tactics Quiz

A Counting Primer*

A Decade of Novice Nook

A Defense Primer

A Different Approach to Studying Tactics

A Fistful of Lessons

A Generic Thought Process 

A Guide to P-R3*

A Microcosm of Life: Knowledge vs Intelligence

A Planning Primer

A Positional Primer

A Tactics Quiz

Accidental and Purposeful Errors


Activity is the Real Goal

Adjusting Your Thought Process for Faster Time Controls

An Improvement Plan

Analysis and Evaluation 

Analysis Insights

Analysis Tips

Anders' Game

Annotated Game Collections vs. Instructive Anthologies

Applying Steinitz' Laws

Attack it with Something Worth Less

Beginner Misconceptions

Bootstrapping Analysis Skills

Break Moves: Opening Lines to Increase Mobility*

Breaking a Slump

Breaking Down Barriers

Chess Books and Prerequisites

Chess Exercises  

Chess Is Decisions

Chess, Learning, and Fun

Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur

Chess Principles and Common Sense

Chigorin and the Pawns

Classify Your Biggest Mistakes

Combining Motifs


Counting Material

Critical and Principal Variations

Criticality Quiz

Determining Candidate Move Safety

Don't Allow the Floobly

Don't Know What to Do? Try Dan's Dirty Dozen

Endgame Quiz

Enhancing Your First Tournament Experience

Evaluation Criteria*

Evaluation Quiz

Every Good Chessplayer

Examples of Chess Logic

Excerpt: Looking for Trouble

Filters and Masks

Finding A Good Instructor

Getting the Edge  

Going to Sleep in the Endgame

Hand-Waving is Worse than Hope Chess

Helping You Through the Jungle;

Hendriks, Thought Process, and Improvement

How Much Strategy to Start?

How to Use MCO-14

Improving Analysis Skills

Improving Visualization

Improving vs. Maximizing Performance

Intermediate Time Controls Hinder Improvement

Initial and Final Candidate Moves

Is It Safe?*

Is There a Win

It's Not Really Winning a Tempo!*

K&P&? vs. K*

King + Pawn vs. King*

Know the Rules

Learning Endgames

Learning from Andy

Learning From Dr. de Groot

Learning Opening Lines and Ideas*

Luck in the Sport of Chess

Making Chess Simple*

Misquoted or Misinterpreted

More on Homeworks

More Pawns in the Center are Good*

My Top Tips for Chess Improvement

Not All Bads are Equal

Novice Nook 100: The Best Novice Nook Ideas

Novice Nook Quiz

Novice Nook Quiz Two

Novice Nook's Chess Lists

Nunn, Chernev, and Learning Chess

Odds and Ends

Odds and Ends #2
Opening Principles* 

Openings vs. Opening Systems

Personalized Study Book

Piece Evaluation vs Position Evaluation

Position Dependent Ideas

Principles of Analytical Efficiency

Quiescence Errors*

Real Chess, Time Management, and Care: Putting it All Together

Reviewing Chess Games

Revisiting the Seeds of Tactical Destruction  

Similar Positions, Different Evaluations

Slowing Down

Sneaky Pins and Invisible Moves

Speeding Up

Spend Time on the Move Chosen

Steinitz, Zermelo, and Elkies

Strategy Based on Central Pawn Structure

Strong Principles vs. Important Principles

Sunil's Rooks and Right Tackles

Tactical Sets and Goals

Teaching Chess with the Socratic Method

Teaching Young Beginners


The Big Five

The Case for Time Management*

The Curious Case of MrBoejangles

The Endgame Bind

The Five Ways to Make a Piece Safe

The Four Homeworks

The Fun of Pros and Cons

The Fundamental Theorem of Safety and Activity

The Goal Each Move

The Goldilocks Principle

The Inadequately Guarded Piece

The Immortal Quiescence Error Game

The Improvement Feedback Loop

The Margin for Error*

The Mind Reading Fish

The Most Common and Important Use of Tactics

The Most Common Opening Inaccuracies

The Most Common Opening Tactics

The Most Common OTB Mistakes

The Most Important Strategic Decisions*

The Most Important Tactic

The Principle of Symmetry

The Principle of Tactical Dominance 

The Road to Carnegie Hall  

The Room Full of Grandmasters

The Safety Status of a Piece

The Safety Table

The Secrets to 'Real' Chess

The Seeds of Tactical Destruction*

The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The Seven Percent Solution

The Six Common Chess States

The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement

The Theory of Chess Improvement*

The Three Show Stoppers

The Three "Times" for Checks, Captures, and Threats

The Three Types of Reasonable Threats

The Two Move Triggers 

The Two Types of Counting Problems

The Underrated Removal of the Guard*

The Value of a Tempo

Time Management During a Chess Game*

Time Management Tales

Trading Pawns When Ahead

Trading When Ahead or Behind

Traits of a Good Chessplayer

Understanding Chess Puzzles

Understanding Improvement and Elements of Chess Strength

Using the Computer to Improve

Walk Before You Can Run

What is a Backward Pawn?

What Would Houdini Do?

What's In A Name?  

When Adults Learn Basic Material

When is a King Safe?*

When You're Winning it's a Whole Different Game*

Why Did You Make That Move?

You Kids!

 Ordered by reverse chronology


- May 2015: Personalized Study Book

- Apr 2015: Determining Candidate Move Safety

- Mar 2015: More on Homeworks

- Feb 2015: Improving Visualization

- Jan 2015: The Immortal Quiescence Error Game


- Dec 2014: Odds and Ends #2

- Nov 2014: A Microcosm of Life: Knowledge vs Intelligence

- Oct 2014: Why Did You Make That Move?

- Sep 2014: Learning Endgames

- Aug 2014: Piece Evaluation vs Position Evaluation

- Jul 2014: Coordination

- Feb-Jun 2014 No Novice Nook published!

- Jan 2014: Filters and Masks - Honorable Mention, Most Instructive Lesson 2014


- Dec 2013: What is a Backward Pawn?

- Nov 2013: Teaching Chess with the Socratic Method

- Oct 2013: The Value of a Tempo

- Sep 2013: Combining Motifs - Email from Ernie: Dan, I would give this NN a "chessical" double exclam!! This is the kind of stuff that can really help us to become better analysts!

- Aug 2013: Endgame Quiz

- Jul 2013: How Much Strategy to Start? - what's a good foundation for basic strategy knowledge to get toward intermediate and above? - "Wow! That article is awesome! I am a Class C player and I didn't even know most of that. You're awesome, Dan. I'm going to read it all in detail, and then read all the links in preparation for my tournament on Sunday - This has got to be, the single most instructive chess article I have ever read (including the links). EVER" Suvel at the DHLC

- Jun 2013: The Safety Status of a Piece - defines terms like attacked, en prise, inadequately guarded, overprotected, etc.

- May 2013: You Kids! - the story of my 1972 theoretical Sicilian Najdorf game with Walter Browne with emphasis on opening theory

- Apr 2013: Misquoted or Misinterpreted - The things I write that most often get twisted or misinterpreted

- Mar 2013: Classify Your Biggest Mistakes - a path to improvement includes knowing what kind of mistakes you make

- Feb 2013: Position Dependent Ideas - includes pros and cons of capturing ...c5xd4 in The Advance French and ...Nbd7 combined with ...c7-c5 ideas in the King's Indian.

- Jan 2013: Know the Rules - the most commonly misunderstood or not well known rules that commonly apply


The following Novice Nooks are still archived for free:


- Dec 2012: Chigorin and the Pawns - a particular endgame and what we can learn from it

- Nov 2012: Improving vs. Maximizing Performance - don't get confused between an action which will help improve & one that will only boost performance now

- Oct 2012: Hendriks, Thought Process, and Improvement - Some observations and comments about Move First, Think Later.

- Sep 2012: Novice Nook Quiz Two - Another fun quiz reflecting Dan's chess facts and philosophy

- Aug 2012: Analysis Tips - yet another article on the most important skill in chess

- Jul 2012: Strategy Based on Central Pawn Structure - What's to do when at least two central pawns are locked together (based on a popular video)

- Jun 2012: Analysis Insights - Like "The Amateur's Mind" - what we can learn from analyzing two positions. Includes "Hand-wave" endgame P2%235

- May 2012: Sneaky Pins and Invisible Moves - about how to find strong moves that we sometimes don't "see" easily

- Apr 2012: Teaching Young Beginners - chock full of good advice and additional references

- Mar 2012: Sunil's Rooks and Right Tackles - Do football players learn faster than chess players? The role of incentives in learning chess.

- Feb 2012: My Top Tips for Chess Improvement - They are all here in one place If you want to read only one Novice Nook, I guess this is as good as any...

- Jan 2012: Attack it with Something Worth Less - E. Weaver wrote: "Your newest Novice Nook is one of the best I've seen! I seem to be missing AWL's in my calculations too often or not seeing them quickly enough..."


- Dec 2011: What Would Houdini Do? - The 3200+ rated computer's best three moves in common opening positions

- Nov 2011: The Seven Percent Solution - The great majority of what you will learn will occur in-between lessons

- Oct 2011: Don't Know What to Do? Try Dan's Dirty Dozen - c Manny tweets: "This could be the best article I have ever read" - winner, 2012 CJA Award "Best Instructive Lesson"

- Sep 2011: A Bain Rating Tactics Quiz - Think you know Bain's "Chess Tactics for Students" well enough to move to another basic book? Try this quiz. A Tactics Quiz is more generic

- Aug 2011: Adjusting Your Thought Process for Faster Time Controls - Includes "thought experiment" showing opening move memorization not helpful for lower rated;

- Jul 2011: The Goldilocks Principle - The 2nd most important goal each game.

- Jun 2011: The Three "Times" for Checks, Captures, and Threats - If you allow an opponent's tactic, is it due to lack of pattern recognition or thought process, or both?

- May 2011: Speeding Up - suffering from playing too slow and getting into unnecessary time trouble...? As a bonus, includes the critical idea: "The Two Things Necessary to Satisfy a Safety Issue"

- Apr 2011: Learning from Andy - learning from GM Soltis' book Studying Chess Made Easy

- Mar 2011: The Curious Case of MrBoejangles - How did my most productive adult student gain so much so fast?

- Feb 2011: Annotated Game Collections vs. Instructive Anthologies - There's a big difference between types of annotated game books and helpful they are for improvement. Another example here.

- Jan 2011: A Decade of Novice Nook - Highlights the past 10 years via the book "A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best of Novice Nook" - take link inside column for sneak peek at the book.


- Dec 2010: Counting Material - Methods of counting material during exchanges and expressing the material situation

- Nov 2010: Nunn, Chernev, and Learning Chess - Should Dr. Nunn's criticism of Logical Chess Move by Move stop you from reading it? Includes the mini-topic "Practice as if it is a Meaningful Game"

- Oct 2010: Understanding Chess Puzzles - e.g. What does "Play and win" mean?

- Sep 2010: Walk Before You Can Run - How Novice Nook helps you improve and which columns discuss what; before the 3rd diagram White's 7th move should be 7.cxd5, not 7.exd5

- Aug 2010: Intermediate Time Controls Hinder Improvement - The case against time limits 10-29 min per game for improving players. Masterman Coach Steve Shutt on this issue

- Jul 2010:  Not All Bads are Equal - If it's not material, how do you evaluate it? - Suggestion: read in conjunction with The Principle of Tactical Dominance; The IBM Player Story

- Jun 2010:  The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - your attitude strongly affects your play; in mental sports your mental outlook is critical.

- May 2010: When Adults Learn Basic Material - they can often understand material that is inappropriately advanced; Winner, "Best Instruction" 2010

- Apr 2010: Hand-Waving is Worse than Hope Chess - there are no principles which replace analysis in analytical positions

- Mar 2010: Luck in the Sport of Chess

- Feb 2010: Tactical Sets and Goals - what attributes make for the most helpful sets of tactics problems? Instructions for the Bain book

- Jan 2010:  What's In A Name? - if you trade queens, you are not "losing" your queen.


- Dec 2009: Spend Time on the Move Chosen - because that's the only move that creates the position your opponent will see

- Nov 2009: The Most Common and Important Use of Tactics - it's not just for winning material

- Oct 2009:  Openings vs. Opening Systems - correction: in the 2nd diagram the White c-pawn should be on c4 and not c2 and the e-pawn on e2 and not e4

- Sep 2009: The Three Show Stoppers (pdf); (html) - this is a great one to read for prospective students and anyone below 1600 desiring to get better

- Aug 2009: Principles of Analytical Efficiency - Some principles tell you how to think more efficiently, but using them to play moves is dangerous

- July 2009: More Pawns in the Center are Good

- June 2009: The Mind Reading Fish - helpful for prospective students; it's about the value of learning how to learn and not repeat mistakes

- May 2009: Novice Nook 100: The Best Novice Nook Ideas - winner, "Best Instruction" - CJA

- Apr 2009: The Endgame Bind - winner, "Best Analysis"

- Mar 2009: The Improvement Feedback Loop - the basis for most learning

- Feb 2009: Accidental and Purposeful Errors - some of the biggest errors you can make

- Jan 2009:  The Five Ways to Make a Piece Safe



- Dec 2008: Chess Is Decisions - Part 2 in a two-part series about Making Decisions (discusses the basics on making decisions)

- Nov 2008: The Fun of Pros and Cons - Important for those who play too fast! Part 1 in a two-part series about Making Decisions (discusses the need to make decisions) - well received!

- Oct 2008: The Room Full of Grandmasters - a follow-up to The Two Move Triggers Larry Wutt wrote: "I just finished reading "TRFOG" and LOVED IT.  I am going to use the Trigger 2 exercise with my training partner in our next training game.  I have intuitively used the two triggers, but never consistently.  It's nice to have the ideas put forth in such a succinct and easily understood manner.  I feel that following this advice will raise my playing strength by 100 points!"

- Sep 2008: The Safety Table - The 5th in the series on Counting: keeping track of basic safety issues - weaker students have told me they really feel this one helps them!

- Aug 2008: Strong Principles vs. Important Principles

- Jul 2008:   Anders' Game - includes a detailed discussion of a position where it is not correct to win the exchange - honorable mention "Best Analysis"

- Jun 2008:  Bootstrapping Analysis Skills - only the most important skill in chess

- May 2008: Similar Positions, Different Evaluations

- Apr 2008: The Fundamental Theorem of Safety and Activity - would you believe they are cousins?

- Mar 2008: The Three Types of Reasonable Threats - IM Jeremy Silman has a similar article with a game/puzzles showing good and bad checks and threats

- Feb 2008: Acquiescing - a time management error where you just lose without taking time to try to save yourself

- Jan 2008:  The Inadequately Guarded Piece - extending GM Nunn's concept of Loose Pieces Drop Off (LPDO)


- Dec 2007: Critical and Principal Variations - you don't always have to anticipate your opponent's best move

- Nov 2007: The Margin for Error - a key concept showing how much leeway you have to win or draw

- Oct 2007: Getting the Edge - (Hon. Mention, "Best Instruction") by doing the improvement tasks many players don't

- Sep 2007: Don't Allow the Floobly! (Hon. Mention, "Best Instruction")- a key idea to help you avoid loss or draw when way ahead

- Aug 2007: How to Use MCO-14 - pretty much the same for any opening encyclopedia

- July 2007: Trading When Ahead or Behind - (Hon. Mention, "Best Instruction") an instructive game. Here is a fun/helpful GM video on trading in general

- June 2007: (My) Beginner Misconceptions - (Hon. Mention, "Best Instruction") things that you may think are true that may hold back your improvement

- May 2007: Novice Nook Quiz - a great review of many of the concepts found in these articles; In #36 the question should read "...the 1st part of the 1st step..."

- Apr 2007: The Two Types of Counting Problems- 4th in the"Counting" series (A Counting Primer, The Most Important Tactic, Is It Safe? and The Safety Table)

- Mar 2007: Criticality Quiz

- Feb 2007: Slowing Down - a must read for those who play too fast. See also Breaking Down Barriers; GM Joel Benjamin on speeding up (for those that play too slow)

- Jan 2007: Trading Pawns When Ahead - "Make even trade of pieces when ahead" does not always apply to pawns...


- Dec 2006: Chess Principles and Common Sense - "Club players often wonder how to improve their game. One obvious piece of advice is to follow basic principles." GM Baburin

- Nov 2006: The Most Common OTB Mistakes - the over-the-board version of The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement  

- Oct 2006: Breaking Down Barriers email: "Dan it is without question one of the most important, eloquent, beautifully crafted articles on chess improvement ever written. Honestly". Companion NN: The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement

- Sep 2006: The Four Homeworks - Important Instructions for the Bain book; IM David Pruess's great insights, and your personalized study book: Hall of Shame. GM Ashley suggestion: ~55% play - 45% study. Please read Annotated Game Collections vs. Instructive Anthologies about what type of game books to read first

- Aug 2006: Making Chess Simple - A simplified five-step thought Process

- July 2006: Odds and Ends - lots of good stuff here! - Misc #4 (also: Techniques; A Fistful of Lessons, Examples of Chess Logic) - includes "don't pawn grab when ahead" game. Before the final diagram there are two sets of "move 15" so starting with the 2nd set, all the move numbers should be one higher.

- June 2006: Is It Safe? - the 3rd in the important "Counting" series (A Counting Primer and The Most Important Tactic); See also this Thinking Cap - Check out a Larry Stevens Is it Safe? Quiz

- May 2006: The Principle of Symmetry - advanced, one of my best and most original. For the example of "don't grab pawns when ahead" see July 2006 Odds and Ends

- Apr 2006: Activity is the Real Goal - not "space" or "development"; At the end is a "four parallel lines" chart about criticality. See also this similar but shorter Thinking Cap

- Mar 2006: The Most Common Opening Inaccuracies - starts with 1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nf6(?) Marshall variation; 1st diagram p.3 both "5...axb5" should be "5...cxb5"

- Feb 2006: The Two Move Triggers - one of my favorite, original, and most important Nooks, about time management. - Great testimonials from two experts!

- Jan 2006: Breaking a Slump - If you want to cheer up by seeing the world's best players' biggest blunders, see GM Har-Zvi's video (for ICC members)


- Dec 2005: Initial and Final Candidate Moves - honorable mention, Best Web instruction 2005-'06

- Nov 2005: The Most Important Strategic Decisions - helps one decide which non-tactical decisions are also critical

- Oct 2005:  The Principle of Tactical Dominance - Positional and strategical aspects are not that important if the move is not safe! GM Soltis on this issue (& studying endgames); Read in conjunction with Not All Bads are Equal

- Sep 2005: When is a King Safe? "Personally I think this is one of your classics."- Postman, Chessville - (tie) Best Web Analysis 2005-'06; In the paragraph before 3rd diagram, 17...Rxf5 should be 17..Rxe5

- Aug 2005: Quiescence Errors - what happens when you stop analyzing when there are still relevant forcing moves. GM Lenderman's advanced videos on quiescence errors at In the 2nd diagram the white rook on e1 should be on d1, precluding the complications of 1...Nc2.

- July 2005: The Theory of Chess Improvement - CJA first prize, Best Web instruction 2005-'06 - includes Kiewra Ph.D. and Thomas reference; GM Davies on Enhancing Performance;

- June 2005: Opening Principles - Reader posts takeoff off my opening advice in this fictional dialogue. Also, email: Dan, It REALLY WORKS, not only that I don't need to waste my time to complicate problem, mobilizing your pieces early is simply the best option:) combine with some opening principles you taught me, I have not yet lost a game on ICC ... Thank you very much!!

- May 2005: Time Management Tales - Don't let these happen to you!

- Apr 2005: Evaluation Quiz- see also Evaluation Criteria - For a good example of how the bishop pair is better than a ruined pawn structure, see Ivanchuk-Nakamura Bilbao 2011. In solution to #3 should be "Black's doubled rooks on the e-file..." and "Black might be able to plant his knight on e4..." In solution to #4 "This is certainly the most “tactical-looking” of the eight positions."

- Mar 2005: Reviewing Chess Games - both yours and those in books/media. Here is another viewpoint at analyzing your own games by WGM Pogonina

- Feb 2005: Every Good Chessplayer - Alternate title: The 10 Best Things to Improve your Chess! see also Traits of a Good Chessplayer  

- Jan 2005: A Guide to P-R3 - Honorable Mention, "Best Web Instruction" 2005 There should be a black bishop on e7 in the first diagram, and click here to see the correct final diagram on p. 7.


- Dec 2004: The Big Five - the 5 basic skills to master first (in the problem, White's correct 7th move is 7.Qb3)

- Nov 2004: Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur - sample games with lots of lessons

- Oct 2004: Improving Analysis Skills - the most important chess skill!

- Sep 2004: A Defense Primer

- Aug 2004: Chess, Learning, and Fun - Along with Nov 2003, a great predictor of how good you will be! - see also Soltis' Studying Chess Made Easy p.20

- July 2004: Enhancing Your First Tournament Experience - includes addendum to K&P vs. K on p.6 - House of Staunton sets and equipment

- June 2004: Examples of Chess Logic "Misc NN #3"- includes my best-ever (but advanced) composed problem on page 5. On p.5, line b White's 2nd move should be 2.Kf6, not 2.Kf7.

- May 2004: The Case for Time Management - includes info on creating an instructive Personalized Study Book ("Hall of Shame"). The diagram on the bottom of page 7 is White: Kg2, Qe2, Rc1, Rd1, Ne7, Pa2, c3, d3, e4, f2, g3, h2. Black: Kg7, Qa4, Rd8, Re8, Na5, Pa7, b6, c5, f7, g6. A link to a free electronic tool that can turn a PGN study book into an electronic study book: Chess Hero. Calvin Smith's article on adjusting Botvinnik's rule for increments

- Apr 2004: A Planning Primer - p.3: bottom diagram 1st rank is Ra1,Re1,Kg1; Final diagram p.5: no additional pieces on the 1st rank. Final diagram p.6 is reached from initial position by following moves above it. Another author's planning article

- Mar 2004: Is There a Win? - problems that all look like they have solutions, but... (Spoiler: In problem #12, 1.Nc4 is an alternate solution)

- Feb 2004: Learning Opening Lines and Ideas "...One of the things you taught me is to look at the openings for all my games using NCO, Winning Chess Openings, etc. and learn the openings I play little by little. I just want to attest to how well this is working for me! I have had several opening books for quite awhile, but not until I started looking at every game did the information in those books really start to sink in. I just wanted to help encourage your students that this method does work and it doesn't take hours and hours of effort to see results." - Jay Arendt - Tim McGrew's article: picking openings; The Openings Explained; Also, Ed Roche's article on using database after each game

- Jan 2004:  The Goal Each Move - You should know what this goal is! In the final paragraph addressing the problem in Ward's The Improver's It's Your Move Black's 8th move and subsequent analysis is incorrect. Correct is " 8.Kg6 Ke6! 9.Kg5 Ke5 10.Kh4 Kd4 11.Kg3 Ke5 The diagonal opposition is OK here since White cannot get behind Black’s King 12.Kf2 Kd4 13.Ke1 Ke5 14.Kd2 Ke4" with a draw.



- Dec 2003: The Most Important Tactic - Learn what this is...[After 6.Bg5, in the game it should be 6...c6 7.h3?? not 7.e3??"]

- Nov 2003: Traits of a Good Chessplayer - It's not just IQ! See also Every Good Chessplayer and this Scientific American article! If you want to know more about the "chunking" discussed in Scientific American, you might like my Everyone's 2nd Chess Book; I should have included "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs..." (Kipling)

- Oct 2003: Excerpt: Looking for Trouble - one of my favorite books. The idea for the book was suggested by Dr. Rolfe, who wanted to identify and deal with threats better.

- Sep 2003: Chess Exercises - for additional exercises, see my Exercise Page

- Aug 2003: Novice Nook's Chess Lists (includes a Guide to prior Novice Nooks!)

- Jul 2003:  A Fistful of Lessons - instructive sample positions and what you can learn from them. Misc #2

- Jun 2003: Learning From Dr. de Groot - CJA 1st Prize, Best Web-based Instruction 2003-2004!

- May 2003: A Tactics Quiz A. Torrecillas: "I tried; 93 seconds for all 12 correct results, that means 2394; actually I'm 2389"

- Apr 2003: Evaluation Criteria - see Evaluation Quiz and IM Larry Kaufman's award-winning article The Evaluation of Material Imbalances

- Mar 2003: King + Pawn vs. King (A follow-up to this NN starts on page 6 of the July '04 NN) - in the paragraph "Now suppose Black had played it wrong..." the move numbers are one too high.

- Feb 2003: Using the Computer to Improve (Mig Greengard's article on Fritz overnight mode and Steve Lopez'...Lopez' article on analysis). All archived computer articles: ChessOK...ChessBaseCafe

- Jan 2003:  Revisiting the Seeds of Tactical Destruction - see also Neiman's book Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna



- Dec 2002: The 10 Biggest Roadblocks to Improvement - includes an addition to my book Elements of Positional Evaluation; (after reading The 10 Biggest..., see Breaking Down Barriers)

- Nov 2002: K&P&? vs. K - A great "technique" article; btw, this is NOT about King and one pawn vs. King - instead see Mar 2003
- Oct 2002: Finding A Good Instructor
- Sep 2002: A Positional Primer - See also GM Serper's series The Truth about Doubled Pawns
- Aug 2002: An Improvement Plan - This article was extensively updated in my book A Guide to Chess Improvement - updated link for online slow games - IM David Pruess's great insights

     Similar subject: Michael de la Maza's 400 Points in 400 Days article Parts 1 and 2. Jeremy Silman's review of de la Maza's book Rapid Chess Improvement and download a forks and skewers tool

          Best Basic Tactical Sets: 1.My book Back to Basics: Tactics 2.Bain's Chess Tactics for Students 3.Coakley's Winning Chess Strategy for Kids

- Jul 2002:  It's Not Really Winning a Tempo! - possibly the most underrated Novice Nook
- Jun 2002:  Break Moves: Opening Lines to Increase Mobility - first move after diagram on p.4 should be 3.cxd5, not 3.cxd4. On p.6 "7.Be2 cxd4" should be "7.Be3 cxd4"; on p.7 remove the third black knight at b8.
- May 2002: The Road to Carnegie Hall - about the importance of practice, balancing it with theory!
- Apr 2002: A Counting Primer - Click here to see the correct first diagram on page 3. Also, in the 2nd diagram on p.3 the White King is on g1.Introductory video on Safety & Counting.
- Mar 2002: A Generic Thought Process
- Feb 2002: When You're Winning It's a Whole Different Game - e-mail from a student: "During the games somehow I managed to be up a piece by the mid-middle game (in each game) and then I really relied on your list of five things to do when you’re winning.  It worked very well. I did catch myself several times wanting to ignore the 5 rules, but I stuck to the list and won every game. "
- Jan 2002:  Analysis and Evaluation


- Dec 2001: Techniques - K&P endgame tic-tac-toe explained; bishop pair; Tempo Count; Misc #1
- Nov 2001: Real Chess, Time Management, and Care: Putting it All Together - In the Saavedra problem at the back, Black's first move is 1...Rd6+, not 1...Rc6+
- Oct 2001: The Six Common Chess States CJA 1st Prize, Best Instruction 2001-2002!
- Sep 2001: The Underrated Removal of the Guard - and Dvoretsky's article on advanced back rank mates
- Aug 2001: The Most Common Opening Tactics - typo: In the Riga variation line showing the Phantom Pin, after 7.Re1 the moves 7...d5 8.Nxd4 are missing before "7...Bc5", which thus should be "8...Bc5" etc.
- July 2001: Chess Books and Prerequisites - A popular download article
- June 2001: The Seeds of Tactical Destruction - see also this interesting link on helping find tactics and Neiman's book Tune Your Chess Tactics Antenna
- May 2001: A Different Approach to Studying Tactics - IM David Pruess's great insights
- Apr 2001: Going to Sleep in the Endgame "GTS"
- Mar 2001: Understanding Improvement and Elements of Chess Strength-7 aspects of improvement; 3 problems
- Feb 2001: Helping You Through the Jungle - introduces safety and activity

Chess Cafe Skittles Room (and other) Articles

   The Secrets to 'Real' Chess - a must for all adults - One of the best and most original articles I ever wrote (until the Novice Nooks, of course!).    Honorable Mention "Best Web Article 1999-00" by the Chess Journalists of America. - note my email address at the end of this article is my old email that no longer is valid. For further writings on this same subject see the Novice Nook Real Chess, Time Management, and Care: Putting it All Together and Thinking Cap 4

  Time Management During a Chess Game
  - recommended by "Searching for Bobby Fischer" coach Bruce Pandolfini:
                    "Dan, Good column. I'm going to refer it to all my students.
                    Best Regards, Bruce Pandolfini" - e-mail from Bruce, Nov 16, 1999

                    See also the Novice Nook The Case for Time Management

  Applying Steinitz' Laws - The basis for all planning and positional play. Don't know what to look for on a move?  Read this! (Steinitz's Theory)

  Encouraging Tournament Participation
This article won CJA 1st Prize, Best Editorial 2001-2002

...Skip the ad for the book at the start - the real article starts at the bottom of the page.

 Book review of Survival Guide for Parents by Tanya Jones

This article won CJA tie-1st Prize, Best Web Review 2003-2004


 Winning Chess Puzzles for Kids

My other book reviews

  Steinitz, Zermelo, and Elkies - In order for your game to improve, your opponent has to make a mistake. The logic of chess evaluation.

Dan's instruction with other media

My 200+ instructional videos on chess improvement; a new one released each Saturday! Each is ~30 minutes. ICC's page of my videos; Free previews link (for non-ICC/WCL members). Many of the same subjects are discussed as in the Novice Nooks plus opening tabiyas and 100+ instructive amateur games. Includes links to my TV show archive videos of "Q&A with Coach Heisman"

A Guide to Chess Improvement: The Best of Novice Nook book. Extensively updated and rearranged material; includes 3 new Novice Nooks which will not be available online:

      Is It Safe? Quiz (for anothers' similar quiz, check out a Larry Stevens Is it Safe? Quiz)

      The Three Types of Chess Vision  (Visualization, Board Vision, Tactical Vision); IM Rensch's video on visualization

      Ask the Right Questions

.If you like these columns, you'll love the book It's Amazon 5-stars! Click the following graphic & search for the book at Amazon to give Dan credit In Association with

The following should be the first diagram on page 3 of Apr 2002: A Counting Primer.


The following should be the first diagram on page 7 of Jan 2005: A Guide to P-R3

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